The multi-talented Beethoven Michael del Valle Bunagan, also known as Michael V. or “Bitoy,” believes the relevance of comedy doesn’t fade.
“Filipinos love to laugh,” he told Bulletin Entertainment in a recent interview. “Generally, we are light-hearted people. You can’t remove the humor in the Filipino because it’s part of who we are.”
On how he stays effective all these years, Bitoy said he always just “plays for truth.”
“I learned that from director Bobot Mortiz, that you always have to put yourself in the situation of the sketch. Like what would you actually do if such a thing happens to you in real life.”
Solid as a rock
He said their goal in the last 23 years has always been to deliver world-class and extraordinary entertainment to Filipino viewers.
He credits the success of the show to “teamwork.”
“And we also evolve and go with the flow as the year changes. We are never left behind,” Bitoy added.
“Bubble Gang” mainstay Paolo Contis said Bitoy is one of the forces behind the show’s success.
“It is because of his comic genius that can adapt wherever, whenever,” he related. “Also, he’s a team player while being a good leader in that he listens to everyone.”
Note that Bitoy serves as one of show’s two longest staying cast members from the original batch.
Asked to describe the relationship among the cast members, Paolo said they are like family.
Director Bert de Leon lauded the group for having “camaraderie.”
“No one is trying to outdo the other,” he said. “Everybody tries to support each other. They have their respective moments to showcase talent.”
Bitoy said that through the years, local audiences have shown appreciation for the evolution of the humor on the show.
He admitted, though, that it is harder now to make the viewers laugh than before.
“They’ve become more critical, particularly because of social media. So they notice even the smallest things, they are more sensitive, and there are lots of restrictions.”
When there is scarcity of gags or sketches, he surrounds himself with people known to contribute fresh ideas.
“Because, really, no one can do the whole script by himself,” he explained. “On top of that, I believe the reason we are called ‘Bubble Gang’ is that we are a group, a team so we act as one.”
Who among Kapuso artists does he want to get as guest on the show?
“I want to have AlDub (Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza) from time to time. Prior, they had a segment here but that was the time they were promoting (a project). Since then I’ve been hoping for their return,” he said.
In celebrating its 23rd anniversary, “Bubble Gang” will present a narrative uniquely intertwining the show’s popular segment forms – talk, interview, musical parody, sketches, commercial spoof, and gag dubbed “Bente Tres Oras.”
This year’s telemovie special tells the adventures of Bea Bangenge (Bitoy) and Toto Batoto (Antonio Aquitania) as they embark on a journey to find a WiFi connection. On their trip, they will meet famous “Bubble Gang” characters Antonietta, Don Cantoni, Mr. Assimo, Tata Kino, the Balitang Ina hosts, Lebrown James, and many more.
Asked what else does he aspire for the show, Bitoy turned thoughtful.
“There are still a lot of things. One is a full-fledged film. And last year, we tried a musical with ‘Parokya Bentes Dos.’ This time, I want to do another musical but featuring all-original songs.”
The rest of the “Bubble Gang” cast are Paolo, Antonio, Betong Sumaya, Sef Cadayona, Boy 2 Quizon, Mikoy Morales, Jak Roberto, Archie Alemania, Juancho Trivino, James Macasero, Roadfill, Diego Llorico, Chariz Solomon, Kim Domingo, Andrea Torres, Valeen Montenegro, Jackie Rice, Denise Barbacena, Lovely Abela, Analyn Barro, Arra San Agustin, Arny Ross, and Myka.
(S.M. Bernardino, mb.com)