A week after I arrived in the Philippines my dad’s friends from high school took me and my mom to a comedy club called Laffline. Unlike most comedy clubs here in the US (except maybe some in San Francisco or West Hollywood) all of the comedians are gay Filipino men. Actually, let me re-phrase that: FLAMBOYANT gay Filipino men.
Their “look” ranged from someone you could mistake as a beautiful woman to what can only describe as hot tranny mess: men wearing pancake makeup and trendy but ill-fitting clothes. What they all had in common was their talent and comedic chops, which kept us entertained from 9 pm to 2 am.
It’s hard to keep an audience entertained for five hours straight on original material (which could take YEARS to write and perfect), so the warm-up act (which consistent of six entertainers) used the audience as the material – as in, make fun of. They warned us from the very beginning that this would happen and that the audience shouldn’t be offended – it’s all in good fun. I was a little apprehensive because we were sitting in the front row, and the easiest targets are the ones they can see. There was no cover of darkness between the stage and us, so I had to make sure I didn’t do anything to catch their attention. They did make fun of me eventually – for not finishing my food and for sitting with “rich ladies” who also didn’t finish all their food – but I got off easy compared to other people. There was this poor man from Cebu who got ribbed for the way he looked. He was not an attractive man, and they zeroed in on that, teasing him about where he came from and who he was related to (insert unattractive animals here). I am so glad he was a good sport about it; otherwise there’d be beat-downs in the alley after the show.
The featured performer didn’t hit the stage until close to midnight but he was worth the wait. He sang, told jokes, picked people out of the audience to join him onstage, told more jokes, sang again, and called it a night at 2 am. This was our cue to call it a night as well – we had so much fun and laughed so hard that our sides hurt, and by then we were pretty tired. It was non-stop entertainment that night, which meant that we didn’t get a chance to talk to my dad’s friends, three very lovely ladies who took us to the comedy club. Maybe next time we'll pick a venue more conducive to conversation.