'Catholic Comedian' spreads God's joy on TikTok

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2023 06:00 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2023 08:57 AM

The 'Catholic Comedian' Romar Chuca. Courtesy of Romar Chuca's Instagram account.
The "Catholic Comedian" Romar Chuca. Courtesy of Romar Chuca's Instagram account.

MANILA – Have you ever thought of remixing church music with pop songs? Romar Chuca has — and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s been doing just that.

His TikTok videos are a hit. To date, they’ve already been liked 11.9 million times, and he has more than 324,000 followers on the video-sharing platform. 

@thecatholiccomedian Ikaw lamang, Lord #catholic #catholichumor #catholiccomedy ♬ original sound - Mr. Romar Chuca

@thecatholiccomedian Jopy to the World #catholic #catholiccomedy #catholichumor #carolling #carol #namamaskopo ♬ original sound - Mr. Romar Chuca

@thecatholiccomedian Bamboo x Simbahan #Catholic #Catholichumor #Catholiccomedy #learnontiktok ♬ original sound - Mr. Romar Chuca

The 30-year-old's more popular videos, though, are of him poking fun at mistakes made by church servers that briefly interrupt the smooth flow of the Holy Mass.

@thecatholiccomedian CHOIR VS (series compilation) #catholictiktok #comedy #catholic #pinoycomedy #prayer #parokya #churchservice ♬ original sound - Mr. Romar Chuca

@thecatholiccomedian #duet with @romarrichardchuca MASS INTENTION #parishoffice #comedy #catholic #parish ♬ original sound - Romar Richard Chuca - Mr. Romar Chuca

@heysalmonella #duet with @romarrichardchuca Wag na wag mo pinagiinit ulo ng Tiyang mo pag 6AM Mass. #auntiegabbi #titasngparokya #titasoftiktok #justtitathings ♬ original sound - Romar Richard Chuca - Mr. Romar Chuca

Catholicism has been in the Philippines for 500 years. Understandably so, some perceive it to be rigid, serious, and deeply traditional. But for Chuca, “The Catholic Comedian,” the Church simply needs a new marketing strategy.

“Parang the Catholic Church, or praying or talking about God has been very, very serious. Parang minsan, kung may marinig kang something about religion, parang makakatulog ka na lang, o parang kulang na lang kumuha ka na ng kama at magkumot, mag-cuddle on your own kung mag-isa ka man… Parang, ‘Oy, ano na naman ‘tong topic na ‘to?’” he told ABS-CBN News in a recent interview.

(It seems that the Catholic Church, or praying or talking about God has always been very serious--something that makes you wanna sleep or curl up in blanket.)

“Pero parang nagbabago kasi yung galaw nung mundo ngayon (But the world is changing), and it is a world that first needs something to attract, something to be entertained with.”

“If you don’t catch the attention of people, people will not listen to the truth,” he added.


Chuca said it was in 2007 when he started serving the church through the Parish Alive Project at the Ateneo de Manila University High School where he was studying and through his school's Dulaang Sibol.

"Part of our membership in Dulaang Sibol was that we serve in the Dela Strada Parish doon sa Katipunan (in Quezon City). And yun, I think, doon na na-plant yung seeds ng pagsilbi ko sa simbahan," he shared.

His service in the church through the years includes being part of the choir, a pianist, altar server, member of a Parish Youth Ministry (at the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd, Diocese of Novaliches) and of the Ateneo College Ministry Group, teaching Christian Life Education, and a Jesuit volunteer, among others.

"Ngayon, more of an itinerant preacher, an itinerant piano player, kasi I'm being invited to different parts of the country para magbigay ng recollection, o magbigay ng liturgical music na talk, or magbigay ng inspiration, or tumugtog para sa mga choirs nila," he said of his current activities.

It was in May 2021 when he opened his Facebook and Tiktok accounts for his church comedy.

Chuca, who dabbles in theater, said he created his first TikTok video just so he could feel like a performer once again. But he quickly realized that he can do more than just entertain.

“Parang, 'Wow, I can do so much and to show how Christ is not just serious--although He is serious about us--but also how Christ is also your friend, how Christ is also someone who is very, very near, who is close to you'.”

