Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Welcome the new comedians!

When I wrote this welcoming piece more than two decades ago, the older comedians of Philippine cinema and television were getting just a mite too tired. Today, those "new" comedians who were the stars of Iskul Bukol are showing every sign of being just as tired.

Is there a new generation that has bravely taken up the flag of Philippine comedy? One mentions, unavoidably, Michael V., Ogie Alcasid, Janno Gibbs. These three, however, have already had a noticeably long exposure to television and their brand of comedy, while sometimes still managing to cough up laughs, has become too repetitive: Bumenta na, as they say in the local dialect.

It's time to look out for newer comedy and even newer comedians.

"Impressions," TV Times, 26 November-2 December 1978


It is nice to watch Iskul Bukol because, for once, I see younger, newer faces doing comedy on Philippine television. And doing it very naturally.

Not that the curtain has gone down on the older comedians (Who doesn't speak in capital letters of PUGO, the dean of them all?), but that the younger comedians offer a promise and a hope that the older ones are now short of. Besides, the younger ones have verve enough for the performer and the viewer, plus a greater feel for the contemporary.

So, I discount Iskul Bukol's predictable storyline and tawdry script. I even close my eyes to the miscasting of the guest stars, who often cannot groove with the regular cast. I disregard the queasy feeling I get whenever Bibeth Orteza talks too much because, well, knowing Bibeth, that is what she has always done.

I forgive the loose hand that lets the dialogue go too much without direction, too often without zap. I keep my peace and wait for the flak to settle, even if sometimes it seems it never will, until I can see where all of it is leading me to.

May I remind scriptwriters and directors that, while they may have natural comedians in their hands and on their shows, they still need well-written scripts and well-planned plots. And that, for comedy to be more than funny and just a little memorable, it must have bite, send-ups and put-downs, parody and reverberation?

But I let all that go, because just to watch natural comedians making it after a great long time in television, and just to hope that they would bring to the medium a fine new madness, is enough reason to be forgiving.

All the rest can come--but only with care, faith, perseverance, and hard work.

-- NBT

No title in original published column

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