MTRCB Chairman Toto Villareal says they were able to tackle solutions with regards to the prevalence of comedy bar humor on television.
MTRCB Chair Toto Villareal clarified that the regulatory board's recent meeting with ABS-CBN executives and Vice Ganda was not a hearing but a "developmental conference" not only to address the issue on the migration of the so-called "comedy bar humor" to television, but also to discuss ways on how to improve the quality and creativity of entertainment shows. Separate meetings with representatives from the two other networks were also scheduled.
"Sa munti naming kaalaman, yung type of comedy nakaugat sa tinatawag na okrayan—may green jokes at normally meant for an intimate kind of audience. Interested kami ang form of entertainment ay age appropriate para sa ating pinangangalagaan na audience. May entertainment na okay lang makita ng 16 years old pero 'di pwede makita ng 13 years old. Sa TV hanggang SPG lang. Gusto namin marinig ang punto de vista mula sa industriya kaya nagkaroon ng maituturing na friendly round table discussion. Sinabi namin sa kinauukulan na dapat manatili ang ating pagiging malikhain," Chairman Villareal explained.
Villareal further explained that MTRCB's efforts are all mandated by laws that support gender sensitivity rights among others. As it is, Vice Ganda's controversial "weight and rape jokes" during his May 17 concert supposedly raised concerns about the prevalence of comedy bar humor on TV, which has a broader audience. "Medyo nagiba ang legal atmosphere ngayon. Nandiyan na ang Magna Carta of Women, Magna Carta protecting the disabled, child abuse law, ang broadcast 'pag may exploitation ng kahit ano mang gender pwede ma-link sa trafficking, offending religious feelings etc. Batas na mismo ang may epekto sa mga palabas lalo na kung ang type of comedy ay okrayan. So isa sa mga punto ay how can we come up with something na hindi ma-stifle ang mga comedians dahil part ng buhay sa entertainment ay matawa tayo. Pero hindi ba ironic na may lalabas sa isang show o may nakapanood sa TV na lalabas po dahil siya ay nalungkot dahil siya ang napuruhan sa matinding biro? So inisip namin kung ano ang balanse na we'll be able to achieve."
One of the solutions that was discussed during the said developmental conference was to put up an "academy of comedy." Villareal was quick to clarify though that he wasn't necessarily referring to a school, but an in-house venue or mechanism within each TV network. "Ang academy baka nabigla kayo pero ang ibig sabihin niya, ako mismo nag-suggest sa kinauukulan, bakit hindi in-house sa isang network na bubuo tayo ng isang venue kung saan pwede mapagusapan na may type of comedy na ide-develop kung saan isasa-alang-alang itong points tungkol sa gender sensitivity. Ito ay development of best practices in the industry. Sino pa maganda mamuno kundi directors, writers, or comedians mismo. Naniwala ako at ang MTRCB sa empowerment at self-regulation."
Asked if it's true that Vice is being considered to lead such an endeavor, Villareal actually encouraged all members of the industry to participate as well. "Lahat po ng komedyante ay tinatawag towards responsible comedy. Whether Mr. Viceral (Vice Ganda's real name) or some other, welcome po 'yan. Hindi tayo magpapatali na MTRCB lang or isang network lang [ang magtataguyod nito]. Isip tayo ng paraan kung paano mapaunlad ang industry at kung paano mapayabong ang creativity lalo na sa ating entertainment programs.