Everytime Vice Ganda delivers a punchline during the new normal "Showtime," he feels unsure whether it will land because there's no live audience. There are also cameras without staff operating them, showing how the ABS-CBN shutdown cost thousands of jobs during the pandemic.
For the trailblazing host who is the secret to the noontime show's success, it was time to adapt or die.
"It's very hard to perform audience-less kasi walang reciprocation, hindi ko alam kung nakakatawa ba yung joke ko, havey ba siya? kasi walang pumapalakpak, walang tumatawa," he said during a Summit Sandwich Session on Tuesday.
Since the non-renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise last year, the network had to let go of many of its workers particularly those in TV production. These include people working in Showtime. From having 10 cameramen during an episode, Vice said there are only now five cameramen shooting the program. The show's producers and personnel also had to multi-task.
"Ang hirap gumawa ng TV program kasi kaunti na lang kami, kaunti na lang yung staff namin. Lumiit yung mga nagtatrabaho sa studio...'yun yung isa sa mga major struggles," he said, noting that it's no secret that the network had to let go of many of its workers.
How Vice adapted
Citing his training as a stand-up comedian, Vice said he was used to formulating his jokes and punchlines based on the audience he has and their reactions. But with the pandemic and the loss of ABS-CBN's franchise, Vice said he had to adapt.
"I have to learn different styles, I have to discover different ways in order to adapt because if you cannot adapt you will die," he said.
Nowadays, Vice said he always comes to Showtime prepared with a set of jokes and punchlines. If, before, he could just improvise jokes on the spot, Vice said he now formulates punchlines before he goes to bed.
"Ngayon, wala akong mapagkukunan, sarili ko lang, so I need to come to the studio prepared, equipped, and able to deliver," he said.
"Unlike dati, alam ko kung okay yung binitawan kong punchline or hindi kasi yung reaction, doon ako nagbe-base. It also stirs my energy and enthusiasm, it triggers me. Ngayon, wala akong material, wala akong mapagkunan," he said.
For fellow artists who are struggling to work in the new normal, Vice said there is no other choice but to learn to adapt.
"The best thing to do is to learn to adapt and figure out, and think of different ways not just survive but thrive," he said.
"I don't want to just survive, I will thrive."