Vice Ganda: comedy and connections

ISOLATION has seriously affected our mental health during these long quarantine months. It has become such a serious problem that people are trying to find ways to connect to others however and wherever they can.

And while some have even breached certain protocols for the sake of curing their loneliness, many more have turned to digital means in order to feel a semblance of contact with the outside world. No wonder so many digital platforms are raking in revenue and engagement in unprecedented rates. So many people are online seeking for any form of attachment and interaction to stave of the despondency of cabin fever.

Nothing connects us more than laughter: finding a common ground to laugh about. Curiously, while our tastes on what is funny varies, we can all agree that we find relatable experiences to be a great source of humor. If we can somehow see ourselves in the situation, it is easy for us to find something comedic about it. However, there is one comedian in the Philippines today who has made us turn from the mundane kind of funny to something less predictable: live comedy humor.

While it may not be to everyone’s tastes, it is evident in Vice Ganda’s following and influence that more and more Filipinos are loyal followers and supporters of his unique, stand-up style. Vice Ganda has brought the situational and observational form of comedy mainstream through his massive presence on both TV and online; and through his numerous blockbuster films that have become staple favorites in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Vice Ganda, one of Forbes Asia-Pacific’s Most Influential Celebrities on Social Media, has brought together all kinds of people from all walks of life to the cinemas, where he brandishes his ironic and wry humor to an audience who sits in stitches over the fantastical yet iconic characters that he brings to life. It is no wonder that a popular streaming platform like Netflix would pick up his films for a larger, more globalized audience to appreciate. His blockbuster selections are composed of Petrang Kabayo (2010), Private Benjamin (2011) Sisterakas (2012), Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy (2013), The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin (2014), Beauty And The Bestie (2015), The Super Parental Guardians (2016), Gandarrapiddo! The Revenger Squad (2017), Fantastika (2018), and The Mall, The Merrier (2019).

While we are all pondering our future in light of this global health crisis, Vice Ganda’s films offer us – if only for a short while – a conduit to happiness, a connection to other people who are also in the same boat, fighting off the loneliness of isolation, craving for moments of mirth, and generally hoping to one day enjoy life safely again. The Phenomenal Unkaboggable Box-office Superstar’s list of movies on Netflix may just be the escape that brings us out of the daily dreariness of being cooped up inside our homes.

Comedy is, after all, that perfect combination of tragedy plus time. One day soon, all of the tragedy that besets us now will become funny too. And while it is not yet funny now, let Vice Ganda’s films supply that in the meantime.

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