Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan: Comedians bring joy and laughter while helping each other through tough times

Comedy is one huge, colorful, and riotous world not everyone is privileged to be part of. It takes a lot of talent, hard work, and courage to be a successful comedian. It’s one thing to make someone smile and laugh, but it’s completely another thing to make people temporarily forget their problems through witty punch lines and amusing banters. 

Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan’s March 6 episode featured some of these humorous artists who may have brought much joy and laughter onstage or on-cam, but were suffering from personal challenges behind the scenes. The episode also showed how they helped each other overcome those ordeals.

Two of these talented comedians are Reginald “Lassy” Marquez and Melvin “MC Muah” Enriquez Calaquian - both vloggers, actors, hosts, and stand-up comedians. MC would go to comedy bars when he was in college. He remembers telling himself that if he doesn’t succeed in becoming a broadcaster, he will try to spread joy as a stand-up comedian. When he told his mother about his plans, she was at first hesitant  Lassy, on the other hand, was also given the opportunity to pursue comedy by hosting shows in bars. A comedy bar manager told Lassy that he had the potential in having a career in comedy. Lassy and MC then got to work together and built good rapport as a comedy act. They eventually became good friends, and this friendship became stronger, especially during the time when MC’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone and stomach cancer. Lassy was very close to her because he would stay often at MC’s house. MC shared that when his mother passed away, his friends including Lassy were the ones who did his mother’s makeup.

Because of the pandemic, their fellow stand-up comedians working in the comedy bars were greatly affected. But Lassy and MC were blessed to meet Richardson “Chad Kinis” Dela Cruz who eventually became their good friend, and paved the way for them to become vloggers as well. Chad thought of launching a YouTube account so they could post their vlogs. They had “Beks Battalion” as their account name, and when they uploaded their sidesplitting videos, people immediately loved it and showed support. They gained 20,000 subscribers at the beginning, and it skyrocketed to more than 200,000 subscribers in three weeks. Because of the chance and opportunity that Chad gave to Lassy and MC, the two were able to continue doing the craft they love to do, despite the pandemic. For that, MC and Lassy are very thankful and grateful for all the help that Chad has given them. They gave him a towel and soap dish as symbols of their appreciation.

Chad, also a vlogger, actor, and stand-up comedian, achieved his dream of becoming a comedian - and this dream all started with his promise to his late mother. When their family business didn’t go well, his parents separated. That’s why he stayed with his grandparents. When his mother was diagnosed with an early stage of cancer, his parents reconciled. Before his mother passed away, he was told to take care of his father and his siblings. But Chad admitted that he also had a hard time living with his father who at that time noticed his real gender identity. His father forced him to get out of the house. And Chad was left with nothing during that time.

He decided to live in a boarding house where he and his boardmates sold street food. He then became a DJ and eventually worked in a comedy bar, which later on was forced to close. Chad would then work as a call center agent. He wasn’t expecting to receive the news that would break his heart and make him regret his decision. One day, Chad received a call telling him that his dad had stroke. It was too late when he went back because his father already passed away. That’s when Chad pledged to fulfill his promise to his mother which was to take care of his siblings.

Chad would then meet the person who would eventually help him reach his dream, stand-up comedienne and actress Tart Carlos, who became his second mom and mentor in comedy. Tart was the one who helped him reach his dream which was to become a stand-up comedian in
The Library where Tart was working during that time. She described Chad as someone who is always thoughtful and never forgets to show kindness and compassion to others. To show his appreciation for Tart, Chad gave her a tote bag, which symbolizes that “container” where she could put all her problems in life. 

Tart Carlos has always been someone who’s funny and energetic. However, she admitted that she also became rebellious growing up. She said that her mom really set strict rules for her when she was young. For instance, she should get back home from school not later than six in the evening. Tart admitted that her mom would hit her when she would not meet those rules and, as a result, would sometimes become disobedient. But she said that she was strong enough to endure all those. Tart also became strong when she experienced failures in her past relationships. She even became a battered wife for 11 years. She decided to leave her ex-husband when they had their second baby because he was also abusing their child and her sister physically.

But one of the hardest things that Tart has long been facing is the loss of her sight. Her doctor said she had been suffering from an eye stroke and problems with her retina. She even reached the point where she would stalk her friends’ social media accounts and would try to memorize their faces. But there was one person who made Tart realize that there was hope in the uncertainty she was facing. His name is Andrew “Mamu” De Real, theater actor, writer, and comedy bar owner who eventually became Tart’s mentor. Tart is very thankful and grateful to Mamu for believing in her especially during the times when she didn’t even believe in herself. As a symbol of appreciation towards her mentor, Tart gave Mamu a bottle of wine.

Mamu shared his talent and wisdom not only to Tart, but to many successful hosts and comedians who have built their names in the entertainment industry including Vice Ganda, Pooh, Ai-Ai delas Alas, and Allan K, to name a few. Mamu shared he came from a big and happy family, but it became hard for him when his parents separated. He dreamt of having a comedy bar or club, which he eventually achieved. He built The Library and he called it as such because he would often go to the library when he was still in school. The concept at first was having a place where customers could read books while waiting for their order. But they thought that the concept wasn’t enough to attract customers. Later on, they thought of having stand-up comedy acts bringing out topics that people would love to talk about, including romance, love, and politics. And it all started there. 

The entertainers were initially just five until The Library was able to have one big family with more than a hundred members. But Mamu would feel sad whenever he notices that his entertainers were gradually leaving The Library. Mamu would then decide to adopt his wonderful daughter Alyssa de Real. Mamu admitted that he had his realizations about fatherhood when Alyssa was already growing up. Mamu also wished to have a partner and he did find one. They even got married but it came to a point when their relationship came to an end. Another problem, and probably the hardest phase that Mamu faced was the permanent closing of The Library, which served as their home for the past thirty years. On their last day, all the entertainers who started from The Library went back to their home and gathered together to spend one last memorable night. Because the pandemic came and it became a hard situation for the entertainers working in The Library, Mamu used social media as a platform to help them get opportunities to work.

A kind and helpful Mamu would definitely welcome Tart with open arms as a mentee in the world of comedy. Tart, in turn would extend the same act of kindness to Chad and encourage him to overcome his personal challenges and take on a fruitful career in comedy. Tart’s unforgettable act likewise made Chad provide opportunities to struggling comics, such as MC and Lassy to continue their craft despite the pandemic.

Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, airs Saturdays at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.