Chuca noted that conversations about the Church tend to center around what happens in the buildings people flock to every Sunday. But for him, the life of a Catholic must be lived outside its four corners.

“For example, sa content na ginagawa ko, magugulat na lang yung mga tao na bakit minsan sumasayaw ako nang ganito, o parang makikita na lang ng mga tao na hindi lang ako yung parang pianista sa simbahan,” he said.

(In the content I make, sometimes I show that I am more than just a church worker.)

“Yung tagline ko rin na yun eh, parang, ‘Yung pianista ka sa simbahan pero,’ it shows na people who serve in the church should not just be inside the church but also to be outside the church and to be able to talk about, I don’t know, politics, psychology, economics, philosophy, whatnot.”

@thecatholiccomedian #duet with @Sponge Cola #spongecola #pasko #carolling #namamaskopo #catholic #catholiccomedy ♬ original sound - Sponge Cola

“Kasi, no matter how ‘secular’ those topics are, hindi mo pa rin mapagkakait na nandoon pa rin ang Diyos,” he explained. 

Chuca noted how his comedy could be used to tell people about Catholic social teaching.

“This has the potential to catechize. This has the potential to teach people for example about the best-kept secrets of the church which is yung mga Catholic social teachings. This is a perfect example to bring, to make relevant the teachings of Christ and to just not talk about prayer but also to talk about social action.”

In the run-up to the May 2022 elections, Chuca actively engaged with his followers on Facebook to encourage them to use their Catholic faith to pick the best candidates to run the country.


But some are not fans of his politics—and are not even pleased with his comedy.

Since going viral on social media, Chuca has been accused of desecrating religious songs, insulting the Catholic Church, and being a bad influence on children.

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Since going viral on social media, Chuca has been accused of desecrating religious songs, insulting the Catholic Church, and being a bad influence on children.

Since going viral on social media, Chuca has been accused of desecrating religious songs, insulting the Catholic Church, and being a bad influence on children.

Since going viral on social media, Chuca has been accused of desecrating religious songs, insulting the Catholic Church, and being a bad influence on children.

Since going viral on social media, Chuca has been accused of desecrating religious songs, insulting the Catholic Church, and being a bad influence on children.

But how far can Catholic comedy go in terms of spreading laughs while spreading God’s word?


“Personally, I don’t have a problem with that,” Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ said when asked about Catholic comedy.

“Kasi sa totoo lang, ang ginagawa ni Romar, yun ang mga karanasan namin sa choir. Alam mo yung tipong, alam mong it’s those fun moments out, it’s not being done within the Mass. It’s done outside of the Mass,” he explained in a separate interview.

(What Romar is doing is depicting our experiences in the choir, our fun moments outside of the Mass.)

For Gonzales, host of "Kape't Pandasal" and himself a content creator, Chuca's videos humanize church workers.

“The thing is, people do not understand that serving in church is an experience of a lot of failures and a lot of comedies and humor,” Gonzales noted. “In fact, the late Fr. Pedro Arrupe would always say, if you want to serve, you must have some sense of humor,” he added.

“For example, kahit ang pari, andami na naming bloopers. Pero it humanizes the priest. Andami naming bloopers. Kahit ako, andami kong bloopers, tawanan kami nang tawanan, and you regard it like lively, because that’s exactly why serving is fun.”

(For example, even priests have a lot of bloopers. But it humanizes the priest. Even I have bloopers, and we just laugh about it. We are lively, because that's exactly why serving is fun.)

Fr. Cayo Estrada, former Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines, also agrees with Chuca’s statement that God is a God who laughs with us. 

He cites Matthew 17:24-27, where Jesus and his apostle Peter were questioned for not paying the Jewish Temple tax. 

“In order to avoid scandal, (Jesus says) throw your fish line. The first fish you catch, take it out, then you'll find a shekel for both you and me. And for me, that's a humorous way of doing things. He could have just simply said, ‘Well, I don't pay the temple tax, I'm God,’” Estrada said.

“Or he could have said, ‘Well, why not--so you have some money there, let's pay the temple tax now.’ But to do things in that way, for me, there's a sense of humor in it also.”

