The other Kim
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2013 - 12:00am

When people meet Kim Idol for the first time, one of the questions they always ask him is how he got his name. His real name is Mikel Alhente, and somehow mixing the letters around led to his name becoming Mike Ekim, which later got shortened to Kim. But then it became the trend for stand-up comedians to have descriptions added to their names — hence, Vice Ganda, Anton Diva and Martin D — so he had to think of something to add after his.

That’s when he thought of the word “idol.” People would often approach him after a show and say “Idol” as a way of showing their appreciation. But that wasn’t the only reason he decided to add it to his name. Explains Kim, “Marami kasi kaming Kim sa sing-along, eh yung iba, ayaw magpalit ng pangalan, so nalilito ang mga tao. May nagsabi sa akin na palitan ko daw ang pangalan ko, but I didn’t want to change my name because I was the first Kim. So what I did, I put something iconic, that’s why it became Kim Idol.”

Kim was born and bred in Manila. He grew up in Sta. Ana, Manila, although his father is from Batangas and his mother, from Virac, Catanduanes. Kim got into showbiz via a beauty contest called Hiyas ng Puerto Galera. It was Holy Week and Kim was egged to join. He was 19 or 20 years old at the time. Among the faces that Kim saw in the crowd were Allan K, Philip Lazaro and The Library owner Andrew de Real. “Unique siya dahil hindi pagandahan, kundi kung sino ‘yung pinakanakakatawa, ‘yon ang mananalo,” says Kim. “Hindi ko alam na ang may gawa n’on, ‘yung mga taga-Library. Pinilit ako ng friends ko, sabi nila, ‘Kim, sali ka.” Kapag hindi daw ako sumali, hindi daw nila babayaran ‘yung pamasahe ko pauwi, eh sabit lang naman ako sa biyahe n’un. So I didn’t have a choice, I got scared that they wouldn’t let me go home, so I joined.”

Kim didn’t win the contest, but had done enough to get De Real interested in offering him a spot at The Library. De Real asked Teri Aunor to seek Kim out in the dressing room after the contest, but he had already left. Three months later, Kim ran into Teri again. He had just resigned from his day job as a telemarketer and auditioned for a sing-along/comedy bar called Jeff’s Café.

“I was rejected,” says Kim. “I was on my way home, I had accepted my defeat, paglabas ko, paghawak ko sa pinto, nandun si Teri sa kabila. Parang pelikula. When he saw me, he said, ‘Ikaw ‘yung kasali sa Puerto Galera, hinahanap ka, matagal na.’”

When he came face to face with the people at The Library, he was told: “Sobrang nakakatawa ka, pagkakitaan natin ‘yang mukha mo. Pangit ka, pero pagkakakitaan ‘yan.’”

Truthfully, Kim didn’t know whether he should be offended or not by what he heard, but by now, it is a forgotten part of his story. Kim did go on to become a successful stand-up comedian, singer and host.

Now, aside from mounting his own shows, Kim also guests in the shows of other artists. He also writes for other comedians, like Vice Ganda. Kim also used to be a contributing writer for Gandang Gabi Vice and also a skit writer for Sarah G. Live. When Pooh and Pokwang have concerts, he also writes for them. Kim also performs regularly — every Wednesday and Friday — at Zirkoh, and every Thursday and Saturday at Klownz along Quezon Ave. He does concerts and shows here and abroad, and was once a regular in Eat, Bulaga!.

Today, Kim is quite busy with shows, so Kim doesn’t have time to be envious of people like Vice who have successfully crossed over from sing-along bars and doing stand-up comedy to mainstream movies and television. He has found his niche in the industry, and he’s happy with it. “I don’t feel that way because everything that happened to me was all destined to happen,” says Kim. “Hindi mo naman kasi puwedeng ipilit ‘yan, na porke nangyari kay Vice, nangyari kay Pooh, mangyayari din sa akin? Yung iba kasi, medyo fretful pag ganon, parang naiinis sila kasi feeling nila mas magaling sila kay Vice. Ako, mas naniniwala ako na good things happen to people who wait.”


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