Movies & TV

Nakakatawa! These Filipino Comedians Made Generations Laugh

These 34 Pinoy comedians have already passed away, but their memorable antics will remain forever.
IMAGE PEP.PH/IMDB
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The country never runs out of Filipino comedians.

This should come as no surprise since the Philippines was named the 69th in the latest World Happiness Report by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network—up by two notches from the previous year.

In early March this year, a poster of a digital comic titled Comedians Reborn circulated social media. The art instantly became viral and its artist, Alan Czar Santos, was interviewed by several news outfits.

“This comic/work is to honor and to give tribute to those talented, astonishingly funny and brilliant late comedians who made us laugh, who we grew up watching over and over again. They brought us so much laughter, joy, and made such a big impact [on] our childhood lives. Their jokes will always be missed and now their legacy continues,” Santos said.

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IMAGE: Alan Czar Santos

The charm of old-school Pinoy comedians

Any list of the most popular Filipino comedians wouldn’t be complete without Dolphy, who is also known as the country’s Comedy King. He starred in several sitcoms doing slapstick comedy and influenced several other comedians throughout his extensive years in the industry.

Characterized by exaggerated physical movements, absurd dialogues, and mild comic violence, slapstick comedy was the name of the game when it comes to comedy shows of mainstream television and cinema about five to six decades ago.

Santos’ artwork featured 43 comedians who have passed away. From left to right, top row to bottom, here are some of the best Filipino comedians of all time:

1| Bentong

Bentong became known for his roles in Home Along da Riles da Movie (1993) and Luv U (TV Series). He was also a regular fixture on noontime shows such as MTB (Magandang Tanghali Bayan), Wowowin, and Wowowee.

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Bentong’s real name was Domingo Vusotros Brotamante Jr. He was born in 1964 and died just this year at the age of 55.

2| Soxie Topacio

Apart from being one of the best Filipino comedians, Soxie Topacio was also a director and an actor. He has a long filmography under his belt, but perhaps his most notable work was Ded na si Lolo (2009), a film that hilariously discusses the Pinoys’ ridiculous compliance with superstitious beliefs.

Topacio died in 2017 at 65 years old.

3| Ike Lozada

Also fondly called “Kuya Ike” or “Iking,” Enrique "Big Ike" Lozada became known for his roles in Hatulan Bilibid Boys 2 (1995), Three for the Road (1970) and Agent Playboy, Alyas Jeproks (1978). He passed away in 1995 at 55 years old.

4| Chokoleit

We came to know Chokoleit as one of the best Filipino comedians through his role in Marina, a popular fantasy series aired in 2004. He played the role of Pearly, the gay shokoy and slave of Dugong, the show’s antagonist.

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Chokoleit, or Jonathan Aguilar Garcia in real life, recently died this year after experiencing difficulty in breathing during a live performance in Abra. He was only 49 years old.

5| Blakdyak

Blakdyak is one of those Filipino comedians who did more than just make people laugh.

He was also known as "The King of Pinoy Reggae," and released four reggae albums from 1997 to 2007. As well, he worked as an actor and filmed eight movies throughout his career.

Known as Joseph Amoto Formaran in real life, Blakdyak died in 2016 at the young age of 47.

6| Mang Tomas

Tommy Angeles was part of the regular cast in Dolphy’s sitcom Home Along da Riles. He played the role of Mang Tomas, the owner of the sari-sari store located right in front of the Kosme residence.

He also played roles in Halina Neneng Ko (1969), Maskulado (1965), and Mardy (1969).

7| Pipoy

Hilarion "Larry" Cuenca Silva or Larry Silva in real life, Pipoy was an amateur boxer, comedian, and actor. He played roles in Sa Kamay ng Mga Kilabot (1965), Alla Ricerca Dell'impero Sepolto (1987), and Spy Hunt (1970). He also starred in several commercials in the ‘80s.

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Pipoy died in 2004 at 67 years old.

8| Bernardo Bernardo

Bernardo Bernardo’s filmography is perhaps the longest among all the Filipino comedians’ on this list. He was a veteran actor and film director and had won awards for his work in the cinema. His portrayal of Manay in Ishmael Bernal’s Manila By Night, for one, won him the Urian Best Actor award.

Bernardo also played the role of Steve in Home Along da Riles, one of the antagonists of the show. He died in 2018 at the age of 73.

