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Sunday, August 14, 2011

“Ay, hindi. Hindi ‘to blog post”: A Guide to Actually Funny and Proper Sarcasm

What do you think? 

Bible experts believe that Vice Ganda is the Anti-Christ
In Filipino culture, fads and trends always have a way of turning nauseating and tiresome after quite some time.

I was in a canteen grabbing dinner a week ago when I was dismayed by a correspondence between three college students sitting on a table next to mine. It went this way:

“Hala, sobrang late na ng hapunan natin, alas nuwebe na pala!” the only guy in the group remarked, to which the girl with glasses in the group swiftly replied, “Hinde, hinde, 8AM pa lang, may solar eclipse lang sa labas,” in the highly caustic tone of Vice Ganda.

Both of them cackled as if this was some milestone in the history of comedy. They laughed with the same gusto that hyenas have while laughing at, well, almost anything.   A girl with curly hair then walked to their table holding a tray, sat down, glanced at the guy’s meal and said, “Ay pansit?”

We all know where this is going.

I've managed to take a snapshot of Pansit Guy
in the canteen.
Four-Eyes and Pansit Guy jumped at this opportunity like how Hayden Kho would respond to catching a nude Brazilian supermodel in his bathroom – quick and merciless.

“Ay hindi, hindi. Chopsuey with worms!” barked Pansit Guy. “Ay hindi, hindi. Lechong Baka yan,” taunted Four-Eyes. This series of absurd exchanges probably went on for at least six months before all the guffawing and screeching died down.

Throughout this scene straight from the director’s cut version of the film “Saw”, I’ve managed to contain my judgment and leave them alone.

It’s very disturbing how nonsensical humor like this could ignite so much laughter. But what’s even more startling is how difficult it is nowadays to maintain a good conversation without some wisecrack going “Ay, hindi, hindi…” on your ass. In the wise words of nobody in particular, “Simula nung sumikat si Vice Ganda, wala nang matinong kausap.”

I’m a firm believer of the idea that man cannot stop Mother Nature. Low-grade sarcasm like this is something that would be dealt with more prolifically if we adapt to it rather than try to completely stop it. You can’t stop a typhoon by wishful thinking just as much as you can’t stop Vice Ganda jokes from circulating by writing an anti-Vice Ganda blog post. We cannot assume the power of God, and we have to manage this crisis as the mere mortals that we are.

This is why this blog post isn’t about condemning Vice Ganda jokes; it’s about using them properly. Here are some tips that may save your life one day:

1.      Make sure that every joke is a stretch. I remember back in the day when only a select few could be funny. Now, everybody thinks they’re the best thing that’s ever happened to humor all of a sudden. I feel about Vice Gands jokes the way most people feel about Rebecca Black's songwriting - it's the easiest thing to make and it's intellectually offensive. When you lower the brainpower required to formulate a joke, tendency is just about any imbecile could crack a lame joke and still get away with it. The possibilities are endless and you can survey all things inside a Century Tuna can and still come up with at least five sarcastic jokes. Part of what makes jokes funny is the amount of brain cells exerted. Now that everyone could crack a joke about everything, we seem to be overlooking the cerebral aspect of humor. Why not do society a favor and try to relay jokes that are funny yet smart just like in the old days when human beings still were capable of thinking.

Example:
You: "Para po."
Jeepney driver: "Bababa ka na sa tabi?"

Bad comeback: “Ay, hindi po, Manong. Aakyat lang po ako sa taas."
Good comeback: “Hindi, hindi, bababa ako dyan sa gitna, sa gitna para mabundol ako.”

2.      More than two times in a row, really? Nothing is more irritating than a douche trying to stress that he’s funny by going on a joke rampage. In comedy, subtlety is key. And when you shoot out more than two Vice Ganda jokes in a row, that is a sure indication of desperation. Limit yourself to one properly timed joke, interact and wait for an opportunity to crack another one. There is no single conversation human beings are capable of that will entail the use of three or more Vice Ganda jokes. If you’re problem is that you have the need to be funny for social acceptance, there are other less sickening ways to get social harmony, like Christian groups or not sucking at sarcasm.

3.      Joke sparingly. You don’t want people getting tired of how funny you really are. Sometimes, you have to conserve all that comedic prowess so that they hit harder every time you try to drop a funny remark. Subtlety is key, I can’t stress that enough. When you joke all the time, people might think that you can’t hold a real conversation and may lose a few important things in the process. While being funny is a gift, you have other personal traits to maintain like academic standing, romantic relationships or getting a life. Sometimes, humor isn’t everything.

4.      Strive for witty, not asshole. Now you know that you have to be clever when telling a Vice Ganda joke, but remember, genius and being a prick are not always mutually exclusive. You know when you’ve brewed up a wonderful joke when people start laughing and rolling on the floor, not screaming and trying to bludgeon you with a sledgehammer. Always consider whether your comedy is offensive or not. Otherwise, it will defeat the purpose of humor which is to bring joy to other people.

Example:
(Nagtatanong sa lalaking namatayan ng ama)
Kaibigan: "Okay ka lang?"

Offensive comeback: “H*yop ka! Patayin rin ko kaya ang tatay mo para okay ka rin!”
Non-offensive comeback: “Okay lang ako, ako nga ang pumatay eh. Bigtime! Success, patay na!”


How I imagined Willyboy would look like.
5.      Right place. Right time. Right frequency. God will not smite you if consider proper timing when formulating jokes. There are simply times when jokes are welcome and there are times when you the best thing to do is just shut your trap. Nobody likes that sweaty guy next to you on the LRT who keeps on blabbing loudly on the phone or those chatty girls inside the van who reek Bambini or Juicy Cologne while laughing like chimpanzees at how some person named Willyboy or Cherrylyn Mae has body odor. Why are they so annoying? Because they’re not in the right place nor at the right time nor using the socially acceptable voice frequency. Just like Vice Ganda jokes, when you try to be funny without considering where you are, the joke may not turn out pleasant at all.

Example:
Text: “Johnny, pnta k d2 ospital. Nbaril si Uncle Pedring mo sa panga tpos nbangga ng 10-wheeler trak. Blisan m grabeng sakit raw ang nrrmdaman nya.

Johnny: “Hnde, hnde, hnde, humahalinghing si uncle potpot sa sobrang sarap. K pnta na poh.”







Saturday, August 13, 2011

GRAFFITIcation

What do you think? 
These shots were taken last summer in Intramuros, Manila during our in-company training at Manila Bulletin. I wish graffiti were all as artistic and visually stunning as this. In a world where graffiti is mostly about promulgating the culture of drug abuse, misogyny, violence, racism and sex, a place where graffiti is actually an art form should not be missed by our cameras.