On the Spot: Michael V
The comedian talks about his new book, Bubble Gang, his biggest life lesson, and more.
(SPOT.ph) When it comes to Pinoy comedy, many famous names immediately come to mind, from greats like Dolphy to the unimitable impersonating skills of Michael V. It might not seem like it, but he's been making Filipino audiences laugh for over 20 years now, most notably in the long-running gag show, Bubble Gang. Incidentally, the show is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.
After two decades in the business, it would seem as though comedy just comes naturally to Bitoy, and he only proves us right. "O, walang mga tanong tungkol sa AlDub ha! Secret lang 'yon," is his first joke to the press and audience at the launch of his new book, The Bubble Bible by Bitoy. In person, he easily draws collective laughter from the crowd with his witty one-liners and observations.
The book is a collection of 12 of his most popular incarnations on the show, from little Junie Lee to feisty Yaya Rosalinda. His characters, he says, are inspired by the people around him, whether they're friends, relatives, or even politicians. "Maraming characters, lalo na sa eleksyon," he laughs. "Eventually makukulong din ako."
SPOT.ph had a quick chat with Bitoy at the launch of The Bubble Bible by Bitoy, who gamely talked about his book, staying creative, his biggest life lesson, and more.
Photos by Majoy Siason
Sa dami niyo pong nagawa bilang actor o rapper, bakit niyo po naisip na gumawa ng libro to commemorate your 20 years?
Meron nakapagsabi sa akin na ang ultimate goals daw ng isang tao are to have a child, plant a tree, and write a book. So sineryoso ko 'yan [and I asked] at what point do I need to write a book? Ang una kong naisip na gawin is an autobiography pero maraming nag-discourage [saying] "you're too young." Marami pa raw adventures na mangyayari sa buhay ko, sayang naman [ang] chapters. I thought of something na medyo madali gawin at mabilis with the time constraints that we had, at 'yong medyo malapit sa puso ko. So I came up with this book with the help of Summit [Books].
How much input did you have in creating the book?
Parang 50-50 'yong ginawa namin. The materials came from Bubble Gang pero the research is from Summit [Books]. I did the illustrations and then, there was the photoshoot that we did. It's a team effort.
Bubble Bible is a collection of your famous characters in Bubble Gang. May favorite character po ba kayo?
Maraming nagtatanong niyan at ang lagi kong sinasagot ay si Junie Lee. Parang siya 'yong other side ko, especially when I meet people...mga artista na hindi ko kakilala. Nahihiya ako. Minsan sa Eat Bulaga, pinapa-interview ako ng mga celebrities na hindi ko kilala. Naiilang ako, kaya 'yong persona ni Junie Lee, 'yon ang ginagamit ko.
Do you have a certain process when it comes to creating your characters?
Ideally, merong peg talaga. For example, we [created a] Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo character, so I needed to hear her, to see her, to watch her move. That's the ideal. Then we hopefully have several days to prepare and internalize. Pero sa amin sa Bubble Gang, wala nang time. Buti na lang may social media, so now, all you have to do is look through the Internet, study it from there. 'Yong sinasabi namin lagi is that you don't actually have to look like them—although that is a plus—basta makuha mo 'yong essence ng character.
Paano niyo nalalaman na hit ang isang character?
Back in the day, it took a long time, kasi we tape our episodes about two weeks before airing. So matagal bago mo makuha 'yong response pero dahil ngayon sa social media, alam mo na. Back then, our basis [on whether it would be a hit] was during the taping and 'pag natawa 'yong cast and crew, 'yon 'yong gauge namin.
After 20 years of being in the business, what keeps your creativity going?
Actually, parang nauubos na nga eh! [laughs] It's a good thing we have our creative team. Hindi pwede mag-survive ang comedy na mag-isa lang eh. Dapat palagi kang may team, like in the late night shows in the States...meron silang pool of writers. Kasi kung aasa ka sa sarili mo lang, magbu-burn out ka lang. Kaya after a year, madalas nagbabakasyon kami to refresh and recharge.
We noticed that you like to do those 15-minute sketches on your Instagram account. How did that come about?
Ako kasi, mahilig talaga ako mag-drawing at mag-paint. Mahilig talaga ako sa visual arts kaso lang wala akong time, so I have to make do with these 15-minute sketches. Andiyan 'yong pen at 'yong paper, minsan sa likod ng script...para lang ma-release 'yong craving to do art.
What is the biggest lesson you learned in 20 years of making people laugh?
Life is funny. Don't be serious about it...pero comedy is a serious business.
The Bubble Bible by Bitoy is out in bookstores and newsstands for P250.