Joey de Leon on TV pranks and gags, then and now

Leah Salterio - The Philippine Star
Joey de Leon on TV pranks and gags, then and now
Veteran comedian-host Joey de Leon hosts Oh No! It’s B.O. (Biro Only) on Saturdays at 8 p.m. on NET25, with its candid camera format reminiscent of his former program Wow Mali!, which became the longest-running gag show.

MANILA, Philippines — Wow Mali!, the longest-running gag show hosted by Joey de Leon, lasted for nearly two decades on TV5. Its candid camera format was recently incarnated in a similar program, Oh No! It’s B.O. (Biro Only), Saturdays, 8 p.m., now on its third season on NET25.

“It took us a long time before sabihin ng tao, ‘O, wina Wow Mali mo ako,’” granted Joey. “Well, umaasa kami na darating din ang panahon na sasabihin nila, bini-B.O. niyo kami. Same hilatcha. I know this kind of format, it will take time.”

The staff and production crew, as well as Joey, are all optimistic Oh No! It’s B.O. will take off in only a short time. After all, the predecessor was a popular weekly gag show known to everyone and became a byword to many, especially its avid viewers.

The reality-based Wow Mali aired candid and unpretentious videos that captured Filipino humor. However, the gag show occasionally turned controversial when the pranks became offensive.

“Three or four court cases, kasama ako noong araw sa Wow Mali, kahit wala naman akong kasalanan,” Joey recalled. “I was merely in the studio hosting the show and introducing the pranks na ginagawa nila outside.

“That was 20 years ago. Dapat alam na ng staff ngayon. That’s why they made the participants sign a waiver after the prank. Kahit madaanan ka lang ng camera, you need to sign a waiver. Even then, kahit may pinapirma na, may nagre-reklamo pa rin. Nagde-demanda pa o uma-angal.”

One female professional availed of the “free facial, free massage” that one parlor was offering then. She was made to lie down and her face was covered with a thick cloth. When it was removed and she opened her eyes, the girl saw around 10 people all dressed in black cloth around her.

She was so afraid that she hurriedly ran outside and fell from the stairs. But she signed a waiver after that prank.

“Since I was the host, I was included in the complaint,” Joey shared. “So, moral of the story, do not patronize anything that’s free. Those in the field doing the pranks, they must all have their calculated moves. Dapat magaling ang nagtuturo sa kanila.

“Kalkulado ko naman ang gulat. Pero hindi mo masabi ang tao ‘pag nagulat. But those were our Wow Mali years. Good time lang. Masaya lang. Nakaraos naman kami.”

Out of the nearly 20 years of doing Wow Mali, Joey also experienced a reversed prank that was unforgettable to him. “I was supposed to push our make-up artist on the pool,” he recalled. “Ang nangyari, ‘pag tulak ko, kumapit siya sa akin.

“Nahulog din ako sa pool. Hindi ako marunong lumangoy. Ang daming nagtalunan na props men para sagipin ako. Ang daming nasirang cellphone. Sumisinghap na ako. Hindi ko masabi ang saklolo dahil natatakot ako. Nagpa-panic ako. Nalulunod ako talaga. ‘Yun ang pinaka matindi.”

Having learned from those experiences and pranks, Joey is confident he has a more experienced staff that will go out in the field for Oh No! It’s B.O. (Biro Only). The staff and crew are more careful to offend anyone. So far, the show has finished two seasons and is now on its third season.

“Mga mild pranks na lang and mostly pa-cute na lang ang gagawin namin. Kaya nga gumagamit din kami ng celebrities. Simple lang naman ‘yan. Katuwaan lang. Kaya nga It’s B.O. Biro Only.

“Even if you missed an episode on NET25, you can watch the show even on Facebook or YouTube. Many other platforms.”

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