In recent years, Jose Marie Borja-Viceral who is more popularly known as Vice Ganda has become a name equated with Philippine comedy. He is one of the main hosts in noontime hit Showtime, serving as the only judge safe from “eviction” in that show. Add to that, he has his own talk show Gandang Gabi, Vice. Fans of Vice Ganda remark on his sarcasm, quick wit, and skills in impromptu comedy as the keys as to why he has recently become as big of a celebrity as he is.
Vice Ganda was born on March 31, 1976 as the youngest of five siblings. He grew up in the streets of Tondo and describes his childhood as pretty normal. However, he had also suffered tragedy as he lost his father early on when his father was fatally wounded when a shooting incident happened. Before that happened, he recalls how he had to hide his sexual orientation from his father who didn’t like the idea of any of his children being gay. It is not popularly-known but Vice Ganda actually studied Political Science in college intending to become a lawyer. As a member of the college debating team, he noticed how some of his now trademark quit wits was already beginning to develop.
However, in 1999, the rise of stand-up comedy bars gave him a venue to showcase and hone his innate comedic talents as he became a stand-up comedian in one of these venues, The Library. This job also gave him the exposure and connections to eventually get into showbusiness twelve years later.
His first movie job was in Apat Dapat, Dapat Apat in a role simply named as “employer.” However, Vice would eventually graduate from doing bit and supporting roles and eventually make a big name for himself. His breakout role would come in the last quarter of 2009 when he would be included as a host in the hit show Showtime.
With Showtime’s format of having television viewers vote off judges every week, Vice Ganda’s position in the show was clearly indicated as special as he is the only one of the five judges who cannot be voted off. Vice Ganda is clearly a natural as he uses his trademark wit and humor developed in the comedy bars to make fun of the contestants, hosts and fellow judges without being too crass and insulting. Vice also had his dream of having a talk show come true as he was given the reins of one in the form of Gandang Gabi, Vice.
There have been several controversies regarding the popular comedian, though, such as critics saying his remarks intended for comedy appear as rude and mean-spirited. Some have taken to labeling him as one who has let fame get to his head. Vice Ganda, though, claims that he’s just a comic who makes fun of everyone and that even includes himself. Still, there are still some controversies that have arisen and one of these involved his fellow comedian Tado who was then appearing as a guest in Showtime. Vice was offended by a statement made by Tado regarding homosexuals and engaged the comedian in a word war both in the show and later on in Twitter. This incident has prompted many to take sides, some claiming that Vice simply overreacted while some praised the comedian for his stance against homophobic remarks.
Many have compared Vice’s career choices as reminiscent of the great Roderick Paulate’s career. Vice Ganda’s remake of the iconic movie Petrang Kabayo was another confirmation of this as well as another hit for the comedian. In 2011, Vice has another movie to be released exactly one year after his Petrang Kabayo. This is Private Benjamin which many predict might be influenced by Roderick’s Bala at Lipistik.
Vice Ganda credits his popularity to hard work and his willingness to continue learning, trying to stay on top of new trends like fashion and social networks such as twitter. Simply put, Vice Ganda has proven that he’s the newest face of Philippine comedy and on the way to even bigger success.