How could you, K Brosas?
By Cristina DC Pastor
On Saturday July 19, I watched my first Filipino showbiz concert in America.
Although the Apo, the Eraserheads, Sharon Cuneta and other big names from the Philippines have performed in the Tri-State in the past, I have never gone to any of their shows because — I don’t know — maybe because the tickets were pricey, the show was in faraway Mohegan Sun, or maybe I was on a deadline and couldn’t get away.
But on July 19, I was at The Town Hall on 43rd Street waiting to see K Brosas and Billy Crawford in a concert. It was the end of a long taping day for Makilala, and I promised to just kick my shoes and treat myself to a nice show. (Also because my friend Elton was one of the producers)
Billy Crawford I remember as a child star who was a regular at German Moreno’s “That’s Entertainment.” But K Brosas drew a blank. She emerged in the entertainment scene around 2010, and I was long gone from the country by then.
“She is a standup comic pero her comedy is medyo bastos,” said Elton of Saleaflor Entertainment. I can’t say I haven’t been warned.
So there I was in front row looking up at this tall, comely woman who was one huge package of talent. She sang Whitney Houston, impersonated Sharon Cuneta, and kept the audience rolling on the aisle and coughing with laughter as she spat out one bawdy punchline after another.
She strode on stage telling her boobs to stop popping out of her form-fitting bustier gown. “I know you want to see New York too.”
It was one sex joke after another but not in the conversational, sardonic style of Amy Schumer or Sarah Silverman. She was more closely aligned with the comic personas of Carol Burnett and Joan Rivers as when she dropped to the floor and there held her legs spread-eagle mouthing more licentious one-liners.
There were some offensive turns as when she poked fun at singer Karen Carpenter, who died from anorexia, by puckering up before singing “We’ve Only Just Begun.” In another, she thanked “white Americans” in the audience for marrying Filipinas and “delivering them from the torches of poverty.” I was somewhat embarrassed to be in the same audience that thought these gags were hilarious.
Then, she ventured into the realm of the ‘Not even as a joke,’ comparing the Filipino with the American manhood. It’s not the size, she insisted. It’s the tensile strength (and I am just paraphrasing here). The Pinoy package, according to K Brosas, is as functional as a coconut grater. The hall just erupted into riotous laughter, the kind where a wide-open mouth gives you a dry throat until you end up coughing. Which was what happened to the guy seated next to me. He was laughing so hard and gasping for air at the same time. I thought he was going to choke.
I’ve never seen Filipino Americans this happy in a very long time. I’m not sure what to make of it. A part of me was thinking, OK, we all work so hard to make a living in this country we deserve entertainment that gives us utmost enjoyment. Another part of me was tossing in my head: why is this funny to us as a community?
I had no clear answer so I turned to the elderly man beside me, the man who almost choked. He dispensed some old-fashioned reasoning.
Me: Mukhang enjoy na enjoy ho kayo. (Looks like you’re having a great time.)
Man: Paminsan-minsan kailangan natin magsaya dahil sa dami ng problema sa mundo. (Every now and then we need to enjoy and have fun because of the problems around the world)
Halfway through her show, K Brosas began to sing. I was pleasantly surprised this comic can sing really well. Her medley of Whitney Houston ballads was one of the best I’ve heard from a Filipino singer, and I swore I may have misted a bit when she sang “Run to Me” from the film, “The Bodyguard.”
How could you, K Brosas? Make people laugh, irked, sing along, weepy, embarrassed, giddy, all in one short act.
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