Saturday Night: Rex Navarrete at the Punchline

Categories: Comedy, Last Night
IMG_0920_1.jpgRex Navarrete
Punchline Comedy Club
December 6, 2008
Notes by Janine Kahn

Better than:
Your relatives in Daly City. And twice as funny.
Stream: Audio clips from the Rex Navarrete show I caught last year.

Filipinos always laugh the loudest at a Rex Navarrete show. There's just no way around it. Though the comic's routine is digestible for a multi-racial audience, you can't quite fully appreciate Navarrete's act unless your date speaks the language or you've spent some time downloading it into your personal hard drive. Fortunately for my cracker of a partner, I'd spent 20 odd years on a certain archipelago, so navigating him through the nuances of "O2 v.s. utut" wasn't a problem.

The last time I saw Rex, it was late 2007 at the Irvine Improv and he was going on about being dragged to the Philippines as a child against his will, staying with superstitious relatives who warned him of the dwarves in the bushes outside the house, and telling us about how Filipino men like to refer to their briefs as "men's panty" (pronounced in masculine fashion as "pun-ti").

Saturday night, Navarrete revisited all his old faves, but managed to spice the routine up with a garnishing of new jokes here and there. We learned it was difficult to be ADD ("always disco dancing") while sitting in a Jeepney heading out to the province for "a Lord of the Rings kinda journey" after a 14-hour SF-to-Manila flight. And when Navarrete recounted his nutty aunt's superstitions a second time around (including said dwarves -"dwende" and a dick-smoking giant who lives in a tree - the "kapre"), it felt like running into old friends. I even wondered why he didn't talk about the flying old ladies without legs ("mananangal"). Yeah, the folks back home believe some pretty wild stuff. It's no surprise they're a largely Catholic nation... (Ooh, low. Peace, mom and dad).

Now, it wasn't completely old material for Navarrete. He started the night off telling the crowd to kill anyone who came through the door with news of the Manny Pacquiao fight. Then the ex-SF resident used his Hawaiian shirt to segue into telling the crowd he now lived on the islands, and how excited he was that effective January, a fellow Hawaiian would be in office. After a few quips about how White House body guards would now all be Samoan and how Jan. 20 would be the biggest luau ever (buried pigs on the Washington lawn and all), he told us about his Irish friend, who braved the strangest of Philippine foods and almost choked on the most lethal of desserts, "polvoron." And of course he had to pick on Journey's new Filipino frontman, Arnel Pineda, saying the aging white band hired him figuring they could use him as a caregiver when they retire. (LOLs all around.)

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Rex, when am I going to see you dig up your Maritess and the Super Friends act? I've seen it on YouTube a dozen times but fear I'll never see it live. :(

Random Detail: The Punchline's Comedy Cosmo was pretty rad.

By the Way: My favorite part of the show was when Navarrete informed us that in the Philippines it's acceptable to be gay, but not vegetarian.

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