9 and 10| Porky and Choppy of PorkChop Duo

The PorkChop Duo was a stand-up comedy pair composed of Renato “Porky” Gomez and Romeo "Choppy" Vargas. They did a lot of stand-up comedy shows in more than 30 countries abroad and were particularly famous among overseas Filipino workers.

11| Bert "Tawa" Marcelo

Norberto Joya Marcelo got his screen name “Tawa” because of his characteristic laughter. He became famous after a series of San Miguel beer commercials in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He passed away in 1995 at 59 years old.

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12| Tintoy

Tintoy, or Enrique Arcega in real life, was an actor, director, and comedian. He was best known for his works Si Gorio at ang Damong Ligaw (1979), Tacio (1981) and Balandra Crossing (1987).

13| Dencio Padilla

Dencio Padilla is the father of Filipino actor Dennis Padilla and grandfather of actress Julia Barretto and Claudia Barretto. He also worked as an actor and played roles in Kahit Konting Pagtingin (1990), Ito ang Maynila (1963) and Tatak ng Yakuza (1983).

He died in 1997 at 69 years old.

14| Yoyoy Villame

Known as Roman Tesorio Villame in real life, Yoyoy was known for composing novelty songs with catchy tunes but senseless lyrics. One of his most popular compositions was Butsekik, a song with Chinese-sounding gibberish. Butsekik became so popular that some radio stations still play it until today.

Yoyoy died in 2007 at the age of 75.

15| Richie D' Horsie

Richie D' Horsie rose to fame in the late ‘70s as a sidekick of the TVJ trio (Tito, Vic, and Joey). He is well known for his participation in Iskul Bukol, Eat Bulaga, and T.O.D.A.S.: Totally Outrageous Delightful All-Star Show.

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Known as Ricardo Reyes in real life, Richie D' Horsie was implicated in the Pepsi Paloma rape case along with the TVJ trio. He died in 2015 at 58 years old.

16| Tado

Tado became known through the TV series Strangebrew and the U92 radio program The BrewRATs!

Tado, or Arvin Jimenez in real life, died at the young age of 40 in a bus accident in 2014. He was heading to Bontoc in Mt. Province.

17| Palito

Among Filipino comedians, Palito was a slapstick expert who frequently appeared on-screen with Comedy King Dolphy. He was known for his roles in Home Alone da Riber (2002), Hataw Tatay Hataw (1994), and James Bone Agent 001 (1986).

Reynaldo Alfredo Hipolito in real life, Palito got his screen name from referencing his extremely thin body shape to a "palito" or matchstick in English. He died in 2010 at 77.

18| Sammy Lagmay

Sammy Lagmay appeared in several sitcoms and movies, including Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure (1996), Bala at Lipistik (1994), and Alyas Totoy: Kamay Na Bakal Ng WPD (1994). He died in 2013 at the age of 58.

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19| Redford White

Redford White became famous for his albinism, which often became the point of his comedic ridicule. He was also an actor and appeared on several movies and TV series, such as Rambo Tanggo Part III (1984), Kokey (2007) and Sikreto Ini (1984).

Called Cipriano Cermeño II in real life, Redford White died of cancer in 2010. He was 55 years old.

20| Cachupoy

Like many Filipino comedians on the list, Cachupoy, or Salvador Garcia Tampac in real life, was also an actor. Some of the titles he became part of were Agents Silencer at Ang Pitong Brassieres (1970), Erap Is My Guy (1973) and Rangers in the Wrong War (1987).

Cachupoy always had his hair parted in the middle, hence his screen name. He died in 2008 when he was 76 years old.

21| German Moreno

German Molina Moreno or “Kuya Germs” was one of the most successful Filipino comedians in the country. From working odd jobs such as selling peanuts, becoming a jeepney barker, and working as a janitor, Moreno worked his way up the entertainment industry by pursuing a career path in comedy.

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During the latter part of his career, he was known as a gracious talent manager to upcoming young artists. He also hosted the country’s longest-running late night variety show, Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman (1997 to 2016).

Moreno lived a long life of 83 years and passed away in 2016.

22| Joy Viado

Known for the snarky expression on her face, Teresita Joy De Leon-Viado was one of the most popular Filipino comedians who thrived until the 2000s. She also had experience as an actor and even starred in an indie film MNL 143 in 2012. She died in 2016 due to a heart attack. She was 57 years old.

23| Miss Tapia

Miss Tapia was the iconic surly school teacher in the popular television series Iskul Bukol, which aired from 1977 until 1990.

