I Feel U: Luis Manzano and Empoy Marquez tell us why funny is the new ‘pogi’

To open the November 29 episode of I Feel U, weather reporter Trisha Garin shared how she managed to adapt to the “new normal” and find opportunities in the current challenging situation.
Apart from working for a news company, Trish also hustles as an online seller using her own creativity. She makes cute earrings out of clay and sells them online. An art lover since childhood, Trish was given an art and craft segment in their channel and one of the recent episodes was about teaching viewers how to turn arts into a small business. 

Sa jewelry making, marami kang pwedeng gawin pero naisip ko na clay kasi pwede kong paglaruan ‘yung colors niya and designs,” she said of why she opted for clay as material. Apart from a source of extra income, creating arts is also her stress-reliever especially in these anxiety-inducing times.

Very therapeutic siya sa akin, hindi lang siya form of enjoyment. Kapag talaga maingay ‘yung utak ko at lagi akong nagwo-worry, ‘pag nag-start ako ng earring-making with music on, kumakalma ako.” She added that nothing makes her happier than seeing her customers look pretty in her handmade jewelleries.  

Empoy Marquez

More than his funny ways, one quality that makes Empoy Marquez a true ‘pogi’ is his bigheartedness for the family. He started to support them by working in fast-food chains and convenience stores before trying his luck in showbiz.

Empoy’s ticket to the entertainment scene was winning the Mr. Suave Look-alike Contest on Magandang Tanghali Bayan in 2003. Luck hit him big time once again when he won a million pesos in the Kapamilya game show Pinoy Bingo Nights in 2009, turning his dream home into a reality.

Comedy chose Empoy, not the other way around. His jokes are always an easy sell to classmates and friends way back in grade school until high school. “Sa mukha ko at saka sa pananalita ko. Kasi noong high school at elementary, makulit ako. Pero ‘yung kakulitan ko nakakatawa, hindi ‘yung palaaway,” he said of what made him the class clown.

Albeit a natural, he never saw himself being a comedian someday. His life slowly changed when his friends saw the announcement about the Mr. Suave contest. They escorted him to the auditions until he won in the grand finals. 

It took so long for the win to sink in. Empoy thought he was just dreaming then. And although his showbiz journey wasn’t as smooth, he made do with playing small roles in movies and television. 

One morning in 2017, from being just a small player, he skyrocketed to leading man status when he topbilled the phenomenal rom-com “Kita Kita” alongside Alessandra de Rossi.

The film’s overwhelming success caught him by surprise just as how he felt when he won in Mr. Suave. He never imagined the film turning into the rom-com masterpiece that it has become, saying he was amazed by Director Sigrid Bernardo’s unconventional style of playing with the order of scenes. Besides, he and Alessandra were just having fun on the set. 

Through his success, Empoy learned that perseverance pays off. He told aspiring entertainers to never give up and keep their focus on their dreams despite the noise around them. 

The new epitome of ‘pogi’ revealed that he had three serious relationships but he is single at the moment.  

Luis Manzano

Fame and showbiz are embedded in the genes of Luis Manzano. But unlike his parents who are both award-winning dramatic superstars, he was pegged into comedic roles and hosting stints. 

The start of Luis’ real showbiz journey can be traced back to a guesting with his dad Edu Manzano for The Sharon Cuneta Show. Right after that interview, he was tapped to be a VJ for MYX. Coincidentally, he got a counteroffer from another international music channel but he had to keep his word with MYX. Eventually, he started crossing over to mainstream ABS-CBN shows like ASAP and reality programs. 

Luis, whose childhood dream is to become a doctor or a pilot, owns this ‘pogi’ brand of comedy with punchlines anchored on his good looks. However, he isn’t like that behind the scenes. The truth is he sees himself as a funny man than a hunk. “Palagi akong nagjo-joke on Instagram na gwapo ako. May mga punchlines ako sa hotness ko, kagwapuhan ko. But it’s the opposite. Para sa akin, its self-deprecating,” he opened up.  

The showbiz royalty once ventured into drama via 2009 movie “In My Life” which he topbilled alongside his mom, Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos, and John Lloyd Cruz. He said it was a challenging experience. Not that he wasn’t blessed with the drama genes (he does, a recognition would prove so) but he thinks people see him as the goofy Luis more than the role he portrays.

“Dahil ang kulit ko sa hosting, when people watch me act, they still think I’m hosting. Umiiyak ako, binibigay ko na lahat sa eksena pero natatawa sila kasi alam nila kung paano talaga ako in person. Kasi ‘yun ang ino-offer natin sa hosting, eh, how we really are,” he explained.

Asked how he handles problems, the celebrated host said he would rather focus on the solution than dwell on the conflict. So, with practical problem-solving skills and comic chops combined, he launched an online public service-comedy show titled “Luckyng Tulong” with one of his favorite sidekicks Long Mejia.

“Kung ang problema n’yo medyo may kababawan, kami na ang bahala ni Long,” he teased. “Lucky ng Tulong,” unlike most complaint-based public service programs, adds in loads of riotous comedy and tackles minor and hilarious issues. 

The hilarity just doubled up when Long joined Luis in this interview. People may be surprised to know how close these two are considering their differences. But just watching them work as a team for the sake of punchlines, it’s easy to see that one thing that binds them together – the love of making other people happy.

Luis, a huge fan of old-school comedy, mentioned that they started working together in several game shows before Minute to Win It where they gained a bigger following as a trio with Negi.

According to Long, his partner has a complete package that makes up a true comedy genius. He said Luis has a brilliant mind and is a team player with a good timing for punchlines. “Kung naging kasing-gwapo ko lang, pwede na talagang komedyante,” he quipped. 

With this, Luis added that hosting and comedy share the same principle of give and take. “Ang comedy at hosting naman is bigayan lang naman ‘yan, eh. Hindi pwedeng ikaw at ikaw palagi ang bida. My personal philosophy sa hosting, ‘pag host ka ang duty mo is to let others shine. Kung nag-iinterview ka, dapat kung sinong kinakausap mo, siya ang bida,” he added.

Behind the scenes, though, the tandem often talks about serious ‘guy’ matters. Luis would attest that comedians are the most authentic persons. 

To test their problem-solving genius, Luis and Long are given different scenarios that they would try to solve. Case number one was about a young couple disapproved by their parents. The duo’s hilarious advice was to simply switch partners. 

To a young man pressured to settle down, Long said there’s only one way to know if a guy is ready to marry and that’s if he can reach his ear using the opposite hand.

The last sample case was about a housewife who doesn’t know how to cook. Long’s funny suggestion was to hire a housemaid. On a serious note, Luis stressed that husbands should also learn how to cook so as not to depend on women all the time. 

To cap off the episode, Luis entertained questions from his fans. He talked about his top priorities during the pandemic – fitness and health. He said sweating it out always makes him feel good, apart from seeing his progress. To those with fitness goals, Luis’ best advice is to keep on going and eat a balanced diet. Push yourself. The hardest part will always be the first step but as long as you are consistent, working out will eventually become part of your daily routine. 

Known for being the life of the party and a passionate traveller, Luis noted how the pandemic changed his lifestyle especially when it comes to his social life. He nonetheless catches up with friends virtually. When going out for work, he makes sure to always be protected by taking his vitamins and following safety protocols.