21 ‘Gang’ salute for comedy legends
Laughter is the best medicine, so goes the old saying—and GMA 7’s popular gag show, “Bubble Gang,” delivers it with a lot of gusto.
The country’s longest-running comedy program is marking its 21st anniversary with a two-part special, dubbed “21 Gang Salute,” which airs today and on Dec. 2. It pays tribute to some of the “heroes” of Philippine comedy—Dolphy, Panchito, Chiquito, Tito, Vic and Joey and Bert “Tawa” Marcelo.
Michael V., the show’s creative director, revealed to Inquirer that the shortlist of honorees for this year’s anniversary presentation includes comedy icons Dolphy, Panchito, Chiquito, Tito, Vic and Joey, and Bert “Tawa” Marcelo.
What’s the secret to the Gang’s longevity? Longtime cast member Paolo Contis readily replied, “We’re very serious about our comedy—and that works for us.”
Bitoy (Michael V.), well-loved for his creative leadership and relevant comedy, attributed the show’s longevity to its evolution over the years. “Everybody evolves, and the artists, writers and the network continue to evolve with us and our viewers. That’s key to why we’re still here.”
For cast members Sef Cadayona and Boy2 Quizon, the real challenge is how to make their scenes look natural, not pushed.
Bitoy added, “The challenge is how to execute a fresh take of [oft-repeated gags]. If the punchline isn’t original, how do you tweak and twist the stereotype? Having said that, the success of what we do does not rely on one person alone. We’re not a ‘Gang’ for nothing.”
Bitoy and Antonio Aquitaña have been members of the Gang since the beginning. They consider the years that the program has hurdled as a milestone in itself.
If surpassing the shelf-life of popular comedy shows like “T.O.D.A.S.” (which ran for 12 years) and “John en Marsha (17 years)” isn’t a feat in itself, we don’t know what is.
How does “Bubble Gang” manage to stay relevant in the age of social media?
“You have to have original material, and that requires a lot of work,” Bitoy responded.
He noted that some of the posts that went viral in social media had been “lifted” from “Bubble Gang.”
Asked about the possibility of a reunion with Ogie Alcasid, who left the show in 2013 to head the music unit of TV5, Bitoy threw the question to the network executives present at the press con: “Sila ang makakasagot n’yan (Only they can answer that)… So, ang isasagot ko sa ’yo ay (my answer to your question is)…,” he cryptically quipped as he raised his brows twice.