I’m not really the type of person who goes to bars, let alone a COMEDY bar. From my perspective, comedy bars are venues for comedians especially gays to poke fun at people’s appearances as well as a place where being green-minded was something necessary. I felt like I was too young and “naïve” to experience a night out at something as bold a place as that. I remember going to Laffline at Timog Avenue last week with so much fear of the unknown, unknown in a sense that I felt like an outsider going and immersing myself in a completely different culture. I was burdened by the thought of going there and people taking advantage of me because it was my first time – kind of like when people try to teach a foreigner bad words in their native language because the foreigner doesn’t know any better. I recall telling my friend and fellow SA 21 classmate that when we go inside, we should act natural and really comfortable as if we were regular customers there. More than that, I was afraid of being in the spotlight as a subject of the people’s offensive laughter.
When we arrived at the bar, it seemed like no one was inside yet and we were greeted by a couple of gays and some men standing by the entrance. As new customers, we were intimidated by the emptiness of the place so we opted to go to McDonalds – it served as some kind of a comfort zone where we decided to wait for our other guy friend before going in. After some time, we decided to “face our fears” and enter the building. Upon entering the bar, darkness welcomed us, accompanied by a couple of stage lights, a blasting sound system and a stage where one girl and two gay comedians started the show. With having the obligation to observe the place, we chose to sit at the back row where we can get a good view of everything and everyone.
From my personal basis of observation, it seemed like the place was meant for a “night-out” kind of thing. It wasn’t as wild as disco bars and all but the atmosphere set felt like it was meant to cater to mature adults. To my surprise, there were families with ten-year-old kids sitting at the very front row. The dominant population though included foreigners, both Western and Asian, old and middle-aged couples, and groups of friends, both males and females ranging from early twenties onwards. Performers are usually gays who are cross-dressers and women who show off their assets like their chest area and legs by donning short skirts or dresses and high-heeled shoes. Heavy make-up and sex appeal was also a must for the girl comedian while the gays tried to look like women, the more unlikely the better because their job was to entertain and make people laugh. It seems though that “green” jokes and topics were the basis to get people’s attention. The gays never fail to relate or include in a joke something that may not be appropriate for minors especially kids. Moreover, it appeared as if the girl comedian’s job was to be a “sex object” to all the male customers. She was endorsed like some kind of a male desire who is willing to cater to anyone. I felt really bad for her but I guess she knows what she signed up for. It was also evident how they treat the foreigners. There was some kind of stereotyping in a sense that the joke on foreigners were they were always “horny” and looking for a sex partner and so the female comedian’s job was to go near them and try to seduce them in a way. It was the kind of entertainment the bar tried to give to them.
Something that disturbed me also was how the girl comedian tried to dumb herself up on purpose so that people would laugh at her. She always spoke with a wrong English grammar and tried to make it seem as if she was an airhead. She was endorsed as a “provocative woman with no brain”. There was one point also where a male guest was invited to go up the stage and the female comedian was instructed to touch the guy’s private part just for laughs. There were obviously kids in front but they still continued on like everyone in the room wanted and was allowed to see those kinds of scenes. Based on what I saw though, everyone in the room seemed to have enjoyed that kind of entertainment. Not far from what I expected, the gay comedians tried to poke fun at guests’ appearances and threw green jokes from time to time. Drinking alcoholic drinks also felt like a requirement to every table. We even tried to conform to the other people and ordered a bottle of apple vodka just so the waiters would stop staring at us.
Coming from someone who doesn’t go to comedy bars as a source of enjoyment on a Saturday night, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Though there were insulting jokes here and there, it wasn’t as unwholesome as I thought it would be. I can see that the people inside really went there to have a good laugh and nevertheless I had fun. Though the topics may appear taboo to society, it couldn’t be denied that those topics always bring a kind of enjoyment to people. Also, alcoholic drinks are almost like a must maybe because those kinds of drinks never fail to give temporary freedom from all worries and problems. People go to comedy bars to have a great time, no matter how that is achieved. As the gay comedian said, “hindi namin kayo inimbita para pumunta dito”. Now I have established a better view on comedy bars but I only have one suggestion – NO KIDS ALLOWED.
Kyle Alexis Cayabyab 110791
SA 21 – G