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Entertainment

Joey de Leon not slowing down, still dishing out laughs

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Joey de Leon not slowing down, still dishing out laughs
Now 75, the ever quick and witty Joey remains one of local showbiz’s most successful and enduring comedians. He displays his brand of comedy on Net 25’s Oh No! It’s B.O. (Biro Only), a hilarious show that airs Saturday nights at 8 and features ordinary, clueless Pinoys being pranked.
STAR / File

Among Pinoys, Joey de Leon is definitely a household name. Aside from being part of the famous comedy trio Tito, Vic and Joey, he is also a successful host, songwriter, and artist. He hosted Wow Mali!, the longest-running gag show on Philippine television, for over 20 years on TV5.

And so, it wasn’t difficult for TV executive Wilma Galvante to convince him to do a show with a similar format, this time for Net 25. Joey and Wilma go way back… some 40 years ago, she was the executive-in-charge of production of Joey and Son, which starred Joey and then-child star Ian Veneracion.

Last April 9, Net 25 premiered Oh No! It’s B.O. (Biro Only). A hilarious show every Saturday night at 8 that features ordinary, clueless Pinoys being pranked, its humor is signature Joey. To promote the program, Joey guested on ASPN, where Ali Sotto and I both had fun interviewing him.

I was surprised when Joey admitted to us that comedians like himself cry easily during touching scenes in movies and TV shows. “Mababaw ang aming luha,” he confessed. Because of the pandemic, he began watching Korea novelas with wife Eileen Macapagal. The most recent Netflix series that made him teary-eyed was 39, which is about three best friends leaning on each other as they deal with love and loss as they are about to turn 40. It stars Son Ye Jin, who recently became Mrs. Hyun Bin.

Joey also revealed that he loves to travel and that it is one of the things he misses most about pre-pandemic life. He loves to go on cruises and has been on 13 of them. Aside from the joy of visiting new places, the cruises also help him deal with his hydrophobia (fear of water) because he nearly drowned three times.

The first time was when he was only three years old, when he lived with his family in a home along the Pasig River. Back then, the river was so clean that it was safe to swim in. One day, he was playing by the riverbank when he fell into the river. Thankfully, his Yaya Nellia saw his slippers and after looking for him, found him close to the bottom of the river.

The second close call was when he was 15 years old. While in Bulacan, a playmate asked him to dive into a muddy fishpond. Joey gamely did so and his head hit the bottom. Good thing people saw his feet in the water and he was rescued.

The third time was when he was taping for Wow Mali and wanted to play a prank on the makeup artist. He pushed the makeup artist into the swimming pool but the latter held on to Joey’s shirt, resulting in both of them falling into the pool. Luckily, the makeup artist knew how to swim and there were production people around who jumped into the pool to save Joey.

Now 75, the ever quick and witty Joey de Leon remains one of local showbiz’s most successful and enduring comedians. The beloved jokester doesn’t appear to be slowing down, with a new show dishing out much-needed laughs every Saturday night. And though laughter is the best medicine, it doesn’t cure hydrophobia. My hope for Joey is that he will be able to take time out with his family to go on another scenic cruise before the year is over, and make time for a swimming lesson or two.

WILMA GALVANTE

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