Gags. Gigs. Yayas.

Tim Tayag is a stand-up comedian and a pioneer of stand-up comedy in the Philippines. He has performed all over the globe from the U.S. to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and of course, the Philippines. His groundbreaking comedy troupe, the Comedy Cartel, is a regular fixture of the local stand-up scene and a breeding ground for the best Filipino stand-up comics.

When and how did you get into stand-up?

I got my stand-up chops in San Francisco, California back in 1997. When I first started doing stand-up in the Philippines, nobody was doing it yet. This was back in 2002 or so. There was stand-up but it was more of the gay drag queen singing variety. Over the decades, the observational style has grown and is now more widely accepted, although it’s still not mainstream.

I’m 42 now, married with kids. It’s all been downhill for me.

Why stand-up?

I had no other talent to speak of. Plus, I’m not half-white like you so the matinee idol route was not open to me.

What do people respond to the most?

Pain. Any kind of pain is relatable. Right now, it’s the pain of being a husband and a father. Most can relate to not getting laid without paying for it. I’m joking. I never pay for it. My friends pay for me. Then I pay them back. I’m kidding again. I have no friends.

high-blood-bayawYou’re responsible for the hilarious and viral “Yaya Texts”. What’s the story behind this?

The Yaya Texts were inspired by actual texts from my yayas. So it’s really an amalgam of funny texts, conversations, grocery lists, and other hilarious events that happened to me and to other people who have shared their stories with me.

Does your humor work in other countries?

So far yes. Though I haven’t done comedy in Germany, Russia, and North Korea.

What is a line you will not cross?

The DMZ line between South and North Korea. Seriously, I try not to talk about politics too much and terminal illnesses or physical deformities. Unless it’s my own deformity like my huge… ears. Thank God my head grew big to take away the attention from my ears.

Who are your favorite comedians (foreign and local) and why?

My favorite comedians right now are Hannibal Burress and Gary Gulman. But of course, I got into comedy because of Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Brian Regan, Dave Attell, and the rest.

Why are some people naturally funny in person but would never make a great stand-up act?

It’s different when you make your friends laugh and when people pay to see if you can make them laugh. When money is involved, dynamics change. Ask my wife.

Is stand-up lucrative?

Stand-up can be lucrative but I think it also depends on what direction you want to take with it. You can go mainstream and do jokes that appeal to the mass market if you really want to cash in. Or you can go avant garde which will appeal to a certain niche but won’t be as lucrative. So it’s really your choice. I’m lucky enough to have a day job that I don’t really have to depend on my comedy income to put food on the table for my family.

tim-insert-01When it comes to stand-up – which is essentially just a guy with a mic – how do you get from an idea to an actual act?

Stand-up is probably the fastest in terms of idea to product. Once you have the idea, you write it down. Then you go to an open mic, which the Comedy Cartel has at least twice a week in different venues, and try out the idea. If it gets laughs, then you got a keeper. If nobody laughs, then the material needs more work.

How does one join the Comedy Cartel to try out jokes?

Anyone is welcome to perform at our open mic shows. Just go to our FB page and check out the shows we have. Message us so we know you’re interested in performing and we will do our best to give you a spot.

A stand-up comedian will at some point “bomb” on stage. How do you deal with it?

You just do. It happens to every comedian. Just use it to become better. Like anything in life, it’s how many times you get back up.

What’s the best part of being a comedian?

You can say what you want under the guise of “Hey, I’m a comedian. It’s just a joke. Don’t kill me. Why are you putting drugs in my pocket. Hey!’

Follow Tim on Facebook for his latest shows and gigs.