It was Monday night and the comedy bar was packed like there’s no tomorrow. It was not a breeze for the wait staff to squeeze through, take orders and serve the trays of sizzling meat and beer buckets. The guests were either chewing or chuckling. They were glued on their seats, like their favorite serye was on, only it was live entertainment. It was Zirkoh Comedy Bar’s 7th anniversary, with an all-star cast running until three in the morning.
The playbill announced a 9:00 PM opening. I arrived there an hour late, but caught up with the right segment.
Five muscular 'matinee boys' were on stage, and this pixie haired gay host called on five ladies. Four of the ladies seemed unattached and the other one, she would be 'Mommy Dionisia.' Each man was paired with a lady volunteer to play a dance game. The pairs nailed it with a Lady Gaga remix.
That fun game was followed by a celebrity appearance, then afterward, Allan K stepped in. He gave credit to the glammed-up stage: it was pimped with twisted balloons for their seventh anniversary. He also shared how he started as a simple lad that made it to showbiz and put up comedy bars -- Clownz first, then Zirkoh with his friends Lito and Bob Alejandria. He randomly acknowledged Zirkoh’s comedians through the years (showbiz and non), and his trustworthy waiters.
These waiters, according to him, surrender cell phones and purses customers left or misplace. He insisted that these guys are “masipag kumuha ng cell phones na naiwan, minsan kinukuha na nila sa bulsa ng customer in advance.” The audience roared in guffaw.
Allan K and Sugar sang a Freestyle song, with some lambing and lait lines in between. Sugar, blurted out that her Tito Allan helped her when she lost all her projects. Teary eyed, she thanked him. They hugged, took a bow and thanked the audience. The round of applause was well deserved, and that was just the appetizer of the night.
Tuesday Vargas, in her usual kengkoy and kikay self, shared the perks of having a flat chest like hers, while Comedy Queen Ai-Ai delas Alas harped on her cougar-cum-mother appeal again.
Ai-Ai delas Alas
While enjoying the night, we also had these comfort food at Zirkoh:
Sizzling Pork Sisig (P229)
In my inuman dictionary, cold beer comes with Crispy Sisig and pulutan.
Whole Fried Chicken with Mojos
Zirkoh serves big and tasty Prawn Tempura pieces on carrot shreds, while we stuffed ourselves with their crispy Fried Chicken with Mojos (P400).
Allan K's Finger Food - Nachos El Grande (P250)
We expected to be full and tipsy from the food and drinks we had, but I guess we burned it all by laughing. I heard this joke somewhere, “magkaka-abs na ko sa kakatawa,” that was not senseless after all!
We may not be regular goers of comedy bars, but we knew that it helped not to expect a burst of laughter from the show. It’s not like an over the counter drug you feel acting on you in an hour, but it is more of the funny bone getting tickled the minute you do not expect it.
For first timers at Zirkoh, I suggest them to clear themselves from all inhibitions. Here are some tips:
(1) The kind of entertainment in their stand up comedy has the bash-fest element. It happens usually only among the ones on stage. The hosts are gifted to sense which guests may be onion-skinned or not. The ball only rolls when the guest has his/her game face on. Sometimes, the whacking gets reciprocated, and she/he gets applauded louder than the host.
(2) Comedy bars may update your gay glossary, but expect the language to be majorly Filipino-Tagalog. It is supposed to be a laid back night that will not nose bleed guests of constantly evolving gay and pop language. That actually sounds more fun.
(3) Do not be offended by green jokes and crass language because everything the entertainers say have no malicious basis. The comedy bar experience actually mirrors our everyday random thoughts that usually and only remain in our minds.
(4) If you would like to bring younger guests, you have to explain to them the parts they should understand, accept and not replicate.
(5) Have an open mind, and you will be surprised to see yourself laughing out loud. People don't pay P250 non-consumable door charge for nothing. Some generously entertained people could also be generous with their tips.
(6) Zirkoh allows smoking inside, but you will appreciate their efficient exhaust and air conditioning system.
(7) Do not be afraid to ask for a photo-op or autograph from the hosts. They are friendly and nice people. Some of them started off at Zirkoh and got discovered there for show business, just like Vice Ganda.
(8) If you are a fan of the song and dance numbers of variety shows, this is the place to be. You will like that comedy bars such as Zirkoh welcome everyone, whether you’re a Kapamilya, Kapuso, Kapatid or all of the above.
(9) Drink moderately. They have good cocktails, but they can also be mean.
Have youself some Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Malibu and Strawbery Margarita (P180 each)
(10) It would be nice to dress up, but better dress comfortably. Come with your friends or family, but it won’t hurt to watch the gig alone. You might just meet new friends (FYI, in a wholesome way).
All segments that night equally bagged loud claps, cheers and laughs until closing time, hence 3:00 AM. One of hosts pointed out, “Parang wala kayong mga trabaho bukas ah!” Even that, the audience bought. And so, we stepped out of Zirkoh ready for our beds, but feeling relieved from the tension of our day jobs.