Accidental comedian » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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JUST A THOUGHT: ‘Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.’ – Jacob M. Braude

 

FROM SERIOUS TO SHOWBIZ: Would you believe the slightly overweight, plain-looking guy who now makes faces and throws punchlines on camera started out as a production staff in serious news and public affairs programs?

Betong Sumaya

Betong Sumaya (BS) began his TV career behind the scenes as a production assistant, researcher, writer, video editor, then segment producer in shows like “Day Off,” “Kay Susan Tayo!,” among others.

He was part of “The Probe Team” that investigated serious political and social issues with no less than the revered journalist Cheche Lazaro as mentor.

So, what happened to Betong? Why is he now the laugh of the town? Why didn’t he evolve into a serious documentarist like Howie Severino, Kara David or Atom Araullo?

Winning the championship in reality program “Survivor” in 2012 changed the life course of Betong. For the better, he claims. We can’t agree (further)more.

Betong is now a highly visible presence in GMA productions. He jokes around on “Bubble Gang” every Friday and co-hosts “All-Star Videoke” every Sunday with Solenn Heussaff. He has also acted in a few films, doing mainly comic roles (“My Lady Boss,” “Ang Huling Henya”).

Even Betong asks himself, “Who would have thought all this could happen to me?’’

Then again, please reconsider. Betong’s surname is Sumaya. It can mean “to bring joy” in English. To spread happiness.

His name becomes him.

 

EXCERPTS FROM A RECENT CONVERSATION WITH BETONG SUMAYA:

Q: Have you always considered yourself a comedian?

Solenn Heussaff and Betong

Solenn Heussaff and Betong

BS: “Wow, hindi naman. Ang hirap kung ako kasi ’yung magsasabi nu’n eh, pero siguro ginusto ko maging comedian. Gusto ko kasi ’yung tao ang magsabi na ‘Oo, comedian ako.’ Ayoko kasi nu’ng parang binubuhat ko ’yung sarili kong bangko. Pero gusto ko ’yung nagpapatawa. Kasi siguro ’yung pamilya namin, lalo si nanay, nagpapatawa lagi. Mas gusto ko ’yun.”

Are you usually the life of the party?

“I think so. Sa barkada kasi namin, ang pangalan nu’n ‘Yakers’ kami nila Maey (Bautista)and Love Anover ’yung life of the party.”

How do you sharpen your sense of humor?

“When it comes kasi sa comedy, ako naniniwala talaga ako sa delivery and timing. So kung pina-practice, siguro everytime na may blockings kami, medyo nagagawa ko siya. Ang nakakatuwa pa du’n, nandyan si Kuya Bitoy to practice us. Parang on the spot kasi may blocking kami ta’s during take, na-i-improve na namin du’n kasi sinasabi niya sa amin ’yung mga pwede naming baguhin pa. Kasi, lalo ’pag ka-eksena namin siya, talagang makakakuha ka ng guidance sa kanya.”

Aside from Bitoy, who are your favourite comedians?

“Ah, marami, si Kuya Ogie, Tito Joey, si Bossing, si Pekto at si John Feir. Si Ms. Ai Ai and Ms. Uge. ’Yan, talaga, gustong-gusto ko talaga sila. Role models ba.”

Are you an accidental comedian?

“Siguro in a way, oo. Bago kasi ako napasok sa ‘Bubble Gang,’ ’yung napapanood ko siya, natutuwa ako sa kanya and sana iniisip ko kasama ako du’n pero hindi ko naisip maging parte nu’ng show, so ganu’n. Nu’ng nanalo ako sa ‘Survivor,’ parang nabigyan ako ng chance kasi medyo nakakatawa kami du’n ni Maey eh. Kasi sabi kami ’yung ‘life of the island.’ So siguro nu’ng nakita nila ’yun, kahit papaano, reality show ’yun, nakita nila na ‘Ah, medyo komedyante ito in real life,’ kaya kami nabigyan ng chance. Pero I think mas gusto ko siyang tawaging blessing eh.”

How has comedy changed your life?

“Sobra. In terms of how to deal sa mga problema kasi ’di ba, let’s face it, hindi naman tayo lahat perpekto ang buhay. So may times na may problema ka. So, ’yung comedy changed me in a way na minsan – hindi naman sa palaging tinatawanan mo ’yung problema mo, pero nakakatulong talaga na sometimes mas okay na ’wag mag-concentrate du’n. Sakyan mo lang, ’wag kang tumambay kasi dadaan lang ’yan. Parang ganu’n. Iba kasi talaga ’yung laughter eh. So para ’di ka rin na-se-stress and wala masyadong wrinkles, tawa ka lang.”

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