MANILA -- Someone said comedy is tragedy plus time and for 30 years in the business of making people laugh, Jon Santos has mastered the genre without being aware he did.
Take for example his views on the world-famous EDSA traffic.
"Maraming nagtatanong, is the spirit of EDSA (People Power Revolution) still there? Ako nandoon ako. Totoo. Kaka-graduate ko lang noon. Nakatayo lahat, tabi tabi, hindi gumagalaw," Santos said referring to the 1986 People Power revolt which will have its 33rd anniversary on February 25.
"Eh 'di ba hanggang ngayon ganun pa rin tayo kapag nasa EDSA? Andun tayo lahat. Tabi-tabi pa rin, hindi pa rin gumagalaw. So, the spirit of EDSA is still there."
In another iteration, Santos said: "Dati-rati kung ano-ano ang binebenta sa EDSA, pwede ka mag-shopping. May mga toy helicopters, sumbrero, lalo na 'yung cowboy hat ha. May charger ng phone, mani (peanuts), mineral water, kasuy, pati resibo ng taxi ha. Noon 'yun.
"Napaka-maabilidad na ng Pinoy ngayon. Kung ano-ano ang mga services na ino-offer. Alam nyo ba sa EDSA may nagma-manicure, pedicure at foot spa na? Pero sa katotohanan paglampas niyo ng EDSA, pagdating niyo sa bahay, mahaba na uli mga kuko niyo. May nakita nga ako kumakain ng butong pakwan sa isang bus, pagbaba niya, may mga sprout na 'yung mga buto."
In the recent decade in those 30 years in the business, we've seen Santos actively acting for musical theater. He's been part of Atlantis Productions' "Dogeaters," Resorts World Manila's "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Bituing Walang Ningning," PETA's "Rak of Aegis" and "Ako Si Josephine," and most recently, RWM's smash hit, "Ang Huling El Bimbo the musical." Incidentally, "Ang Huling El Bimbo" is being re-staged for two months starting March 1.
In between, he has managed to stick to his first love, doing solo stand-up comedy shows. Most of them were directed by established theater actors and directors. Among them were, "WTF" or "Wala Talagang Forever," a political satire on past leaders of the country directed by Jenny Jamora. Earlier there was "101 Jonjemons, the Pinoy Fower List," directed by Chari Arespacochaga and most recently, the "Trumperte" series directed by Michael Williams.
He has since been juggling his time between theater and stand-up comedy, it's but natural to pay tribute to theater actors. In one of his acts, Santos said thank you to Coco Martin. "Wala na yatang theater actors na hindi lumabas sa 'Ang Probinsyano.' Kaya dapat gawing national hero si Carlo Dalisay."
No one escapes Santos' biting humor. Taking a swipe on a-once very famous, rather infamous, lady performer-blogger, he said her story was rather a tragic one. Santos transformed himself into this woman.
"Ang nanay ko marami-rami ring naging anak sa iba-ibang lalaki. Lahat na-meet niya sa coffee shops. 'Yung isa sa Starbucks, isang tall, dark Amerikano. 'Yung isang tatay, Arabian kaya name ng sister ko si Arabica. Meron din naman Filipino. Ang name ng kuya ko, si Kopiko."
"Pero recently, nag-migrate na ang nanay ko sa Canada. Nagka-anak sila, ang name si Tim Horton. O di ba, sosyal?"
Asked where Canada is, Santos continued: "Pasenya na kasi mahina ako sa geography. Ang alam ko lang magkatabi ang Canada at America. Kasi 'di ba, may Cana-dyan at Kano-dyan."
His favorite has always been Imelda Marcos.
Taking on the persona, Santos as Imelda said: "I did so much for you (Filipino people). I preserved your right. Your right to remain silent."
In a crying tone, Santos said: "I don't know why so many hate me now. For all your problems, I gave solutions. For your heart problems, I gave you the Heart Center. For your lung problems, the Lung Center. For your kidney ailments, I gave you the Kidney Institute. Kung hindi niyo kami pinaalis, magpapatatayo pa sana ako ng Fallopian Center. Ganun din ang Large Intestine at Small Intestine Centers. Isang malaki at maliit ospital."
On February 13, Santos is celebrating his 30th year in the business with a one-man show at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila. Titled "I Can Do Thirty," his guests are Eric Nicolas and Marissa Sanchez, also directed by Williams.