In ‘Comedy Island Philippines,’ celebs explore different versions of themselves

August 31, 2023 - 2:48 PM
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The cast and crew of Prime Video's "Comedy Island Philippines." (Prime Video/released)

In “Comedy Island Philippines,” cast members relish the opportunity to come out of their shells and explore sides of themselves the public does not often see. 

A six-episode show that premieres on Prime Video today, August 31, “Comedy Island Philippines” is a hybrid reality series that blends comedy and adventure as well as scripted and unscripted formats.

Here, cast members Andrea Brillantes, Carlo Aquino, Rufa Mae Quinto, Awra Briguela, Jerald Napoles, Cai Cortez, and Justine Luzares play fictional versions of themselves stuck in the secluded Tawa-Tawa Island. 

The only way to get out of the island is to play and garner the most points at the Centennial Games, a competition where the goal is to make the inhabitants of Tawa-Tawa Island laugh. 

Drew Arellano plays as Dodong the gamemaster.

Parts of the show are scripted, but the Centennial Games are notwhich means the seven celebrities have to improvise and rely on their wit and creativity for their characters to escape the island. 

Its hybrid format and the improbable mix of the celebrities involved in “Comedy Island Philippines” make it an interesting affair.  

Arellano, for instance, is best known for his public affairs program “Biyahe ni Drew” on GTV. But he thought the series would bring out a “different version of myself.”

“This is not definitely what I do. I’m not an actor and a lot of people know that. This deals with improvisation, which wala din akong background. Of course, comedy, I joke sa bahay, but not as a professional comedian,” he said at a media conference in San Juan on Tuesday, August 30. “Si ‘Biyahe ni Drew’ character ay wala, non-existent nung napadpad kami sa Tawa-Tawa.”

Brillantes, who jokingly said she was destined to be a comedian, accepted the role because she wanted to explore different acting genres.

“Tinarato ko lang siya na parang trabaho pa rin. Mag-aacting pa rin ako, but this time mapapakita ko ‘yung quirkiness and cuteness ko,” she said. “Dito lang ako ‘di umarte kasi as Blythe ako dito eh.” 

Brillantes’ real name is Blythe Gorostiza.

Series director Randolph Longjas said he wanted to feature a variety of personalities for the show, hence the mix of actors, comedians, and online content creators.

“We want different representations, different age groups. Mas maganda ‘yung improv is for everyone; hence, we wanted to get different people talaga,” he said.

The showrunners were worried that their handpicked actors wouldn’t yield any chemistry. Turns out, they did not have to. 

“Luckily for us, when we saw them all together, workshop pa lang, may chemistry na silang lahat, which only grew nung nag-shoot na kami and when they faced all the challenges,” producer Tanya Yuson said.

Longjas felt relieved when the improvisations elicited laughter even from the Thai crew they worked with amid the language barriers.

“When they were doing their challenges, they were all laughing, even the Thai crew. So parang kami, ‘Nakakatawa nga siguro kasi tumatawa din sila,'” he said.

The first three episodes of “Comedy Island Philippines” will be available on Prime Video on August 31. The remaining three episodes will be streamed the following week.