Director, composer, and actor—newbie Valentin Naguit’s worn plenty of hats. He’s directed some of the funniest commercials that you’ve seen for TV. He’s made the music videos of stars like Karylle possible. But one role that he might relish for a while is to be the silly guy: breathing smiles and lots of laughs into his work. One could almost say that he exemplifies the oft-quoted Filipino attitude of trip lang: whether it be singing in the shower for a Mother’s Day tribute, or playing his arguably most famous role yet: Mr. Payong.
Why comedy, out of all things?
Pinakamalapit yun sa puso ko eh, bilang isang human being. I’m really just a happy person in general. But I do have my emo moments, syempre, as you grow older, you grow wiser; may picture ka ng ideal world but it doesn’t really turn out that way. So I decided to start laughing at the world instead.
So what was your earliest experience of laughing at the world?
Dati, nung minsan-minsan lang nagho-host ako ng party para sa pamilya ko. I discovered little by little as I hosted events that I could really make people laugh! I guess yun yung naging driving force ko behind comedy. I just thought to myself: this makes me happy, and other people happy. I should look into this!
But surely there are moments when it’s difficult to get people to laugh?
It’s always a struggle to make people laugh, but with practice it gets better. As a person, I’m always the hyper one—galaw nang galaw—by default. Di ako mapakali. I translate that into comedy. There are many schools of comedy, and you need to pick a good time to choose which one to follow for a scene.
How do you distinguish between different kinds of humor?
You have to genuinely be funny for a scene. For example, I have a difficult time when the scene calls for a deadpan delivery of the line, dahil yung line na nga mismo funny na. If I try to exaggerate that, it loses the humor, but I’m studying that. I consider Ramon Bautista as a role model when it comes to humor. I try to look at different comedians, and see what I can learn from their comedic styles that I can add to my own. Comedy is surprisingly deep. I honestly think that it’s easier to make people cry than to laugh.
In your experience, what makes a funny scene funny?
The King of Comedy once said: wag kang magpatawa. Ironic, noh? But I think that’s the essence of it. If the comedy is already funny, wag mong ipilit. Don’t get your audience irritated or annoyed at you. I would ask my director what the scene needs, and it’s really a balance between what he or she needs and what kind of humor you think is required. The directors give us a lot of slack to explore, and when it comes to blocking, I can already sense what the director needs out of a scene.
You’ve played plenty of characters so far—what do you think of them?
Characters evolve. Especially in an ongoing TV series, it’s often written on the fly, so the characters change and I get to understand them better. I’m appearing in a Filipinized version of the Korean drama My Love From The Star. I play Detective Park, an investigator. So medyo malayo na yung roles—kusinero ako sa Tsuper Hero, at ngayon detective na ako. I’m excited because this is a new experience for me. This is my second regular project from GMA that isn’t a sitcom. The character of Detective Park isn’t funny all the time; he also has his moments of seriousness, which I haven’t done before.
What do you want to say to aspiring comedians—or people who just want to make others laugh?
Kailangan nilang matutong pagtawanan ang sarili nila. They need to learn to laugh at things that make them cry, even though it might be hard. The lesson here is to never take yourself seriously. Take your job seriously; sure, but never take yourself seriously. And don’t try to make people laugh if you aren’t happy! That shows up in your work. Comedians can be emotional as well, they cry, and maybe even much harder than other people. Explore, and make the world smile. Enjoy life! The King of Comedy once said: Wag kang magpatawa. Ironic, noh? But I think that's the essence of it. If the comedy is already funny, wag mong ipilit.
Photography Dairy Darilag Makeup Marie Tan Hair Mong Amado Styling Debra Bernales
This story originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of FHM Philippines
Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.
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