Serious life lessons from comedian Red Ollero

Serious life lessons from comedian Red Ollero, his new Netflix show

/ 12:10 AM March 09, 2024

Serious life lessons from comedian Red Ollero, his new Netflix show.Red Ollero on new Netflix show

Red Ollero is the first homegrown Filipino stand-up comedian to have a special on Netlfix —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Judgment day will come for me next week,” declared Red Ollero, who is the first homegrown Filipino stand-up comedian to have a Netflix special titled “Red Ollero: Mabuhay is a Lie.”

“I remember saying, ‘Whatever happens, happens.’ That Netflix project was a goal, but if I didn’t get it, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be as upset. That’s also when I felt I’d finally arrived. Now, I’m happy with my current status, but I’ve set my sights on bigger dreams. Hopefully, I will be well-received on March 14,” Red told Inquirer Entertainment on Monday afternoon.


Red, who was last seen in Victor Villanueva’s adult comedy “I am Not Big Bird” alongside Enrique Gil, first got hooked into stand-up comedy as a teenager. “To be featured in a comedy show is the goal of every stand-up comedian. Back then, it was HBO’s ‘Comedy Central.’ Around 2009, Netflix became the objective,” he explained. “I did stand-up for a long time. In 2016, I started producing my own theater specials. A year later, I thought of recording it as a pitch to Netflix. I’ve had many attempts, but they never pushed through. I didn’t have any contacts at Netflix until 2022. Around that time, I already had a series of theater shows and they were all sold out. The last run, titled “Finally,” was what I’d consider my biggest show ever.”


Red had the show recorded and had planned to upload it on YouTube for free. “It’s just so people would know that I’m doing something like this. I had hoped it would go viral. Eventually, people learned about my attempt and this created a buzz. I finally met people who were able to connect me to Netflix,” he recalled. Reshoot

The first meeting didn’t yield good results for Red. “They said they wanted to take a look first before they decided. This was self-produced. I used the money I earned from ticket sales and from other sources. It’s very low-budget. They liked the material, but questioned the technical aspects of it. It didn’t meet Netflix standards. They couldn’t stream it, so they said, ‘Just release it in public. Next time, maybe we can work together.’ Without me knowing what it would take to actually do it, I asked them, ‘If you’re interested in the material, why don’t we just reshoot it?’ They agreed and that’s when the process started,” he said.

This was also when his friend’s production house, Solid OK, which also deals with comedy sketches, got involved. Later, they partnered with a bigger production studio, Arkade Film Factory, which mostly does TV commercials. “In a day, from being self-produced, I suddenly have two houses backing me up. That’s when it really got set into motion. We shot the special in August 2023,” said Red.

Divisive craft

Those who don’t know Red and will only see him for the first time via this show “will either really like me or really hate me.”

He explained: “Filipinos are used to comedy that’s curated, not something that comes from a monologue and is grounded on the truth. If you’ve never seen me, hopefully, you will enjoy this. The craft by nature is very divisive. It’s seldom that people take the middle ground. The reactions are usually extreme. Some would even say, ‘You’re a genius,’ while others would probably get irritated by me.”

Red continued: “What I’m trying to do is present my take on what it’s like to be living as a Filipino here in the Philippines. I will present thoughts that you might not agree on. Ultimately, I think it’s good to remind people that these are all jokes. It’s not meant to break down societies. It’s just made to be enjoyed and laughed at.”


Red added that becoming part of “I am Not Big Bird” taught him valuable lessons. “When you’re an outsider in show biz, you don’t see how much effort and passion it takes to get to a particular level. You think successful people are just chosen and that a good career for them is a sure ball,” he began.

“It takes a lot of effort to reach the level of an ‘Enrique Gil.’ That’s when I realized that no matter where you are, you’ve got to hustle, anyway,” he observed. “I’ve now come to a point where people are starting to realize my value, and then I see how much other artists in the main platform work, like Quen (Enrique’s nickname), Pepe (Herrera) and Nikko (Natividad). They hustle. In my mind, if these guys are putting in long hours, and if I want to make it to another level, then I need to step up.”

It was in 2007 when an 18-year-old Red joined a reality talent search and placed third. He then joined a group called Comedy Cartel but eventually left it to form Comedy Manila with some colleagues. He quit his day job in 2012 and switched to taking freelance work just to focus on comedy. Around 2016, he quit freelancing as a writer.

“Life wasn’t super comfortable, but I was having fun performing, even in the basement of a Chinese restaurant. I still do that room, like I did only two weeks ago. It’s part of the process. I don’t think I’ll ever stop performing in places like that. As a comedian, you should find places where you can test your material. Comedy Manila would have open-mic sessions all across the metro and my favorite is at Mo’s, under Kowloon House on Matalino Street [in Quezon City],” he recalled.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

For Red, it’s been a fun journey, even though it has been a long one. “If you’re currently enjoying what you’re doing, at least you’re not lost in life, and you feel like everything is worth it. You will feel a lot more victorious if that big break didn’t just come so easy for you,” he declared.

TAGS: Netflix, Red Ollero

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.