Played by Abimaela “Mely” Palomo Tagasa, the character of Miss Tapia stuck with the audiences that she decided to adopt it as her screen name. Tagasa died in 2018 at 83 years old. She was also an actress, screenwriter, and dubbing producer.

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24| Tiya Pusit

Played by Myrna Villanueva in real life, Tiya Pusit was also a character from the popular ‘80s sitcom Eh, Kasi Babae. Like Miss Tapia, she decided to use Tiya Pusit for professional purposes, because of the incredible name recall it created.

Tiya Pusit was also an actress and appeared in several movies including Pakners (2003), Hulihin si... Nardong Toothpick (1990), and Kamandag (2007). She died in 2014 due to multiple organ failure.

25| Rene Requiestas

Rene Requiestas became famous for his sidekick roles and slapstick performance, which was almost always brought upon by his toothless appearance. Also an actor and a writer, he worked in several movies including Cheeta-eh: Ganda Lalake? (1991), Alyas Batman en Robin (1991), and Elvis & James (1989).

Requiestas died in 1993. He was only 36 years old.

26| Babalu

Babalu has one of those faces you wouldn’t easily forget. His long chin is the defining quality, hence his screen name which came from “baba,” which means chin in English.

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Pablito Sarmiento in real life, Babalu was known to be discovered by Comedy King Dolphy. He then played roles in Home Along Da Riles and Oki Doki Doc. He died in 1998 at the age of 56.

27| Chiquito

Chiquito’s real name was Augusto Valdes Pangan, Sr. He is known for his roles in Servillano Zapata (1970), James Bondat (1970) and Ponso Villa and the Sexy Mexicanas (1969). He died in 1997 at 65 years old.

28| Carding

Ricardo “Carding” Castro was part of the comedic singing duo The Reycard Duet, along with Rey Ramirez. He died at 68 years old in 2003.

29| Panchito Alba

Like many other Filipino comedians, Panchito Alba stood out because of a prominent physical characteristic that often became the point of ridicule: his big nose.

Born Alfonso Discher Tagle Sr. in 1925, Panchito Alba was a FAMAS-award-winning actor. Some of his works include Lupang Kayumanggi (1955), Alyas Batman en Robin (1991) and Kalabog en Bosyo Strike Again (1986).

Panchito often appeared on-screen with Dolphy, who also happened to be his real-life best friend.

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30| Dolphy

Dolphy, or Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life, needs no introduction. Though he already passed away six years ago, his name is still carried by his junior Filipino comedians with utmost respect and admiration.

Dolphy starred in a long list of movies and television series, but some of perhaps his most popular works include Espadang Patpat (1990), Markova: Comfort Gay (2000) and John and Marsha (1974).

The country’s Comedy King lived a long life and passed away in 2012 when he was 84 years old.

31| Elizabeth Ramsey

Elizabeth Ramsey’s defining comedic trait was  her Visayan-accented dialogues. She is also known as the country's "Queen of Rock and Roll" and "Original Queen of Comedy." She died in 2015 at 84 years old.

32| Zorayda

Zorayda Sanchez rose to fame in the ‘80s, particularly from the sitcom Goin Bananas. Apart from being a comedian, she was also an actress and became known for her roles in Petrang Kabayo at Ang Pilyang Kuting (1988), Petrang Kabayo 2: Anong Ganda Mo! Mukha Kang Kabayo (1990) and Takot Ako, Eh! (1987)

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Zorayda died in 2008, at the age of 57.

33| Ben Tisoy

One thing that distinguished Benjamin Sanchez, or more popularly known as Ben Tisoy, while watching him among other Filipino comedians were the characteristic hand movements he did every time he delivered his lines.

His stage name was an ironic use of the slang term “Tisoy.” While it means “mestizo,” or one who is characterized by a fair skin complexion, Ben Tisoy is dark-skinned. Ben Tisoy appeared in Dongalo Massacre (1988), Si Prinsipe Abante at Ang Lihim ng Ibong Adarna (1990), and Ninja Kids and the Samurai Sword (1986).

34| Ungga

“Ungga” is short for “unggoy” or monkey. The nickname first appeared in Starzan III: The Jungle Triangle, according to Pep.ph.

Known as Noel Ayala in real life, Ungga also appeared as an actor in several movies including Long Ranger and Tonton: Shooting Stars of the West (1989),Si Prinsipe Abante at Ang Lihim ng Ibong Adarna (1990), and Super Mouse and the Roborats (1989).

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Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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