It was a late Saturday night when I invited my mother and sister to come with me to Laffline. Since all three of us have not been to a comedy bar, I figured that it would be a fun experience to go there together. In going to the venue, we went way past the corner we were supposed to turn to so we arrived a little late at Laffline. It is a big place from the outside with some matching neon lights and the list of performers displayed. The security guard told us that we can go in already. The lady over the counter asked us “ilan kayo?” so we got a table for three. As we entered, surprisingly there weren’t much people inside, even if it is already ten o’clock. I went to some of my friends from another group and chatted for a while when one of the waiters approached us and asked why a lot of us Ateneans are here. I said it was partly for a project but mostly for the fun. He was a cool guy with eyeliner and a pair of barbell earrings. Then I went to our table and watched from there.
I took me less than a minute to figure out what’s happening: the man, together with his company, family or friends, was being “picked on” by the performers. There were three of them on stage and every one of them is gay. Apparently the man, who in the latter part of the show said that he and his family was a balik-bayan, was sitting in front of the stage. The performers told the crowd that if you do not want to be the center of the jokes, do not ever sit in the front part. Good thing for us three, we were sitting at the back part. From here, I have a good view of pretty much everything. The interior of the comedy bar is superb. The place was spacious but filled with chairs and tables in order to accommodate everybody. Now I found out, in a disappointing way, that once you have your table, you can’t join in the other tables. Once some of my friends came, about six or seven of them, they had their own table. I went over and they invited my to a round of drinks, of course I said yes and pulled a chair towards me. Almost instantly, the same guy I talked to earlier, I remember him because he looked like Craig Mabbitt who’s a vocalist from a foreign band, appeared in front of me and told me that I couldn’t “table” here. He said that I was listed on the other table blah blah. I didn’t want an argument so I just shrugged and walked back towards my table. The staff sure handles their business seriously, I thought. The lights are awesome. It might be one of the key components of the show. The different colors of the lights, the high beams of the spotlights and the several but dim light bulbs above the tables all add to the ambiance of the place. I noticed that the only part of the whole venue that was really lit up was the stage. It is a genius way of making the audience focus their attention on the stage. Another factor that added to its ambiance was the blaring sound system. It was loud and clear enough to hear and understand every word or sometimes “noise” that the performers make.
Now at the start of the show, well at least when I came to the place, one of the performers said this: “pantay pantay lang po tayong lahat dito”. I think his (or her) name is Lolita. Obviously everyone needed this warning because no matter who they see within the crowd, or amongst them, they will laugh at and make jokes at. Mostly their jokes at first would be about one’s physical appearance. From every inch and detail of your face, to what you are wearing and how you walk and talk, they will criticize and make fun of. It would always crack up the crowd, especially me. For example, the old man in front of me caught the eyes of the three gay performers. They called him “Mayor!” and fair enough, he did look like a mayor: a little chubby with matching gray hair. But that wasn’t enough; his checkered polo was referred as the table cloth of their restaurant. The crowd went laughing, maybe because it was true that it really looked like a table cloth from some cheap restaurant. Another type of joke that was popular among the gay performers was the sex jokes, jokes about sexuality and sex itself. They made fun of themselves when it came to gay jokes. The sex jokes produced a lot of laughs too.
One person reminded me to keep an open mind when I enter the place. Well there are some who forgot that, especially one particular guy behind me. In one segment where the performer was showing plastic green alien-like breasts, this guys was like “oh my god! oh my god!” for about a minute. Surely he was not prepared for that one. The crowd was a mix of different people. There was us, the college students, some office workers and there were a small group of older people too. Honestly I was shocked to see this old group of people. They were about as old as Manny Pacquiao’s mother. Well one really looked like her. Their group was the loudest and I can even see them bobbing their heads to the loud music. Lastly, I noticed that no one was at the comedy bar alone. It would be really sad if someone went to a happy place alone anyway.
We stayed there for two hours full of laughter and entertainment. I would say that the experience was a memorable one for it was my first time in a comedy bar. It was a place where everybody is a nobody. All are equal and are treated the same way. It was fun, and even before I even left the place, I alreadt wanted to go back there again sometime.
SA 21 Section A