Jose & Wally: Laugh at first sight

STARBYTES - Butch Francisco () - June 2, 2007 - 12:00am

They could very well be today’s version of Pugo and Tugo. Or even Dolphy and Panchito. But Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola have their own brand of chemistry that is uniquely their own.

This duo is so funny and their tandem so successful that they are supposedly the highest paid in the local stand-up comedy circuit, but this they would neither confirm nor deny. (If they are not the highest paid, it is at least safe to say they are among the most expensive acts in town.)

Fortunately for those who can’t afford or can’t stay up late (the very young crowd in general) to make the rounds of comedy bars, they are seen daily on Eat, Bulaga! and since a few months ago in their own program on QTV 11, H3O, Hahaha Over, which airs every Monday at 8:30 p.m. (the most recent addition to the show is the equally talented Tuesday Vargas).

But who are Jose and Wally who both have become very popular with the masses? Let’s get to know them below.

Jose Manalo

Jose has spent more than a decade in show business — and that’s not counting all those years he spent as a Boyoyong clown. On TV, he started out in drama — in the afternoon soap Valiente. When the series folded up, he was taken in by sister show Eat, Bulaga! where he initially worked as production assistant, audition master for dancers and aspiring comedians and, eventually, as floor director.

But Jose is naturally funny (in Tondo where he grew up, he always entertained his father’s friends during drinking sessions with his songs and comedy acts) and it was inevitable that he’d get his share of the limelight because the Eat, Bulaga! director would always see him clowning around while at work as a floor director. In time he was absorbed as an on-cam talent and developed his own following, especially when he teamed up with Wally.

From TV (aside from Eat, Bulaga! and H3O, Hahaha Over, he is also a mainstay of Daddy-Di-Do-Du), Jose moved to the big screen and did a couple of movies: Ispiritista and the Enteng Kabisote series. Undeniably, his biggest concrete accomplishment so far in show business was his Best Supporting Actor win in Enteng Kabisote 2.

Wally Bayola

Theater had always been his love and he pursued this till his college days. He joined a band for a while, but ended up doing stand-up comedy at the Library for more than half a decade.

One evening, Eat, Bulaga! lady boss Malou Choa-Fagar happened to be in the audience and invited him and other stand-up comics to try it out for a couple of weeks in the noontime show. After that stint, he didn’t hear from Eat, Bulaga! anymore. He thought that was it. Then, shortly before his birthday on May 3, 2000, his manager called to tell him to report for work as a regular member of the Eat, Bulaga! barkada. His first day on the job was on his exact birthday — a truly memorable gift for him. Wally couldn’t have been happier.

But it was a sad life for him growing up. He never saw his father, a doctor based in the US. It was only after 33 years that they were reunited — along with his half siblings on his father’s side. It turned out that his father and half-brothers don’t have hair either and that apparently broke the ice after having been separated from each other for so long.

Jose and Wally

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for Jose and Wally (it was more like laugh at first sight!). In Eat, Bulaga!, they got drawn to each other because they were both male, were new in the show and funny. The tandem just clicked.

Even in their shows outside Eat, Bulaga!, the crowd would look for Wally if he is not with Jose and vice versa. And so they became a team and there is a demand for them in comedy bars (they perform with their own band). If for instance the habitués of Zirkoh in Timog Ave. discover that they are in Zirkoh Greenhills, they drive across E. Rodriguez and go to Wilson to catch the Jose and Wally act there. That’s how much people clamor for them.

But in H3O, Hahaha Over, they are sure to be there —  again every Monday at 8:30 p.m. on QTV 11. It’s a musical gag show that is truly hilarious.

Yes, Jose and Wally are aware that they are expected to follow in the footsteps of Pugo and Tugo or even Dolphy and Panchito and those are such tough acts to follow. Maybe they could also be the next Reycards. Why not? But unlike the Reycards, they vow never to migrate abroad (the Reycards eventually had their base in Las Vegas) and spread the laughter among Pinoy audiences here in the country.

Meanwhile, they admit that they still have to polish their act further. It’s still a long way until they become the next Pugo and Tugo, Dolphy and Panchito or even The Reycards, but knowing how talented and dedicated they are to their craft, they’ll get there — soon.

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