“You know, I think, the Christian faith is a faith of joy. It isn't a faith of anguish. Sometimes people would say na, if you want to be a good Catholic, na dapat malungkot ka. Sandali, hindi naman ganoon yun (Hold up, it's not supposed to be like that).”

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News
Fr. Cayo Estrada, former Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines, talks to ABS-CBN News on March 17, 2023. Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Gonzales and Estrada agree that Chuca’s brand of Catholic comedy cannot be considered sacrilege.

“When we define sacrilege, sacrilege means it is the misuse of something that is sacred,” Gonzales said.

“Sacrilege is about objects. Something that is sacred, vestments for example, binabastos yun, putting ecclesiastical vestments to secular use for example. Pero yung organ…yung piano, hindi naman siya kumbaga, not regarded as one of the sacred things,” he explained. 

“If you play around with a song, which even though, kasi even the songs that are sung in the mass, well, fine, they pertain to sacred things, but in themselves, they're not sacred things,” Estrada added. 

“I would not think it is a sin… Unless, really, there is real profanity. Blasphemy, profanity of sacred things, being insulting, lacking in charity. All that would be sinful. But simple things of this sort, at least, just in this context of Romar, for me, personally, I don’t find anything wrong with that,” he added.

Gonzales said comedic acts can be considered offensive when they are done within the Mass itself.

“Pambabastos kapag ginagawa niya ‘yun sa misa mismo…Kasi pag misa na (It's rude if it''s done while a Mass is going on, because in a Mass), it’s a context of prayer,” he said.

“Hindi mo ‘yun gagawin kapag nag-a-adoration ka, hindi mo ‘yan gagawin kapag nagbe-benediction ka. Hindi mo ‘yan gagawin kapag nagsisimula na yung buong liturgy,” he stressed.

(You shouldn't do it in the middle of adoration, benediction, or when the liturgy has started.)

“The Mass is a sacred gathering, a sacred celebration, and there are very specific liturgical rules as to how the mass has to be celebrated, and how it's conducted, and proper behavior,” Estrada added.


Estrada said he sees Catholic comedy playing an important role in attracting the youth to the Catholic faith in the years to come.

“I think that it can help to at least spark curiosity in them, and make them wonder, ano ba talaga ito?” he said.

“Yung naman nasa public school, kakaramihan sa kanila, wala katekista (Some public school students don't have catechists)… So maybe, many of them might be exposed to TikTok. So at least, 'pag naano nila, maybe it can start something in them, which the Holy Spirit makes use of, for them to find out more.”

He said it will be relevant to more than just the youth.

“In our culture, we really tend to be a funny people. Generally, kahit na may seryoso na bagay niyan, may lalabas na memes sa social media, nung looking at the funny side (of) something that might be serious. So it helps to also laugh at yourself, and not take things so seriously…because our faith is really supposed to be joyful and cheerful,” he added.

Chuca thinks Catholic comedy will prosper in the years to come.

“I think in terms of the Catholic comedy ministry, hindi malalaos yan. Kasi there is a want and there is a need for people to really feel the closeness of the Lord.”

“And I do not have a monopoly over Catholic comedy. Alam kong may mga ibang mga tao pang (There will be others)…who will catch on, who will also be as good or be even better. And I think that's how the grace of God works. Hindi lang sa akin ang Catholic comedy pero sige go! While I have the energy, while I have the chance, I strike while the iron is hot.”

The social media missionary said his ministry has borne some fruit—from 20,000 followers, he now has a about half a million followers across his Facebook and TikTok accounts.

His most touching moments are when followers say he has brought them closer to God.

“There are people who write to me and say na, 'Sir, dahil sa mga ginagawa n'yo po, parang, dahil natatawa ko, tapos na-miss ko yung kanta na tinutugtog n'yo (Because of what you did, I laughed, and I missed church songs). And then dahil doon, dahil na-miss nila, parang they have a longing again for God. And ang sinasabi ko, 'No, God is longing for you as well, and is very much open to welcome you back'.”

“I think yun yung mga fruits na parang people feel less alone, people feel less stressed. And I hope that they try to start and see God and become more aware of God in the surroundings that they have, na God is relatable, God is there, just right there, right beside you, in front of you, behind you, in you. He is trying to approach you and be friends with you,” he said.