In one episode of It's Showtime, a group of contestants made up of an elderly woman with almost a dozen of her children was making a monologue on how she had a hard time supporting her children and how winning in the contest will make a lot of difference in their lives.
While the more traditional noontime show host would milk this scene with dramatic music and 'Hey, I am your saviour' attitude, Vice Ganda asked the woman if she would have considered family planning when she was younger. Vice went on and explained the importance of RH Bill to a family whose only knowledge of it seems to have come from the blatant misinformation of the church that they attend.
This same comedian who dishes out seemingly cruel jokes on stage and television stood up against a politician that majority of the supposedly 'enlightened' voters thought was ill-prepared to be part of the country's Senate. In an effort to affect change, Vice spoke candidly and his opinion made headlines, was retweeted and reposted countless of times - reflecting on how much people valued and trusted his character and his beliefs.
This is the image of Vice Ganda that I have in my mind. He is socially relevant, smart and he does his part to make a difference even if that means doing something that isn't initially popular or accepted by the masses.
On the one hand, we have Vice Ganda as the comedian. His brand of humor was lifted straight off comedy bars and made mainstream by top grossing films and hit TV shows that affirm acceptance of the viewing public. His humor has always been quick witted and frank, a little cruel but never serious enough to actually hurt anyone.
The now infamous Jessica Soho joke from his recent concert, I admit, may have been a little off for a mainstream market. Of course I have heard of variations of the same joke in comedy bars in the past . I have received forwarded text messages about the lola na ninakawan pero gusto marape sya ng magnanakaw countless times from the same people that are now indignant about rape jokes only because this is the current trending topic.
Of course for the sake of being politically correct, we say that bullying is wrong. Calling people fat is wrong. Saying that people should enjoy getting raped is wrong. But the fact of the matter is that comedy bars operate on delivering jokes that could offend people and it is always a matter of - "If you can't hack it, then don't go." The people in the concert all seemed to get that it was just a joke. People that have seen the concert videos that came out days before this issue, seemed to like it enough as it was flooding my timeline until someone from GMA 7 pointed out that it was supposed to be offensive and everyone else became moralists.
Sure, this was staged on a bigger venue but Vice Ganda delivered the exact kind of humor that people expected of him. On the question of whether it was off or not, I believe that it was - but it was intended that way. Was it right? Maybe not. Maybe an apology is in order. But one bad joke should never be a gauge to judge a person and disregard all the good that he is and all the good that he has done.
I have the utmost respect for the achievements of Jessica Soho and mean jokes do nothing to reduce that respect - as delivering them do not reduce the respect that I have for Vice Ganda.
To end this issue once and for all, here is Vice Ganda's public apology on It's Showtime.