Even Comedy Can Be A Serious Job!
Comedian and actor Victor Anastacio seemed to have mastered the art of Pinoy humor. In this parenTeam article, Victor shares about how his parents let him explore his gifts and how together, they nurtured it to be a part of is infectious personality.
PLAYING: Even Comedy Can Be A Serious Job!
How parents can support their child's (unpopular) passion
Comedian and actor Victor Anastacio seemed to have mastered the art of Pinoy humor. Inciting heartfelt laughter from his audiences wherever he appears in. May it be from his standup shows or via his podcast, “Sabayan with Victor”, or from his YouTube vlogs – Victor shares anecdotes and slice of life observations peppered with his innate sense of comedy. And it’s always a hoot and a holler. But where did this come from? In this parenTeam article, Victor shares about how his parents let him explore his gifts and how together, they nurtured it to be a part of is infectious personality.
Growing up Victor
It’s understandable that parents only want their children to have secure and stable jobs. As a parent, how would you react when your child tells you that she wants to pursue her passion? Something perceived as impractical, unconventional, or risky? I hope my story as a professional comedian can spotlight how an unconventional career can have a nice punchline for everyone at the end.
Even as a kid, I knew I was the funny one. I enjoyed getting attention for being lively and funny. My parents let me host the giving of gifts at our Christmas parties, and encouraged my interest in joining elocution contests in school. My parents always guided me with wise words like my mom’s: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, don’t feel shy or ashamed.”
However, much as I enjoyed performing on stage throughout grade school and high school, I viewed these as how they are labeled: extra-curricular activities. “Extra,” as in non-essential, just add-ons to the serious business of academics and preparing for a serious job in the future. Which led me to enroll in my college course, BS Management Honors. My parents are both doctors, but my dad also co-owns a hospital, so he has a business side. And, based on my choice, of course, I wanted to explore mine too.
Still, I was the funny classmate. When a cable TV station held a stand-up comedy contest, I was invited by my friend. I won that contest, and I wish I could say that the rest was history. But even though I won a nice cash prize from that contest, and was earning some money doing comedy gigs after school, I still treated it as an extra-curricular activity. And like in my other activities, my parents were supportive and frequently watched my comedy shows.
The Wonder Years
I spent two years in two corporate jobs, earning stable starting incomes. But I never stopped doing comedy, and I loved doing that more than my day jobs. This is the tricky part for parents because I never really asked for advice from my parents on whether I should pursue my passion or not. I just resigned one day and informed them afterward.
But it wasn’t all laughs after I quit my corporate job. I had to be constantly thinking of, writing and testing jokes onstage. Sometimes there were no people at the venue to test jokes on in the first place.
Even our paid shows had very little attendance, and our share of the tickets-- let’s put it this way-- all of the bills we were paid with were pink and orange. But the worst feeling was when shows were full of people, and the audience didn’t laugh at my jokes. I had to swallow my pride and accept that this is a serious job. Comedy isn’t all fun and games. More than talent, it requires skill and strategic planning to make it a career.
I can say that after many years of patience, dedication, and hardwork, I’ve somehow built my career to become more stable. I keep learning and improving so that when opportunities for TV shows, movies, and commercials come up, I’m ready to perform and deliver.
And of course, I stay dedicated to my calling as a stand-up comedian. Although I’ve said that this is a serious job, it’s more than just that. I remember a message sent by my college batchmate. She said that when she was going through a difficult time, she watched our Comedy Manila shows, and laughter helped her. I and my fellow comedians still get messages like this to this day. And honestly, it’s a huge factor why we continue doing what we do.
Looking back, I can’t really say my parents influenced nor discouraged me to pursue my career in comedy. In my experience, it’s true that parents really can’t control the career choices of their children. But what I’ve realized is that financial stability, intelligence, and independence, have less to do with career choice, than the soft skills that one learns from teachers, peers, and of course, parents.
Although I never asked my parents for specific career advice, what helped me is all the soft skills and values that they taught me ever since I was a kid. The importance of saving, living below my means, and then treating myself when I can, are all ingrained within me. My mom’s advice of always playing fair and being ethical, and my dad’s counsel to always be humble and always be learning, all help me in my career now.
Like crafting a good joke for a crowd, I think parents should relay soft skills and values to their children in a relatable and memorable manner. This way, no matter what twists and turns their children take in their career, everyone can enjoy a comforting laugh when it pays off.
About The Writer
Victor Anastacio is a writer, host and comedian. He has appeared in various TV shows, commercials, online videos and is a part of the acclaimed humor group – Comedy Manila.
He too currently hosts a podcast called “Sabayan with Victor”.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.