Born in the Tondo District
of Manila, Philippines, into an average middle income family, Jose Marie Borja Viceral did not live exactly a conventional life but was still considerably comfortable. By the time he was in college he began doing standup comedy and “came out” as a gay man, something that 2 older brothers had already struggled with for years.
Jose began using the stage name Vice Ganda and found himself enjoying quite a bit of attention for being on the stage. He soon ventured into acting and other forms of entertaining, even getting bit parts in television and movies. This quickly escalated, because of his multi-faceted talent, into a spot as a guest judge in a national noontime talent showcase television show. Once he was introduced to this much larger audience it became apparent to the show’s producers that Vice Ganda would be perfect as one of the hosts of the show rather than as a rotating guest. That was over 7 years ago.
During that time, Vice Ganda has also starred in five movies that have achieved highest grossing Filipino produced movie for the year, as well as his latest film in 2016 which became the highest grossing Filipino film of all time while also being the biggest opening day grossing film ever for a Filipino film. These movies are all listed here: http://viceganda.cwh5.com/movies-and-tv-shows/
Vice Ganda is turning 41 this year (on March 31, 2017)
His path to stardom has been meteorical and unique, not to mention that he is now one of the top 10 wealthiest celebrities in The Philippines (http://viceganda.cwh5.com/vice-ganda-net-worth/).
Filipino Traditions of Comedy
Since the earliest times even before the Spanish conquest of The Philippines Islands there has been a tradition of comedy and rituals. At the time of the later 20th century these Filipino comedies started to change into a more light and pleasing presentation, but has of course evolved as time passed into what we see in the present days.
To prevent Filipino comedy from becoming just the same sounding as what was before, innovative directors of the Philippines have conjured up new themes that brings a new style to comedy. They have re-discovered old truths wherein words are not always enough and that it helps to inject satire into the art form. These are all meant to explore different branches of the human personality and the reactions that people will have to the comedian’s performance.
Vice Ganda has been very fortunate in learning early in his career and even at an early age, first hand from some of the best directors in the Filipino film industry.
Some of these newly evolving forms of comedy are using broken English. Ask anyone who uses English as a second or third language and they will tell you that having perfect English grammar is a nightmare. So, why not use that for comedy, especially when perfectionism in language is such a rigid standard? It is even true that for those whose mother tongue is English, sometimes they will still suffer from failure. Not all Pinoys become comfortable speaking in broken English, and in fact those who are most uncomfortable in doing this never attempt to speak any English at all even though they may have had many years of training in school. For everyone in this predicament it can be especially easy to laugh at someone who comfortably and obviously butchers the language mercilessly.
Isang Taong Tatanga-Tanga
There is a particular Filipino term, isang taong tatanga-tanga, which means that every locale will have their own village idiot. Expanding on this and using it for a comedy section whether in song or dialogue in a skit or movie is one of several common but original Filipino tools in the industry. It follows that collectively the Filipino people are collectively some of the most joyful people anywhere. Circumstances always happen in life that challenge our ability to cope up, and comedy is a certain way to once again find a way to be happy.
Vice Ganda has proven that he has a great ability and talent in comedy and certainly his success in films, movies, videos, tv shows, concerts and on stage has rewarded him in this.