The only man we don’t mind see­ing on TV with the Bub­ble Girls

FHM (Philippines) - - Contents -

Who re­mem­bers what was funny 22 years ago, when Bub­ble Gang first aired? That would be real tough to trace. Be­cause the In­ter­net was still new, and so­cial me­dia had yet to be in­vented, we re­ally don’t have a record of what, at that mo­ment, was the pre­vail­ing na­tional joke. To­day that wouldn’t be a prob­lem. We have a le­gion of meme and hash­tag cre­ators to keep tabs of what’s funny in real time (in fact, the prob­lem now could be that funny changes so fast it’s hard to keep up).

But what we do re­mem­ber are Bub­ble Gang’s wa­ter­shed mo­ments: the ad­ver­tis­ing spoof seg­ments that con­tinue up to this day; Brod Pete’s Ang Dat­ing Doon; the Muchas Grasas sketch; Sum­bong Sum­bong Kay Bong­gang Bong­gang Bong­bong; Tata Lino. These seg­ments are the equiv­a­lent of pop mu­sic hits in mu­sic—they tick­led the funny bones of Pi­noys so much so that they be­came part of our hu­mor lex­i­con.

FHM would have loved to be the fly on the wall when­ever the Bub­ble Gang writ­ers met to thresh out the week’s episode. It would have been a masterclass at writ­ing com­edy—if it weren’t then they’d have no busi­ness be­ing around for the last 22 years. As it is, they show no signs of slow­ing down.

So you can imag­ine what it must be like to be Michael V., Bub­ble Gang’s Cre­ative Di­rec­tor. It’s al­most as if his lat­est char­ac­ter, Tata Lino, is a self-ful­fill­ing prophecy: right now he can hon­estly say that he is the old sage of Pi­noy hu­mor, keeper of the repos­i­tory of what we find funny. The job can’t pos­si­bly be a joke... So what is the se­cret of Bub­ble Gang’s stay­ing power? I’ve said this many times be­fore, there is ac­tu­ally no se­cret. We’re just a bunch of peo­ple who want to make other peo­ple laugh. Kung may sikreto man, will­ing ako to share it with ev­ery­one else! I mean, if any­one can come up with one, two or three more “Bub­ble Gang’s” I will sup­port them 100 per­cent. Ang daming malungkot sa mundo! Ev­ery­one de­serves a good laugh ev­ery now and then. What kind of work does it take to keep a show run­ning this long? The show en­tails a lot of work, es­pe­cially for me who is both an artista and the cre­ative di­rec­tor of the show. What you want isn’t al­ways what you get and of­ten­times, you have to sac­ri­fice your vi­sion. It could get frus­trat­ing at times but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some­times, the hur­dles are just wel­come chal­lenges. How do you plan to keep it run­ning longer? I hon­estly don’t know! Pero in line with what Wolver­ine al­ways says, we’ll prob­a­bly just do what we do best and hope it’s good enough. Wait... was that Wolver­ine or James In­gram? So what was funny 22 years ago and what is funny now? Malak­ing-malaki ang pagkakaiba ng com­edy noon at ngayon! Madali lang patawanin ang mga tao noon eh! Madalas nga, adap­ta­tion or trans­la­tion lang ng ma­te­rial, pwede na. Kaunti lang kasi ang source nila ng com­edy noon. Pero with the ar­rival of the In­ter­net, wala na! La­hat ng ma­te­rial, avail­able na! If you can’t pro­duce orig­i­nal ones, peo­ple, es­pe­cially sa so­cial me­dia, will la­bel you as fake, copy­cat, un­o­rig­i­nal... la­hat ng mga masakit na salita! How do you keep your­selves from be­ing un­o­rig­i­nal? I guess we learn from our mis­takes... and from oth­ers’, too. We wel­come crit­i­cism from our peers and the ever-re­li­able so­cial me­dia. Kaya kami nai-in­spire to cre­ate mostly orig­i­nal ma­te­ri­als. If we do, how­ever, get in­spired by other peo­ple’s ma­te­rial, we just get the for­mula, rear­range its DNA and come up with an orig­i­nal take on it. We al­ways add a twist to our adapted ma­te­ri­als para hindi bla­tant na pan­gongopya lang. In this gen­er­a­tion of vir­tual crit­ics and comics, orig­i­nal­ity is al­most al­ways the nat­u­ral so­lu­tion. So here’s the wis­dom ques­tion: What do Pi­noys re­ally find funny? Pi­noys still laugh at the sta­ples: slap­stick, green jokes, in­sults... you know, the low hang­ing fruit. The challenge how­ever is to try and raise the stan­dard just a lit­tle bit ev­ery episode by of­fer­ing our au­di­ence some­thing new from time to time. If we get one or two or three to ap­pre­ci­ate what we’re do­ing, then not only do we achieve our goal, we ac­tu­ally do all Pi­noys a fa­vor. And ev­ery­body wins.fhm

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