Comedy Manila Entertains with a “Funny New Year with Daniel Ryan Spaulding” Show
Last January 18th 2014, Comedy Manila brought the house down with their first Stand-Up Comedy show of the year. By the time the night was over, Comedy Manila showed why they are the future of providing the funny in the Philippines.
The Venue (photo by Allan Florendo)
Upon arriving at Citrus Lounge, the energy and excitement could be felt from the door. The buzz inside the room was very positive and everyone could tell that they were in for something special. Coupled with the soft and intimate lighting, attentive wait staff, and delicious food, Citrus Lounge is definitely the new home for stand-up omedy in Pasig. The tickets were only P300, but for P499, you had your fill of unlimited beers and tasty appetizers, quite the deal for a comedy show, or any show, or that matter.
Eri Neeman is a natural-born host. Most event hosts are more concerned about how they are perceived than being actually charming and moving the show along. Very aware of the audience and the energy, Eri took it upon himself to liven up the crowd some more and engage each table personally. This kind of humble, but purposeful, approach is why Eri is so much sought-after for hosting all kinds of events and shows.
Eri started the show strong, cracking jokes about himself, specifically his name. “My actual name is Ari. In Israel, my name means powerful. But here (crowd laughs) …Yeah, that’s right. High School was hard.” Eri then continued on by talking about relationships and current events. His real strength as a host comes from being able to improvise jokes based on what the crowd is or is not doing. From an audience perspective, this is quite fun to watch.
When the crowd was nice and warmed up, he then introduced the first local act.
Red Ollero (photo by Allan Florendo)
Sporting a black shirt and unbuttoned polo, Red Ollero stood on stage, confident and ready. Having more than five years of experience, he definitely knows who he is on stage. He openly talked about his problems with his weight, something most Filipinos shy away from. Doing away with the obvious fat jokes, Red’s unique perspective is different, and all in all, quite refreshing.
He talked about dealing with his “fatness” and being single for all his life. As he continued his act, he went on a hilarious tirade on how Jollibee owes all its success to fat people like him. “If Mang Inasal can give unlimited rice, why can’t Jollibee? ” As he ended his act, the crowd joined him in a chant. If you can get everyone to repeat what you are saying, then everyone is on your side. If you want to know the chant, you are going to have to watch it for yourself, it’s more fun that way, believe me.
After a great fifteen minute set, Red welcomed back Eri, who in turn, introduced the second, and last, local act.
Victor Anastacio (photo by Allan Florendo)
“This is how you wear a polo bro ” Victor shouted out to Red, whom he had started doing comedy with. “You have to close ALL the buttons ” The crowd roared. Being the champion of Jack TVs Laffapalooza, Victor clearly has the chops to take over any room.
He went on to talk about how living in a house with doctors and lawyers is tough on his self-esteem. As one of his more well-known jokes go, “Me and the other comedians are real heart-breakers … because our parents expected so much more from us.” His jokes on the similarity of Cyclops and Randy Santiago, and on the difference of Pure-bred dogs versus Askals, left the crowd in stitches. This mix of self-deprecating humour and funny observations is what sets him apart from his contemporaries.
As Victor closed out his act, Eri went back on stage and announced a short intermission for the audience to catch its breath. Clearly, we needed it.
The Philippines is more or less accepting of gay people, especially in the comedy scene. One cannot deny the popularity of the drag stand-up comedy shows in the country. There are numerous bars that feature this kind of comedy all around Metro Manila. Most people now think that comedians, especially gay comedians, have to resort to song and dance parodies, and to insulting the crowd in order to entertain.
After tonight however, this perception will have clearly changed.
The Headliner (photo by Allan Florendo)
Shy and reserved are not words one would use to describe Daniel-Ryan Spaulding. His personality and joke-telling style are clearly well defined as soon as he stepped up on stage. Being one of the first “Loud and Proud”, openly gay comedians to tour Europe, he has experience with all kinds of crowds, especially hostile ones. He recalls a show in Australia wherein someone shouted out at him, “C*** Sucker ” He then went on, “That isn’t an insult That is stating a fact. Now if he said I was a bad ‘C*** Sucker’, then I would be offended ” Daniel said as everyone exploded in laughter.
Even talking about taboo topics like religion, Daniel always seemed to just walk that fine line of funny and controversial. When the crowd laughed at his joke about the whole concept of Christianity, I immediately felt that he won everyone over and nothing else he could ever say would offend them.
Throughout the show, Daniel would refer to a particular gentleman in the front row whom he seemed to fancy. Calling him the “Lion”, Daniel never made him feel uncomfortable, nor the crowd. It seemed like he was genuinely having fun with the audience member, instead of having a laugh at their expense. And this was how the entire evening felt, like hanging out with a close buddy, who liked to tell some naughty jokes.
Overall, this was a good night for stand-up comedy in the Philippines. Most of the audience members were quick to ask for schedules of future shows, and on Twitter, there were quite a few mentions of the event. A source within Comedy Manila revealed that this show would be the first of many featuring both local and international stand-up comedy.
2014 is looking good for the local stand-up comedy scene. I’m sure everyone who watched at Citrus is excited. Aren’t you?
By Mike Saddi