Friday, June 01, 2012

iBlog 8: Back And Lovin' It!

.:And So The Internets Exploded:.

The Patriotic Filipino returns to iBlog!

A year ago, I wrote about how amazing iBlog 7 was, especially its final talk, as delivered by the inimitable Ria. It was an eye-opener of a talk, and spoke of inclusiveness, and support, and camaraderie. It showed bloggers that indeed, there is a whole world of people out there that this community can intersect with and grow with in positive ways.

This year, with the overwhelming majority of new attendees in iBlog 8, I do believe that we have found that explosion of new blood, and I personally couldn't be happier to see it happen.

An insensitive tweet came up during the day itself that "yesterday's topics were better," but considering this person wasn't even there during day one, I think it's easy to take that with a grain of salt. Let 'em fade into irrelevance and ignorance, I say. (/cryptic)

Once again, I missed the first day of iBlog the way I did the previous year, but this time, it was because I was at work, and being new here in the company, I wasn't exactly in a position to take a leave, but I have heard raves for Carlo Ople's segment, because quite frankly, this man knows what he's talking about. He has made a name for himself in the blogging world, and he deserves every single accolade he is getting now.

That being said, during the second day, I had the pleasure of meeting Rem Tanuan, who tried to tackle the topic, "The Soul Of Blogging," which is a grossly underrepresented topic in the middle of the virtual gold rush that is aimed at making us as much money as we possibly can through our blogs. It was a very heartwarming discussion, and I'm sure a lot of people found value in what he had to say.

Janette Toral then took to the stage to discuss a very thought-provoking topic: the Politics of Blogging. She talked about cliques, about attempts at hierarchies, entitlement complexes, free versus paid domains, and a host of other things that continue to keep bloggers from ever being as integrating a community as it really could be. I'm happy to say that the online community has gotten decidedly less insular in the past year, although there's also a marked disappearance in certain key people within the community whose valuable presence is indeed sorely missed. Like Aileen Apolo! Wemishu!

In any case, Janette may not have named names, but it was a pretty fearless talk that didn't discriminate on any imaginary divides between factions or groups. It was a talk that needed to be done, in my opinion, because the sooner we get to hash out these nitty-gritty issues, the easier it would be for bloggers new and old alike to understand that this microcosm of a community we have has a political side to it, and whether you like that or you don't, you need to at least be aware of it and to act accordingly.

There were other speakers as well that interested me genuinely, but I especially liked the part where we had a bit of discussion regarding edubloggers, because I just had to ask...

You can hear the audible puntastic groans right about... now.

The final speaker as well, Alvin Dakis, proved to be an engaging speaker for blogging about health, but had his unique dose of humor to go with it. Coupling him with Vic Abrugar and last year's Roy Dela Cruz, there wasn't a shortage of naturally hilarious people in that room just adding to the aura of the whole event.

As it is with nearly every year, Mr. JJ Disini tackled also tackled a few legal issues that always tend to bear repeating, and Mike Abundo and myself are still the last two people who have never missed a single iBlog since it started.

Now, the reason I made a bit of a detour to discuss naturally funny people was the fact that I actually had a talk on that very topic. As a standup comedian who is still in the thick of continuously improving his craft, I recognize that I am not naturally funny. With that in mind, how does one learn the right skillset to even attempt to do comedy in public?

Well, thankfully, when you're doing comedy blogging, it's significantly easier to make jokes because you have unimpeded access to visual aids and you don't need to focus nearly as much on comedic timing or delivery because you're writing your jokes, not saying them out loud. With that in mind, the challenge becomes easier, albeit also different at the same time. Other challenges become manifest, particularly the lack of physical cues and other obvious signposts that a punchline was already thrown.

There is so much to tackle, so much to figure out, but I was glad that I managed to work my way around the fifteen minutes I was provided. Since I was part of a panel of speakers including a talk on Inspiring Quotes and Posts by Doc Wendell, and using Public Narrative for blogging from Bien. I was actually nervous, and it felt like it was the first time I was hitting the stage again, and this time completely reinvented.

