A braver, bolder Jon

Edmund Silvestre - The Philippine Star
A braver, bolder Jon
Jon Santos (center, with fellow stand-up comedians Marissa Sanchez and Eric Nicolas) will do anything to make his 30th-anniversary show, I can DOTHIRTY!, on Feb. 13 at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater a real laughfest because ‘laughter is the best medicine. Or LBM.’
Photo by Edmund Silvestre

MANILA, Philippines — In the age of political correctness, how far can comedian Jon Santos go in spoofing not one but two of today’s most controversial political figures in the world: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump?

That’s what members of the press asked during a conference trumpeting the first major stand-up comedy show in Manila for 2019 called I can DOTHIRTY! Da Jon Santos 30th Anniversary Show featuring the country’s most prolific political impersonator and theater thespian, Jon Santos, who is also marking his 30th anniversary in showbiz.

The upcoming original satirical live act on Feb. 13 (at 8 p.m.) at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila promises to be “brave, explosive and loaded with delightfully entertaining hilarious new impressions of MACDonald Trump and Digong DutertHIRTY-HARI.”

But Jon expressed confidence that his one-night only pre-Valentine gag show will not be offensive at all, especially to the likes of Duterte and Trump.

“You know, comics like us are just like insects to the lives of these powerful people we impersonate,” Jon said matter-of-factly. “These powerful people know how to deal with the media, they know how to deal with exposés, they know how to deal with the tabloids, and they know how to deal with comedy and comedians.”

Jon credits his director, Michael Williams, for making the show fascinating rather than insulting with his witty and biting take on current issues. Jon co-wrote the script with Enrico Santos and Joel Mercado.

“I’m in good hands under the direction of Michael Williams,” said Jon, who recently starred in the highly-acclaimed musical Ang Huling El Bimbo. “I’m so happy to collaborate in a political satire stand-up with a colleague from the theater who gives technicality, magic, balance and polish to the project.”

In I can DOTHIRTY!, Jon will have fellow ace stand-up comics Marissa Sanchez and Eric Nicolas as special guests, plus appearances by the reigning “Miss Universe,” US First Lady Melania Trump, and superheroine DarNO, as well as popular characters previously spoofed by Jon including Leila La Luna, the uber courageous political prisoner; and Imelda, who is simultaneously celebrating the burial of Ferdie McCoy at the Libingan ng mga Bayani while mourning her son’s defeat in the vice presidential race.

But what took Jon so long to do his impressions of Duterte and Trump, who both have assumed power more than two years ago?

“My level of confidence to tackle these two very controversial characters leveled up recently,” he pointed out.

“After their elections, I had a feeling that the country is so divided,” Jon said. “It’s the first time that I experienced that kind of uncertainty. The pros and the antis were so opinionated. Until I realized that there are issues that can unite us like the high prices of commodities, the traffic, the problems of peace and order, immigration and terrorism. And in every issue, everyone has a stand or opinion.”

“I found confidence,” he added, “when I realized that there is always a common ground that we can all laugh at and that people are not that divided after all.”

The biggest challenge Jon actually faced while prepping for the show, he disclosed, was to find the right wig to help him nail his Trump impression.

“Ang hirap humanap ng tamang wig, sinubukan ko nang lahat from walis to buhok ng mais, ang hirap-hirap,” revealed Jon to the amusement of the press, adding that he would do anything to make his show a real laughfest because “laughter is the best medicine. Or LBM.”

Tickets are available at ticketworld.com and RWM Box Office at Newport Mall of Resorts World Manila.



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