Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

October 26, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — He is tall, witty and funny. But what makes Vic Sotto reign supreme in the comedy department is his commitment to star in and produce shows and films that promote Filipino values. The comedian par excellence is not showing signs of slowing down.

“I think it can be learned,” said Bossing Vic of the gift to entertain people in a recent virtual media conference. “Dapat may taglay na ‘majika’ na pwedeng ma-develop sa tulong ng mga magagaling na director, magagaling na manunulat at sa galing din ng mga makakasama mo habang ikaw ay nag-aaral (A newbie should have that ‘magic’ which can be further developed by working with talented directors, writers and actors).” From there, the apprentice will learn the ropes of comedy and enjoy the creative work like how Vic has experienced it before.

“Pinaghuhugutan ko dyan yung trabaho ko mismo dahil enjoy ako sa ginagawa ko,” said he of his inspiration for doing comedy. “I love what I’m doing. Enjoy your work, love your work.”

This is also Vic’s advice to the new stars of his three-year-old Saturday night sitcom, Daddy’s Gurl, also starring Maine Mendoza, son Oyo Boy Sotto and Wally Bayola. They are Carlo San Juan, Prince Clemente, Prince Carlos and Jem Manicad.

“Parang kailan lang na nag-pi-pilot episode kami and now (we’ve just celebrated the) third anniversary,” shared he regarding the show’s latest milestone. “It’s so nice that work doesn’t feel like work, that you truly enjoy it. You’re happy with what you’re doing. Mas maganda ang nagiging performance mo. Hindi mo mapapansin yung pagod. Kapag nagkakapuyatan na kayo, hindi mo napapansin na alas tres (ng umaga) na pala na pack up or alas kwatro. Hindi mo napansin kasi enjoy ka sa ginawa mo.”

What keeps him going, too, is the audience that looks for and savors good and wholesome entertainment.

“Kailangan dahil hindi naman biro itong pinagdadaanan natin,” Vic reflected on the importance of comedy content in cheering up people, more so in these trying times. “It will somehow lessen the stress. Parang nagulantang tayo sa mga nangyayari sa palagid (The pandemic jolted everyone). That’s very stressful. (Through comedy,) matatawa ka at makakalimutan mo ang problema kahit mga isang oras, napakalaking tulong para maitawid natin itong kung ano man ang pinagdadaanan natin.”

With that purpose, comedy actors are determined to work virtually or on set, strictly following health and safety protocols. With Vic, he will also continue his situation comedy and has no intention to veer away from it.

“As much as possible, (I will do situation comedy and) I’m comfortable with it,” said he. “Sabi ko nga mas type ko yung nakakatuwa yung mga nangyayari sa paligid ko, kung ano yung nangyayari sa akin.” He described his comedy as “clean,” peppered with slapstick, and Filipino values.

With (clockwise, from top left) director Chris Martinez and co-stars Maine Mendoza, Prince Clemente, Jem Manicad, Prince Carlos, Carlo San Juan, Wally Bayola and Oyo Boy Sotto.

Given his stature in the business, Vic said there are work challenges that he faces, such as doing new comedy formats and working with new collaborators.

“Hindi mo kayang mag-isa (You can’t do it alone),” said he. “I’m not a solo performer. I am a team player. When you have new people to work with, you have to adjust. You have to give. You have to take.” The industry veteran is there for fellow comedians to bring out the best in them.

“Believe in your character,” said he. “As I’ve said, like me, you have to be a team player, hindi pwedeng ako ang bida rito, ako ang magpapatawa rito, sa akin ang punchline. Everything has to be in accordance (with) the script, sa kagustuhan ng direktor. In short, you have to be a good team player.” It’s not surprising why Vic has stayed this long and remains adaptable to the ever-changing landscape of TV entertainment.

“I believe the new normal will be here for quite some time,” said he. “We just have to adjust. Take it as it comes. Sumunod sa mga dapat sundin at pasalamat na rin, na may mga trabaho pa tayo (Follow the rules and be thankful that we have work).”

As for the charm of Daddy’s Gurl, Vic also attributed it to the writers and director, who came up with a concept that viewers can relate to. “Daddy’s Gurl is more of a family-oriented (show),” said he. The narrative has a province-bred father Barak (played by Vic), who raises a daughter Stacy (Maine) in the city, and is new to social media. There’s a generation gap between the two that needs to be addressed.

“Kung may mga issues na pinag-uusapan, dun naman lumalabas ang galing ng mga writers namin at ng aming direktor na nagkakaroon ng resolution yung mga issue,” said he, “and at the same time we can provide values na kahit papaano ma-i-instill mo sa mga viewers (If there are present issues being tackled in the story, that shows the brilliance of the writers and director, to make resolutions and provide values that can be instilled in viewers.)”

Imparting Filipino values to audiences is both an important ingredient and signature of the sitcoms and movies Vic has done.

“Hindi mawawala yun,” stressed Vic, who sees himself as an entertainer of TV and movie audiences. “Importante sa akin yun,” added he. That explains why his comedy clicks with viewers.





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