Vice Ganda, Jessica Soho and the Contemporary Filipino Humor


Vice Ganda, who is undoubtedly one of today’s most bankable and influential celebrities, recently earned the ire of vigilant netizens because of his distasteful jokes on a supposedly gang rape involving TV journalist Jessica Soho during his concert last May 17 in Araneta Coliseum.

Watch this video to decide for yourself. Apparently, GMA reporters including Jiggy Manicad, Makki Pulido and Arnold Clavio didn’t take the joke lightly. Manicad and Pulido expressed their displeasure in Twitter stressing that rape should never be made as a subject of a joke.


Meanwhile, Arnold Clavio lashed out against the comedian on his daily morning show on DZBB this morning.

“Bakit mo binibiktima ang mga taong seryoso sa trabaho nila? Huwag mo silang kasangkapanin para lang makapagpagpatawa. Bakit hindi taga-diyan sa inyo ang gawin mong subject ng jokes mo? Bakit hindi taga-ABS?”   

So what can I say about this issue? 

I always have polarizing opinions when it comes to Vice Ganda. Sometimes I buy his jokes and punchlines which most of the time really leave us in stitches. The first time I watched one of his movies, I can’t help chuckling while thinking to myself that this guy’s a real genius in his craft. C’mon guys don’t be hypocrites. As if Vice Ganda didn’t make you laugh at one point in your lives.

Yes his gang rape joke was really crude, insolent and politically incorrect just like most of his regular jokes in Showtime or Gandang Gabi Vice. Yes he makes fun of people’s physical appearance (or the lack thereof), peculiarities and imperfections just to entertain people as if he is perfect and has no flaws himself.

You don’t need to have a college degree to discern that those things are just downright wrong.

But those are the things that made Vice Ganda successful. Those are what catapulted him into being a household name.

He starred in three of the five highest grossing Filipino films of all time. He has three sold-out and record-breaking concerts the latest of which recently became the highest-earning concert staged by a Filipino. He is the most popular among his cohosts in their daily variety show. He has multi-million peso endorsements.

And the reason is that many people patronize him. Whether you like it or not, Filipinos laugh with Vice Ganda every time he berates an obese contestant or an unattractive participant in his daily variety show. Many people are willing to spend part of their money just to see him perform onstage or victimize yet another unlucky audience member whose physical flaws like a humongous nose, a diminutive height or a bad-looking hair will be made the topic of ridicule and mockery just to desperately satiate the audience’s hunger for entertainment and pleasure.  It’s no wonder why comedians like Jon Santos who practice “less-cruel” techniques are less successful than Vice Ganda.  It’s a perfect example of the saying “The ends justify the means.” No one cares how gory or cruel Vice’s way of scorning a person is, as long as the result is people laughing and forgetting their stress, the same process how blood diamonds get into markets.

Lack of political correctness? The Philippines is one of the least politically correct nations in the world. It is a country where corrupt former Presidents are offered retirement packages including sure positions as either a congresswoman at her home province or as a mayor in the country’s capital. It is a country that brags itself as the only Catholic nation in Asia despite being one of the most corrupt and being home to some of the most ignominious criminals and rapists in the world. People can get away with deriding an Indian as “smelly” because majority of us also think the same way. Stand-up comedians can get away with calling an overweight person a pig because majority of the people also do the same in everyday conversations.

Vice Ganda used to be a stand-up comedian at comedy bars himself before becoming the superstar that he is today. The job of being a stand-up comedian is not for the faint-hearted though. In order to be one, you need to master the art of insulting and being insulted which kind of explains why Vice Ganda loves to tease and ridicule people just to derive fun and laughter.

Okay, so let’s now go to the gang rape joke issue.

For me, it was really an offending and upsetting “joke”. Well any joke that is made at somebody else’s expense should not be funny after all. If that’s the case then Vice Ganda and all the other stand-up comedians will now have to find another job, eh? What upsets me the most is the presence of respected and esteemed people in the concert such as Charos Santos-Concio who is the President of ABS-CBN and even Kris Aquino (sadly I still consider her as respected). There were also families including their children who still had no idea what rape is. They didn’t even realize that some of the jokes, especially the gang rape one, are downright disrespectful, abhorrent and distasteful? To think that his concert happened last May 17 and this news only made rounds in social media this day? Are the audience blind, insensitive or just plain ignorant?

Is Vice Ganda’s tactlessness caused by his friendship with equally tactless Kris Aquino?

Like the Gabriela party list, I also believe that rape just like racial and gender discrimination should never be made as a butt of jokes. Men and gays are also susceptible to rape by the way and not just women. Being raped is one of the most horrifying and violent things that one may experience and it leaves a scar in the victim that may last for a lifetime. Well how much more is gang rape? Have you heard of the woman who died a few days after being gang raped in a bus in India?

