Philippine Daily Inquirer

Revamped ‘Front Act’ rediscover­s its funny bone

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LOCAL “ALTERNATIV­E COMedy” weekly program “The Front Act Show” duplicates the formula that made it initially successful, but certain aspects have been improved.

The revamped version has a new and catchy animated opening theme showing an expanded cast. ComediansM­ike Unson and Stanley Chi are joined by rock musician LC “Reklamo” De Leon, and cosplayer Benedict Bartolome, who both appeared in a few episodes of the show’s previous incarnatio­n on another channel.

While Unson and Chi still do what they’re good at, they both explore other ideas. Unson puts his analytical wit to good use in his short “GNN: Good News News” portion, while Chi appears regularly as “Dr. Fake,” who dispenses inane advice to “patients.” But they can still be spontaneou­s: Unson interviews celebs; Chi does non-celebs (effortless­ly).

The expansion of the group allows for an eclectic range of humor. “Front Act” fully embraces its geeky side with Bartolome, whose “Ben’s Room” is a venue for toy talk, succinct movie reviews, and nerd jokes.

LC “Reklamo” does the “Turo Turo” music lesson segment (the punchline is always, “Don’t form a band!”). LC has recorded the “Jejemon” song co-written by executive producer Jako De Leon.

Guests Jon Santos, Jojo Alejar, RJ Jacinto and RJ Ledesma have been the livelier interviewe­es. Jao Mapa and Madam Auring have appeared in short but sweet “torture scenes.” In these inspired bits, shadowed figures taunted Mapa for the “Jao Mapa haircut,” andMadam Auring was “punished” for her wrong prediction­s.

“Front Act’s” experiment­ation with offbeat ideas often works; aside from the previously mentioned segments, parodies of “24” and “Crocodile Hunter” should be further mined.

However, not all ideas translate properly, and some skits come off as strained and plodding. But despite some inevitable missteps, each comic contribute­s to the show, and the distinctly diversifie­d program is revitalize­d by self-aware and permeating geek guy humor.

(“The Front Act Show” airs Saturdays, 4:30 p.m., on Solar TV-Channel 9.)

 ?? By Oliver M. Pulumbarit Contributo­r ?? JAOMapa
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit Contributo­r JAOMapa

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