Jon Santos for president | Inquirer Entertainment
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Jon Santos for president

/ 12:30 AM February 17, 2016

Will the real Jon Santos please stand up? The manic mimic is busier than ever these days. With the campaign season in full swing, he headlines a series of shows, “HuGOT Your Vote! WTF: Wala Talagang Forever (sa Malacañang),” starting tonight at 8, at the Marriot Grand Ballroom of Resorts World Manila.

Apart from the usual suspects like Gov. Vee and Syerap, he is also lining up presidential candidates on the firing squad of nonstop hilarity.

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Interestingly, he is spending Edsa Day onstage, poking fun at the country’s politicos. Other show dates are Feb. 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 and 27 (8 p.m.); March 4 and 5 (3 p.m. and 8 p.m.), and March 6 (3 p.m.).

Who among the presidential candidates/celebrities are the most challenging and easiest to impersonate?

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In a quick-changing live comedy act, where you have to transform into a different person in 30 seconds, the key is trademark looks. Miriam (Defensor-Santiago) is easy, with her bouffant hair, toga and red lipstick. So is Grace (Poe) with her bland ponytail and white blouse.

P-Noy (President Aquino) and Mar (Roxas) both wear yellow shirts, and are an acting challenge due to their low energy level. The secret is in the hair. Mar’s is graying, while P-Noy’s is disappearing.

(Rodrigo) Duterte and (Jejomar) Binay can be difficult: Duterte can be easily exaggerated into a Rambo, and where can I get an Alan Peter Cayetano as a sidekick? Lastly, how can I be Nognog and pandak in 30 seconds? It took Binay a lifetime.

What would you do if some of the presidential candidates/celebrities you are spoofing are in the audience?

My secret? Selective amnesia. I forget the jokes about them and suddenly remember the punch lines about their enemies—so they can laugh louder and I get to live another day.

Seriously, I still deliver the goods, but I am careful not to embarrass people in public. Political satire isn’t always a safe life, but I have to act as barometer of social tension.

Why should we keep telling political jokes?

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I once read an Italian saying: “We laugh so we wouldn’t have to cry.” With all the frustrating news we hear every day, laughter remains the best medicine. Of course, we can read these jokes on SMS, Twitter and Facebook, but to experience them together live—that’s laughter with a little bonding among kindred spirits.

There is healing in communal laughter; comfort in acknowledging the communal anger and anxiety. After the laughter, we hopefully gain the strength to fight and change our world.

What is the funniest joke you’ve heard recently?

A guy asked online: What is the most terrifying thing this February? Valentine’s on the 14th or no salary on the 15th? Unanimously, everyone chose the latter.

Who is the celeb you are itching to impersonate?

For a while, Pia Wurtzbach was on my wish list. Recently, a certain Pia Backwurst, 2015 Miss Universal Adapter, was launched as part of my repertoire. So wish granted.

How about a face-off with Coco Martin as Paloma Picache? I’ll be Leonarda da Vixen. Perhaps a drag queen-ghost named Phantom NagpaOpera?

Why are elections more fun in the Philippines?

Maybe because it’s the ultimate marriage of politics and show biz. But I am also aware that it is precisely this fusion that makes it so frustrating—and that is not fun at all.

Who would you like to see run for President?

Can it be in the past tense? The late Juan Flavier.

How about rephrasing the question: Who would I like to see running away from the presidency? Those who stole from the public. Those with a bit of the crazies. Those who have killed people. Any of these things would get you institutionalized in other countries, but in the Philippines, you might get elected!

Who would you like to see win as President?

That is a very good question. But not as nice as the next one … Next question, please? Seriously I really want the people to win this time.

What would be your priority project, if you were President?

Gay marriage? Education, education, education. All these things are happening because people do not have the tools to discern. Also, I will push for the arts.

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TAGS: comedian, Comedy, Entertainment, Jon Santos, show, stand up
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