Comedy at its finest: Stand-up comedian Mike Unson turns life's 'mayhem' to humorous material

Anne Marielle Eugenio
PUBLISHED June 8, 2018 11:44 am | UPDATED June 11, 2018 10:20 am
Mike Unson during Mayhem B. Funny show at Johnny B. Good. (Shara Balce/Inside Manila)

(Inside Manila) When life throws its worst at you, it is never easy to keep a positive outlook. In fact, all the negativity would probably leave you angry, sulking, or sad. But instead of wallowing in bad vibes, veteran stand-up comedian Mike Unson gets creative in releasing his frustrations.


Mike has been performing onstage and making his audience laugh for 15 years now. He writes his own stand-up comedy material, finding inspiration from his own experiences.


"Kunwari sa traffic. Daming bobo sa traffic eh. Yung tumatawid, nagse-cellphone. Minsan binubuksan ko yung bintana ko talaga. [Sasabihin ko] 'Hoy ang tanga mo!' Someone has to tell them. Kunwari pag nagda-drive. Nagsi-signal ako ng kaliwa, tapos lalo ka pa rin bina-block. Kaya minsan binababaan ko ‘yun eh,” he told Inside Manila before his "Mayhem B. Funny" show last Tuesday, June 5.


He usually focuses on things he finds "stupid or idiotic". Instead of staying frustrated or angry about them, he just turns them into humor that will send his audience clutching their stomachs with laughter.


"Ito yung trabaho ko so I get to make fun of these things. Kasi a lot of the problems we're encountering, dahil siya sa stupidity," Mike said.


The former "Front Act" host shared that stand-up comedy is basically telling your stories while making the people laugh.


"You're telling your story using stand-up techniques. Kasi kailangan mo silang patawanin. Normal story, nagkukwento ka lang eh. Pero 'pag stand up yung kwento, 'yun yung goal mo eh. Mapatawa yung tao. We incorporate certain techniques while telling our stories," he said.


Getting nervous on stage


Even though he is considered to be a veteran, Mike admits getting nervous before going on stage. Stand-up comedy, according to him, is just 50% confidence, after all.


"There's a thousand and one things that can go wrong. Depende sa venue. Pag ‘yung venue tipong 1,000 yung manonood, yun nakakakaba yun. Minsan nasusuka ako bago noon eh. Maski yung latter part," he shared.


As preparation, he repeats his own jokes to himself. Mike even records himself on video and watches it over and over again. He also writes regularly and checks the coherence of the material.


There would also be times when no one will laugh at his punchlines but he just discards the joke and carry on with the show.


"Bottom line, you're in control eh. Ikaw ‘yung nasa stage. Hindi naman nila alam kung ano ‘yung script mo eh. Minsan, iisipin nila, ‘Ah, sinadya mo ‘yun. It's really how you handle yourself on stage," he said.


"You prepare your jokes pero kailangan panindigan mo siya. Otherwise, ‘yung audience, ‘di maniniwala sa 'yo," he added.


Staying in the stand-up comedy industry


Mike knows that insult theater, which involves sexual and vulgar jokes, is considered as the mainstream stand-up comedy in the Philippines. He, along with his colleagues, performs on stage to deliver wholesome humor to those who are not part of the insult theater's market.


"Every now and then may lalapit sa 'yo [tapos sasabihin], 'Ayoko kasi yung mga Quezon City na puro bakla' or what. So ako sinasabihan ko sila, 'Alam mo wala masama doon. Hindi lang ikaw yung market nila.' Kasi yung iba papasok sila sa ganitong stand-up, idi-diss din nila," he said.


It has been 15 years and when asked why he still stays in the industry, his answer is simple. Stand-up comedy is addictive.


"Nakakaadik siya eh. Try mo siya minsan. Hahanap-hanapin mo yan eh. Try mo ‘yun oh. Lalabas ka sa stage tapos isisigaw ‘yung pangalan mo. Magpapalakpakan silang lahat tapos kada hirit mo, tumatawa sila.," he shared.


More than a decade later, he still sends his audience hysterical with laughter and keeps himself anchored with a reminder he heard from theater director Anna Valdes-Lim.


"'Wag kayong maggo-go for the cheap laughs," he quoted Valdes-Lim.




Want more of Mike Unson's wholesome humor? Catch him and his Comedy Mayhem gang, which involves ventriloquist Ruther Urquia, stand-up comedians Eric Salazar, Sergio Belarus, Korte Supremo, Edward Chico and spoken word artists Jerome Cleofas, PhD. at "Mayhem B. Funny" show at Johnny B. Good, Glorietta 3 on Tuesdays from June 5 to July 31, 2018! Tickets are at P400 each, inclusive of one soda, ice tea or local beer.

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