‘Bubble Gang’ long-time collaborators share gag show’s secrets to success

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
�Bubble Gang� long-time collaborators share gag show�s secrets to success
‘Bubble Gang’ stars Betong Sumaya, Chariz Solomon and Paolo Contis (third, fourth, and fifth from left) attribute the gag show’s success to its capacity to adapt and stay relevant, as well as the creatives’ sense of teamwork. With them are (from left) Kokoy de Santos, Buboy Villar, Cheska Fausto, Matt Lozano, and EA Guzman.

MANILA, Philippines — For more than two decades, “Bubble Gang,” now spelled “BBLGANG,” has become a staple of every Kapuso’s Entertainment fare. It features, among other things, “commercial spoofs, recurring characters, and parodies on politicians,” according to its website, and remains the local tinseltown’s longest-running gag show.

The GMA Entertainment Group’s “Basta’t Sama-Sama… Best Time Ever” campaign and launch wouldn’t be complete without the program, which airs Sunday nights at 6.

Headlined by Michael V, “Bubble Gang” graced the event with its long-time collaborator-mainstays Betong Sumaya, Chariz Solomon, and Paolo Contis, and new cast members Buboy Villar, Cheska Fausto, EA Guzman, Kokoy de Santos, and Matt Lozano.

The show joins other Kapuso viewers’ well-loved shows, “Amazing Earth,” “Family Feud,” “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda,” “I-Bilib,” “Pepito Manaloto,” and “The Boobay and Tekla Show,” which are featured in the campaign.

“It’s the teamwork in ‘Bubble Gang,’” cited Betong as one of the reasons for the show’s success and longevity in a recent press conference. “We, as artists, can’t do everything. Of course, there’s the creative team (that helps us and) does really good. (Part of it) are our writers, directors, and bosses. It really (boils down) to team work, and of course, ‘Bubble Gang’ adapts (to trends) and keeps up with times.”

From pre-pandemic and pandemic times to the new normal, “Bubble Gang” has to pivot, as Betong said. That’s why they have the latest additions in Buboy, Cheska, EA, Kokoy, and Matt, who represent new audiences, given the show’s weekend timeslot from its usual Friday late-night programming.

“We can’t settle for a particular kind of sketch. We (and our sketches) need to evolve,” added he.

That emphasizes the importance of being relevant, as Chariz put it.

“Kailangan relevant ka pa rin, kaya yun nga may reinforcement kami from the youth (you, as a creative, you need to be relevant, that’s why we have reinforcement from the younger cast members),” said she. “We’re also learning from them.”

The new talents are, in a way, connecting them more to, again, the young set of viewers.

Chariz also acknowledged the trust of those who believe in the show and in them.

“Salamat sa aming mga bosses, hindi lang namin sila bosses, boses namin sila (thanks to our bosses, who are not just our bosses but our voices as well),” said she, reflecting that staying humble also factors in the show’s success.

Even if they are very familiar with the comedy of “Bubble Gang” and know it like the back of their hands, the stars value collaboration and commit to their craft.

“Nagtatanungan pa rin kami (we consult and help each other),” said Chariz. “Pao(lo) is very hands-on and always watches our sketch. He offers input to better improve the sketch. He is very committed to everything that we do. We’re all like that. Yung tulungan talaga at napaka-ganda nung relationship (our sense of cooperation is a factor, and we really have a good working relationship).”

For his part, Paolo agreed with his co-stars about the show’s ability to adapt.

“Actually, sometimes, I would watch previous episodes of ‘Bubble Gang,’ as in the ones that aired years ago. (I’ve realized) there’s a (type of) comedy (from the past) that will not work today,” said he.

“But at the end of the day, nag-ca-cater tayo sa manonood at ito ang gusto nila ngayon (we cater to what the new audiences look for these days). So, we follow. Basically, it’s them who make (and will make) us stay this long. We cater to what they want, especially since the show is on a Sunday (timeslot), mas naging bata yung audience namin, mas naging family-oriented (we have a younger and family-oriented audience). We adapt, like me, I’m not a Tiktokerist, but we do it,” added he.

Following Paolo’s line of thought, one could gather that keeping abreast of new trends, particularly considering the viewers’ preferences, is another reason why “Bubble Gang” is a hit, plus complementing it with the show’s signature comedy style.

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