This is not an issue about being narrow-minded or open-minded. Everything has its limitations, just like being broad-minded. There are certain lines in the world that you just do not cross because when you do, there’s no assurance of being able to go back. I bet if this happened in the United States, where society is extremely obsessed in being politically correct, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Vice Ganda ends up in jail. Baka sa kangkungan na siya pulutin.

Take for example Seth McFarlane’s seemingly harmless “boob song” in Oscars to which feminists, including Oscar winner Geena Davis cried foul over for being “sexist”.

In 2001, David Letterman joked about Miss Colombia swallowing a bag of heroine to impress the judges in the Miss Universe competition. The beauty queen threatened to sue Letterman forcing the letter to issue a public apology.

This whole hullabaloo even reminds me of the Spongebob episode entitled “Squirrel Jokes” where Spongebob acts as a stand-up comedian and out of desperation, jokes about his friend Sandy’s physical appearance in front of a crowd, resulting to thunderous laughter and merriment. It was not long after that Spongebob realized that what he did offended his friend so he instead makes fun of himself.

I must admit that Vice Ganda’s influence especially on the youth is really tremendous. Many young kids have adapted his sarcastic way of conversing with people as well as his sardonic jokes on lack of common sense. I, for one caught myself being sarcastic in talking to my friends or even my mother just to find out that it’s utterly unpleasant and impolite. When I watch American comedy shows, I get frustrated because I don’t find their jokes funny. I still find that impact that Vice Ganda’s jokes have.

Vice Ganda’s humor or the verbal slapstick type, which appears to be the “Filipino kind of humor” now, may affect children negatively making them think that judging other people based on their looks is fine as long as it is made in a comedic way. This may just elevate the cases of bullying in schools, so to speak. Like what a meme in Facebook says, “Simula nung sumikat si Vice Ganda, nawalan na ng mga taong matinong kausap.”

I don’t want to be a hypocrite by saying that I never liked Vice Ganda. In fact I did, and I still like him in one way or the other. It’s perfectly fine to be entertained by his jokes as long as we still remain vigilant and sensitive in real life situations.

You just can’t joke about everything.

There’s still a fine line between reality and comedy. Pwede ka rin namang magpasaya ng hindi nakasasakit ng damdamin ng tao.

But as long as we still laugh at somebody else’s expense or we still make fun of other’s physical appearance, then we don’t have the right to complain.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” -Erma Bombeck

Update: Vice Ganda issues a public apology on his daily noontime show, “It’s Showtime” this Wednesday, May 29, 2013.


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About erwinagapay

A music and movie lover, aspiring author and filmmaker, and a junior student at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

8 responses to “Vice Ganda, Jessica Soho and the Contemporary Filipino Humor”

  1. neo says :

    probably, Vice should start tp level-up his comedy style, he is no longer in the comedy bar where controlled number of people can see his shows. He is popular now and he need to be cautious about his jokes and style… 🙂

  2. Brad says :

    Good manners dictate that you treat people with respect and kindness; and that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you don’t say anything at all. Making fun of others says a lot about one’s character and upbringing.

  3. BlueBelle says :

    On the contrary, I never liked Vice Ganda’s brand of joke though I admire his rise to stardom. It is intolerable that you make people laugh at the expense of other people particularly their physical being. I was thinking that he couldn’t think of anyone popular in ABS who are well known in public, thus, the name of the plump Jessica Soho came to his mind. However, he didn’t consider Miss Sojo’s respectable position in the news world.

    Those he mentioned at Showtime that he also used in his humor have nothing but close affinity with him and maybe have no image to protect. What happened should serve as a lesson to this abusive TV host.

    • erwinagapay says :

      Thanks for you comment. 🙂 Actually, Vice also used the names of Anne Curtis, Kris Aquino and Nancy Binay in his jokes last May 17.

      I find it ironic na nag sorry rin siya kay Nancy the day before his concert only to find out na lalaitin niya ulit sa concert niya kinabukasan. It’s all about the money after all.

      However, I do agree that although his jokes are funny, I believe that making people laugh without hurting somebody else’s feelings is still the best type of comedy like Ellen Degeneres or even Jose and Wally.

      • BlueBelle says :

        I am a fan of those three TV hosts you mentioned. There are other stand-up comedians who can manage to entertain their crowd without making jokes at their expense. What he did to Nancy Binay is also detestable.

  4. ramil says :


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  1. The Vice Ganda Joke No One Got | Deelaytful - May 31, 2013

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