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Straight from the 'horse's' mouth

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Vice Ganda with Vilma Santos on the set of Star Cinema’s In My Life in Central Park in New YorkFUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
July 23, 2009 12:00 AM 

If stand-up comedian Vice Ganda were indeed a horse — as he would always put it in his comic routine — he would be the most talented (and funniest) horse in the Sta. Ana Racetrack.

“And definitely the most beautiful,” said Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre (of The Filipino Reporter) who interviewed Vice at the Central Park set of Star Cinema’s In My Life.

According to Edmund, Vice (Jomari Viceral in real life), a certified crowd drawer in Manila’s most famous comedy bars, became familiar among The Filipino Channel (TFC) subscribers when he played with aplomb the role of a magical mirror (Salaminsim) in the hit Dyosa (the ABS-CBN fantaserye topbilled by Anne Curtis) and that of a pimp (Tita Ganda) in the action-drama series Pieta (starring Ryan Agoncillo). He was also seen in Ligaw na Bulaklak, Kokey and Maging Sino Ka Man Book 2. He later gave a riveting performance portraying himself in his life story in the top-rated drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK).

In In My Life, Vice will lend support to Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano and John Lloyd Cruz. Directed by Olivia Lamasan, the film is almost a sure-fire hit when it hits theaters across the Philippines and overseas in September.

“It could further boost Vice’s star power and place him in the ranks of Pokwang, Chokoleit and Pooh as TFC’s most-sought-after comics,” predicted Edmund.

But for many of his fans, Vice is in a league of his own. Even without a script, he’s tremendously witty and clever on (and off) stage, and comes across as somewhat sophisticated even when blurting out expletives in his gigs. He’s at his best when it’s spontaneous and hardly struggles for comeback quips.

Edmund talked to Vice during a break in the shoot.

“We couldn’t help but laugh out loud as he turned our chat into a mini-comedy show, with his In My Life co-stars Rafael Rosell and Nikki Valdez among the amused audience. Halfway through the interview we had to beg Vice to get serious since direk Olive would soon be needing him for his take.”

“O sige, hindi na, hindi na... serious na,” he said, in between bites of the famous New York hotdog and soda.

So how is it working with Gov. Vilma Santos?

“It’s amaaaazing!” he said. “Hello, it’s Vilma Santos kaya it’s really amaaaazing.”

Since it was his first time in New York, and in a project with Vilma at that, wasn’t Vice intimidated?

“No. I’m really excited. Ang ganda ng New York! It becomes even more exciting if you’re in a project, tapos ang kasama mo mga bonggang tao. Feeling ko nga, magka-level kami at pare-pareho ng status,” Vice laughed. “Seriously, they are all nice at sobrang maganda ang samahan namin sa set,” he added, turning to Edmund, “Mas nai-intimidate nga ako sa iyo, eh.”

Told by Edmund that there’s no stopping him from becoming more successful, Vice said, “What’s more important is that I’m enjoying my job. As of now, I really consider myself successful because I’m happy. That’s my gauge of success. Pag hindi na ako masaya, hindi na ako successful.”

In MMK, people saw the other side of Vice — his identity crisis as a young boy, his struggle to win his father’s approval, and even his determination to fight discrimination through his talent, faith and hard work. Is his life really that sad?

“Everybody has a sad experience. But I have more happy moments. Balanced naman ang buhay ko, hindi puro lungkot lang.”

When asked what else makes him happy aside from a booming career, Vice turned to a clueless Rafael and asked, “Raffy, i-a-announce na ba natin ang tungkol sa ‘tin?” Everyone burst into laughter, Rafael included.

“Wala pang go-signal si Raffy kaya I’d rather not talk,” he said, adding with a poker face, “Actually, si Raffy ang present ko, si Luis ang ex ko and si John Lloyd, hanggang friends lang talaga kami.”

Asked if he and John Lloyd were getting closer, Vice joked, “Oo naman. Pinansin niya ako kanina, eh. Ewan ko lang bukas.”

So after In My Life, what?

“I was told na isasama raw ako sa isang project ni direk Wenn (Deramas). Horror yata, eh,” again turning to Edmund, “kasama ka nga raw. Actually, after New York, tutuloy ako ng L.A. May movie ako with Brad Pitt. Tapos go ako sa San Francisco; may shooting ako with Angelina Jolie.”

Before direk Olive called Vice for a take, Edmund said that he asked Vice if he’s aware of his growing popularity.

“Ay, hindi ko alam, walang nagbalita sa akin niyan,” Vice remarked. “Wala pang press release ang ABS or Star Cinema tungkol diyan. Aalamin ko muna tapos balik ka na lang, ha.”

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