When I was ten and in Grade Four at Tenement Elementary School in Taguig City, I was cast to play an old man in my first school play. All you have to do is act like your grandfather and deliver your line, the director said. However, when I was on stage, I decided to put a little spin on my character. I put on the voice of an old man and exaggerated the dialogue. To my surprise, everyone in the audience, including the director, laughed. I've been cast as an old man several more times in my high school and college years. I'm not sure if it was because I looked old even back then or if it was the only fitting role for me.
My real name is Beethoven del Valle Bunagan. My father named me after the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, not because we shared almost the same birth date - mine's December 17, 1969; his December 16, 199 years earlier – but because my father saw a copy of Beethoven's record in his boss's office and didn't know that Beethoven was a surname. My stage name is derived from two performers I admire: Michael Jackson and Filipino singer Gary V.
I've always wanted to be in show business. I joined a lot of talent shows on TV when I was a teenager. I never made it very far, but that did not deter me from my dream. I started composing songs, making faces, and doing impersonations. Having grown up in a public housing centre, I was exposed to different types of people - young and old. I spent most of my free time trying to impersonate some of my more colourful neighbours.
My big break came when my rap song ''Maganda ang Piliin Mo'' (''Look for someone beautiful'') - a tongue-in-cheek response to Andrew E's ''Humanap ka ng Panget'' (''Find an ugly lover'') – became a hit in 1991. I was offered a job as a rapper on the variety show Ready, Get Set, Go! in the same year. I performed for more than a year and while it was fun, I realised I still preferred making people laugh. So I asked to be included in the joke segment of the show. I even told the producers I'd do it for free. They agreed, and so began my professional career as a comedian.
I can never forget my first movie role; I was an extra. In the scene, I was to be circumcised. It's not that I'm unfamiliar with the procedure, but we had such difficulty completing the scene. Whenever my fellow actor attempted to ''circumcise'' me, I would make funny noises and everyone would crack up.
I've been on Bubble Gang, the longest-running sketch comedy TV show in the Philippines, for 13 years now. I play at least 30 characters on the show including, of course, an old man.
Some people wonder how I can get into the different characters' heads so easily. The make-up and costumes help a lot. Once I see myself in costume in front of the mirror, I can easily transform into the person I need to be. Having said that, there's always a bold line that separates the real me from the characters that I play so when people ask me if I'm scared that I won't be able to get back to the real me, I just laugh. I mean, I don't go around in ladies' dresses when I'm with my kids at a mall.
Making people laugh takes a lot of passion and perseverance, but it's something I love doing. As my mentor – the late Jay Ilagan of the popular show Goin' Bananas – would often say, comedy is serious business.
Michael V has won three Best Comedy Performance by an Actor awards at the Asian Television Awards.
|Karla Hortaleza on 13 November 2011 ,15:23 |
Hey Mr. Beethoven. :) I was thinking if you used that name as your screen name, maybe people may think it as a joke already. I admire how you deliver your lines and construct your jokes. I hope someday, destiny will make us meet. ;) thanks for the info, idol.
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