Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

How laughter and distance taught 'Comedy Island' stars more about life

By Jerald Uy Published Aug 31, 2023 5:23 pm Updated Aug 31, 2023 8:04 pm

Improv sketch series Comedy Island, now streaming on Prime Video, combines two interesting concepts—a genre that elicits laughs and cheers,  and an enclosed space, more than a thousand miles away from home.

Shot in September last year on an island in Thailand, the Philippine iteration of the show assembles a cast from different backgrounds. Comediennes Rufa Mae Quinto and Cai Cortez; theater actor Jerald Napoles; viral sensations Awra Briguela and Justine Luzares; and serious drama thespians Carlo Aquino and Andrea Brillantes compete for the so-called Centennial Games’ life-changing prize. Travel host Drew Arellano joins them as Dodong the gamemaster. 

The value of comedy 

Comedy Island could not have come at a better time when the world is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic—the doom and gloom that brought it—something that content creator Justine Luzares has seen since he made the popular British Marites character on TikTok. 

“Comedy occupies a huge of what people consume on social media. I guess it’s safe to say that because people would go on social media either to get entertained or to have a good laugh,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe

“So I think it’s very important talaga. We are so thankful we get to do this, to contribute to that, at least for a content creator who puts out comedy content myself, it’s an honor to participate in this very unique concept in the Philippine media,” Luzares added.

Comedy Island: Philippines stars pose for a photo at the press conference for the Prime Video offering

Arellano, who was initially surprised to be tapped as host of a comedy series, said being funny has long been ingrained in him in their family. “Comedy has been part of the family ever since. My dad was a joker, like four of my siblings, including me, so lima kami, we just constantly joke around, so it’s just natural for us to be humorous to one another and to other people,” he said. 

“And I guess naturally, it just lightens the room. It does not mean that we’re not serious people, it just means seriously trying to make jokes out of whatever,” he added.

Cortez, a mother of two who starred in Ang Taba Ko Kasi (2016), finds comfort in doing comedies. “It will be such a boring world kung walang comedy, ‘di ba? How will we survive? Your soul needs it para ma-balance ang mundo natin,” she told L!fe

No clown is an island  

It took a month to film Comedy Island, which was a huge challenge for Arellano, being separated from his four children and wife, 24 Oras anchor Iya Villania. “In the first few days I was like (asking myself), ‘tama ba ‘yung ginawa ko?’, not because of the work but because I’m just far away from my kids,” he recalled. 

“But then, it suddenly clicked na parang, oh my goodness, what we did in the first few days palang, we did the workshop, and we met them, we met the production—Philippine contingent, Thai contingent, naku, maybe there was a higher reason, a higher purpose for Prime Video to get us.”

The AHA! host shared that being stuck on an island taught him to be more patient. “Kasi it’s a month eh, we’re talking about a month,” he said as Luzares nodded in agreement. “I feel I kinda mastered being lonely, and at the same time, not worrying too much about what’s happening back home.” 

Cortez echoed the same sentiment. "Ako 'yung feeling na na-isolate ka na, na literal na nasa island ka, usually kasi katulad nung sinabi ni Drew na pagka-pupunta ka sa work, kunwari may taping ako, mayroon akong sasaluhan ng lungkot ko o hirap ko. After taping, punta ako sa mommy ko, sa mga anak ko, kasi may uuwian kang ganun," she shared. 

“Pero ito, wala kang pamilyang ganun. Kaya talagang na-push talaga kami to bond together and rely on each other lang, if not yourself, your neighbors—kapitbahay ko si Justin,” Cortez revealed. 

Luzares shared that Cortez gave him the laundry soap he needed so he could finally wash his socks and underwear. 

Comedy Island: Philippines was filmed in September 2023 in Thailand.

Cortez, meanwhile, said she also discovered good traits from her cast members, particularly that of embattled actress Awra Briguela

"I personally fell in love with Awra talaga. Nagulat talaga ako sa kanya kasi ‘yung ganung kabata, ine-expect ko na party-party, ganung edad eh, tapos carefree lang. Pero ano, she was very professional," Cortez said. 

"One night na nagkasakit ako, she really went to my room, sat beside me, watched me sleep. Tapos nung tulog na ako, umalis na siya, pumunta na siya sa room. Amazing ‘yang batang ‘yan," she added.

A source in production who refused to be named told L!fe that Briguela’s management opted to play pre-recorded messages during the press conference so Briguela’s recent legal troubles would not overshadow the launch of Comedy Island

Rufa Mae Quinto also sent a recorded message, thanking the guests for supporting Comedy Island. She apologized for skipping the press conference because she had to assist her child in school.

“Peachy (Rufa Mae) is naturally a comedienne,” Arellano shared. 

“Siguro hindi makulay ang buhay natin kung wala si Peachy,” Cai added. 

Arellano was also all praises for Jerald Napoles, whom he shared a dressing room with. “Si Jerald talaga, he was easy to work with, also super professional, super funny on and off cam, nakakatawa,” he said. “And then, marami ring na-i-imbibe from his kwento from his business. Madaling kausap, madaling katrabaho.” 

The cast of Comedy Island: Philippines hopes viewers will see the sense of found family they have formed in the six-episode series they promise to tickle everyone’s funny bone. 

Comedy Island: Philippines premieres on Prime Video on Aug. 31. Watch the trailer below.