Rex Navarette performs in London. Photo by Edward Lao for ABS-CBNnews.com
LONDON -- Filipino-American comedian Rex Navarette left British Pinoys in stitches during his first ever performance in the United Kingdom last month.
The stand-up comic cracked Pinoy-inspired quips for two nights at a venue called Bar Rumba in the West End last July 24 and 25.
The Oregon-based Pinoy, who is synonymous with sketches like 'Marites and the Superfriends' and 'SBC Packers', previously told ABS-CBN Europe he wanted to use the gigs to introduce new material and create more fan favourites.
Navarette began by joking about how long it took him to perform in the UK, before recalling a visit to the motherland as a youngster, including the first time he encountered the tabo in the bathroom.
During the hour long act he touched on various topics including the Philippines' colonial past, the country's food influences, and growing up in the United States with family members like his grandfather - a former war veteran, and his mother who plied his first Caucasian best friend with dishes like lengua and diniguan.
After each show, the 44-year-old mingled with fans who took photos and requested autographs.
"It was beyond what I expected. I never knew it was going to be this crazy. It was a great venue and it was put together by great people," said Navarette, who admits he was slightly nervous beforehand.
"I think it went fine, everything went smooth, just naturally. It became like an hour long conversation and everyone was talking with me. I'm really happy that the UK has got a really smart comedy audience and they were open to my stuff. It was an audience I didn't expect. They were amazing. I wish I could go on tour with them. I'm happy, totally happy," he added.
The two-night showpiece was organised by entertainment company Imojin Group.
"It was a great reception. He loved it. He enjoyed it. He was totally vibing off the crowd, the crowd was vibing off him and it was exciting," event producer Nina Bautista-Paddit said.
"Someone like him can inspire homegrown comics and that's what we all want. We want more of this vocalization and humor when it comes to identity issues, who we are, the duality of who we are. Filipino and whatever it might be," added the UK-based Fil-Am, who used to work with rapper Apl.de.Ap of multi-award winning group The Black Eyed Peas.
Despite a huge pool of talent, not many Fil-Ams have crossed the pond to perform in the UK, which is why Bautista-Paddit said she was initially hesitant about bringing over Navarette.
"There were a few people that knew him, there were lots that didn't know him. The ones that knew him were super fans it seemed and we really just had to take a chance and see what could happened. I'm glad we took a chance," she said.
"I'm glad we went on with this experiment. It's something that will definitely fuel us to do more like this, and share more of our talent out here and create more talent by this," Bautista-Paddit added.
Imojin Group is linked with a range of Fil-Am talents including mixed martial artist Brandon Vera, DJ Mia Guzman from MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and Chad Hugo of hip-hop group The Neptunes.
Bautista-Paddit revealed Imojin will be exploring the possibility of bringing over more Fil-Am acts in future.