There might not be a better time for Philippine standup comedy — or at least not in a good while.
We don’t have to awkwardly time our laughs on Zoom shows, “I hate my wife” jokes are on the outs, and homegrown talents like GB Labrador and Red Ollero headline sold-out shows in major venues across the city.
Every October, Comedy Manila lines up a series of shows flexing the breadth and range of their artists. Joketober 2023 features over 70 comedians across 14 shows within the span of nine days. If it sounds like a lot, you’re right. Luckily, we hand-picked some of the standout talents to look out for in the coming events this month.
“I’m Andren Bernardo. Yes, depressed ako if you don’t know,” is his usual opener. Andren doesn’t hesitate to become his own punchline, casting the horrors of everyday life in a new light. As a co-host of “Bago Matulog Podcast” alongside Red Ollero and staff writer at SOLID OK, he’s a mainstay of the Philippine comedy scene. An underrated OG.
Andren will be featured in “Kampon ng Comedy II” on Oct. 19 at The Paper Lantern, Quezon City.
He’s Comedy Manila’s resident Bowen Yang lookalike! And just like his döppleganger, Baus Rufo is unafraid to get really gay with it. Using his rapid-pace monologuing to draw in his audience for gut-busting punchlines, he’s a breath of fresh air that will leave you heaving and gasping.
Baus incorporates a good amount of musical theater into his act, which rounds out his body of work with spoof songs and impersonations. He is also active in the local drag scene as co-host of the “Beke Naman Podcast” alongside drag queen Myx Chanel.
Baus will perform in the all-queer comedy show “SIZ the DAY” featuring Macoy Dubs on Oct. 19 at Wicked Dogs, Bonifacio Global City. As of the moment, pre-sale tickets have been sold out.
Everyone loves an ahensya girl, and Issa Villaverde is no different, winning us over with dirty jokes and spotless delivery. She uses her training as a voice-over commercial actor to her advantage, snapping into well-enunciated sex noises at a moment’s notice — but that isn’t to say her comedy is one-note. Issa covers a large range of topics, from the nuances of queer dating to the inherent silliness of dog owners.
Issa has been on the rise since her first stand-up performance a little over a year ago. She has three shows lined up for Joketober: “Mental Health” featuring Micah Andres last Oct. 14, “SIZ the DAY” on Oct. 19, and the all-English all-femme show “Witch, Please!” on Oct. 22. All shows take place at Wicked Dogs, BGC.
Not a queer comic, but queer-coded — a consistent thoroughline in his stand-up routines to which he responds with a sighing, “gets naman.” Ron Dulatre’s self-effacing act contrasts sharply to the bro-pare humor dominant among cishet male acts in Manila. He works under the tutelage of Comedy Manila founder GB Labrador, and like his mentor, he has contributed behind the scenes as a writer on films and TV, namely “Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune” and “Gen Z.”
Ron performed in the wrestling-themed show “Monday Night LOL” last Oct. 16 at Wicked Dogs, BGC.
Arguably the strongest comic on this list, Jeleen Cubilas commands the room with a “constantly worried” affect that leaves you chuckling at even the most mundane anecdotes. You’re hanging onto every last word. She co-hosts the “Lady Boses” podcast alongside Jeannie Lacay, Khaye Asco, and Diana Ong and is the champion of the Comedy Manila Roast Battle 2023. Like a true icon of her time, she has also pissed off the Catholic Church with her “gang sign of the cross” bit.