Initially, we didn’t know what to expect when we agreed to this class assignment. We didn’t know what we would see in the comedy bar but we’re all thankful that we chose that instead of a strip club or a gay bar.(Because we don’t think we’re ready to see those things, yet!) So the comedy bar was the safest choice.
At 7:30 PM, we met at Katipunan, and from there, we went to Quezon Avenue. On the way there, Polo, Vadette and the two of us were talking about our expectations of the comedy bar. We even thought of abandoning the project and just head to Eastwood to eat at Sambokojin (Polo’s idea!!) but we’re still thankful we pushed through. So we talked about comedians and our conversation brought us to Vice Ganda and food (because Polo was really hungry). Vice Ganda, as we all know, started out as a stand-up comedian in comedy bars before he became rich and famous. We talked about how the gays are naturally funny with a unique sense of humor and how they don’t have a hard time making fun of other people, with all joke intended.
When we reached Timog Ave. we felt a tinge of excitement and extreme hunger (because we still haven’t had dinner that time) and so instead of going straight to the comedy bar, we scouted for the perfect place to eat. We had a lot of choices (even more than what we already have in Katipunan ave.) and we noticed how the establishments in Timog avenue are mostly for night life and clubbing for most of them sported colorful lights and had a lively aura. We saw a lot of motels/hotels, restaurants, fast food chains, bars and clubs. Timog is really a place for nightlife.
After eating we headed to the venue, Laffline. We saw in the sign that the people performing were going to be: Chokoleit, Sweet Iyah, Daisy D, Pretty Trizsa, Jenny, and Super Tekla. Chokoleit is the only familliar name for we already know that Chokoleit is a celebrity and has had TV appearances already. This made the excitement even stronger. We stayed outside of the bar for a bit and found out this was the best opportunity for people watching. There were a variety of people coming in the venue and we thought we were the youngest people that were there, until we saw kids ranging from 7-8 being accompanied by their parents, going inside. Most of the people were in their 30s-40s just coming from work. We’ve seen a group of women in their 40s-50s and they were marked in our memory because they were ALL sporting Louis Vuitton knock-offs of different design and color. Most of the people were seen with their friends/barkada (like us) and some with their boyfriends/girlfriends (usually, a Pinay with a foreigner boyfriend), Filipino couples, and sometimes the whole family. There really was variety in the type of people who came to the comedy bar.
The moment we entered the comedy bar, we were greeted with a dark and dimly lit space with flashing lights on the side which in turn made it feel like we were in a club. The smell of the area was strong to the nose as it was a mix of cigarette smoke, alcohol and fried chicken. It was so strong that by the time we went out, it stuck to our clothes and even our hair.
After we paid for the entrance fee of Php 300, a waiter led us to our table. The people around us were older and almost all of them were drinking alcoholic drinks. The area was cramped and it housed more than a hundred people. And because it was a Saturday night, the comedy bar was a full house. Almost all the tables were occupied and some had to even resort to standing up. The chairs and tables were all ingeniously aligned and focused to the brightest spot of the dimly lit area: the stage.
Once the show started, out came the performers donned in tight and short dresses with stiletto heels, made up hair and caked on makeup. They were beautiful with curly hair and envy worthy legs that would go on for miles. But who knew that once they opened their mouth to speak it would be a whole new world; most of these entertainers were men!
We first thought that the comedy bar would deliver jokes that were half-assed and be subpar. But boy, were we surprised. We spent majority of our stay at the bar laughing hysterically at the jokes that had a heavy dash of sexual innuendos and puns. Being aware of the amount of kids younger than 13 years old we found it awkward for them to be hearing such R-18 content at such an early age. Especially during the moment where they asked a volunteer to go up on stage, and of course a young and cute male was volunteered by his friends and decided to sing in front. What we (and of course the volunteer) didn’t know was that he would have his manhood be touched by the different performers on stage to “prove that he was not gay.” It was an awkward but funny sight to see.
Another event that hit us was part when the foreigners were put on the spot to give tips to the gay performers. It’s sort of annoying how the gay performers put those people who gave bigger amounts of money on the top of their list when it came to song requests. Some people are even disregarded and even treated rudely because they would reject the performers. This somehow showed how we Filipinos still have that mark of being afflicted with colonial mentality and how social stratification and money is still important in entertainment. Money does make the world go round.
Comedy bars in different parts of the world, most especially in the States have people of different race, ethnicity and sexual orientation as guests. However, in the Philippines, we noticed that the majority of the performers are homosexuals, who in turn cross-dress and transform into their female counterparts. From watching the whole performance, what made us awe in wonder was how spontaneous and how natural their spiels were, and how we could not imagine anyone else doing a better job at making people laugh than these people
Going to a comedy bar and experiencing a whole new environment shows us another side of Philippine culture and society. A comedy bar is a place where you temporarily let go of your guard and pretenses while you just enjoy a night out and share a nice laugh with people of different social status, races and sexualities. It makes us realize that Filipinos aren’t all conservative and prude, but rather we have that side of knowing how to laugh, smile and have a good time while listening to sexual jokes and references. It’s also noticed that gays, sexual jokes and actions as a form of entertainment are slowly being accepted into society, which was evident from the hearty laughs of the people while these types of jokes were being said.
It only goes to show how as time passes by, so does the improvement and change in our culture and society. Things are slowly being accepted and deemed normal and we see how people are being more open to ideas and routines that were previously socially unacceptable. A comedy bar is also a place where your social class or upbringing doesn’t matter; it’s a place designed to have fun and laugh. Going to a comedy bar is a perfect place to view such observations and it definitely was a night to remember for all of us that went!
Christina Monica Sibug and Reia Valerie Villanueva
SA 21 – G