Comedy at the expense of others, ‘bullying’, and Vice Ganda

Filipinos are known to be one of the happiest people (nation) in the world. Most Filipinos tend to laugh their woes away and that is easily done all thanks to mass media via television and film.

Who does not want to laugh and be happy; to forget one’s sorrow even for a minute or two? The question now is what type of humor are Filipinos in to?

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Humor is very subjective. One person may find a joke hilarious; other may find it lukewarm to corny, while another may find it as offensive. Social status, personal background, religious stance, level of education, connection; there are a number of factors that affects how a joke will be received and it is a very tricky line that comedians or comediennes have to regularly cross.

Many people have developed a ‘certain’ perception about a number of things, let’s talk specifically about beauty or what society thinks is beautiful. This has been the focus subject on most brand of humor by comedians from both past and present. A focus that has been observed by generation after generation, helping form the collective consciousness of society to deem something not beautiful as not normal which can be laughed at.

Let’s see. We mostly see advertisements featuring talents endorsing skin whitening products, talents endorsing hair products that addresses dry and not-so-smooth hair, talents with perfect set of pearly white teeth, talents with a beach body. From that, we see that this is an image projected by society to be what they should aspire for, perfection. Anything that is not with that projection is subjected for ridicule and mockery.

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Thus we see many “healthier” people engaging on crash diet or hitting the fitness gym to become sexier; those with a not so perfectly structured teeth have started availing expensive dental package (and dentures); those with not so smooth hair hit beauty salons to avail expensive hair treatment to follow the trend. All thinking that they have to follow what society think is beautiful to have a boost in self-confidence and self-esteem.

Having this mentality isn’t exactly wrong but this is meant to be discussed separately. All in all, if one does not follow the society’s definition of beauty, then one is opening himself/herself to be a subject of humor.

Now we come down to humor at the expense of others; to call out someone’s imperfections and make it a subject of humor. This is usually a hot selling commodity peddled by a majority of comedians. A comedy bar type of humor wherein a comedian calls someone from the audience and make a joke about that person or the comedian’s reaction to anything about that targeted audience. Well, most comedy bars that is as we can’t hastily generalize them all. Even if there was a call from the comedian to be a “sport” and take it for the sake of fun, there are still lot of targeted audience who took offense from the jokes thrown against them.

If you have seen various drama shows that showcase the real life of celebrities, you probably have encountered one or two scenarios where the comedian shared a similar experience. Thus, we go back to the tricky line that comedians have to walk.  This holds especially true to a more public form of entertainment noontime shows. Let me direct your attention to Vice Ganda.

I think you have quite a good idea of what the brand of humor of Vice Ganda has to offer. This is probably why you are on this article; on what about Vice Ganda and bullying has in connection with. An avid fan might come up with an idea that I am a villainizing, bashing, or hating on the Kapamilya host-comedian, but bear with me on this as I come from a rational angle.

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