Five years ago, I went up the stage to speak during iBlog 3, establishing myself as a magician and a mentalist. It was pretty amazing, because the next five years went by and nearly every single blogger who ever met me knew that fact about me. In iBlog 8, I went up onstage as a standup comedian, and I needed to prove that as a speaker on comedy, I was qualified not just in theory, but in practice.

Channeling all the nights I bombed onstage as a cautionary tale to me, I soldiered on and did my talk. A cursory look at my slides would probably tell you that they would be useless without my spiel, but I assure you that Sharon Cuneta, GMA, Former Chief Justice Corona, and Mick Pennisi probably wouldn't be happy about the contents of my talk. I'd still do my set if they were in the audience, though.

I've always liked comedy. I am a fan of a wide range of comedy ranging from the most painful of puns, to the most outrageous of offensive humor, to the most sophisticated of observational comedy, to the most inane of improv. In terms of sheer theory and knowledge, I have more than just a rudimentary grasp of the art form, but I admittedly recognize that I have a long way to go as a performer. My task was to meld the theory and the practice in a cohesive package for the time that I'm onstage.

Nonetheless, I'd like to think I did well, as I elicited laughs from the iBlog 8 audience on day 2, but at the same time challenging them to think about what it means to be a comedy blogger. The eight methods I gave were clearly stopgap measures: crutches, even. The mark of a great comedian is learning to work with and beyond these so-called crutches. It's easy to do blue humor and shock the audience, for instance, but it's even more shocking to come up with a fully clean yet amazingly hilarious set, because that takes a lot of work.

So I finished my talk, and mission accomplished, right? Well, that's what I thought, until the Q and A came up.

All speakers managed to answer questions such as those about writer's block, but a few questions were in my direction, and they were surprisingly about... ethics.


I suppose it's because I'm a classy guy? (Cyanide and Happiness)

I actively avoided courting controversy in iBlog 8 by not talking about blogging ethics or etiquette. In comedy terms, doing that would be too cheap and easy for me, so I had to fight with all my might to not go in that direction, even if beating a dead horse who totally looks like one seems very fun to do.

Yes, I've actually given several talks about the topic for some digital marketing lectures in the past due to my academic background and the MA degree I never got around to completing, but seriously? Comedy and ethics?

Thankfully, I was prepared to answer the questions they had, and emphasized that yeah, comedy can and does cross the line a lot, but what's important is that the comedian must be prepared to deal with the consequences of crossing the line. If they aren't, then they shouldn't be making those jokes in the first place.

As for encapsulating my rule of thumb for blogger ethics in one sentence, I stated: if you are confident you can do it offline without any issues, then it probably will be the same online.

Another question came up as well, asking me how I feel when my jokes get plagiarized, and seeing as how I'm nowhere near paying my bills through my comedy, I simply felt amused by it all. Maybe even a little flattered.

And even after all the questions about ethics that completely took me by surprise, what I wasn't prepared for in the end was the part where the people in iBlog 8 took it upon themselves to rechristen me as "Marcy." Next thing I knew, everyone and their mother took to calling me just that, including my M:TG teammates, the Disenchanted Kingdom, and every single blogger who met me during iBlog 8.


After an amazing time at iBlog 8, I was just glad that I managed to do what I set out to do: I managed to tackle a subject that people haven't taken notice of, and make a good case for why comedy blogging, as underappreciated as it may be, serves a very important role in any blogosphere. I've learned from the masters in the field, and all I could do is share to everyone interested why they work, and why we shouldn't take them for granted.

It's so much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. I should know, because I've cried at movies more times than I have laughed heartily. Anyone willing to dedicate themselves to an endeavor as thankless and as demanding as comedy blogging certainly deserves all the props they manage to get, and "8 Comedy Blogging Methods For The Not-Naturally-Funny" was my simple way of giving thanks to those people who have blazed that trail for aspiring comics such as myself, as we try to make the world a lighter place to be in, no matter how unappreciated or unnoticed that effort may actually be.

We know we make a difference, and that's really what matters.

See you in iBlog 9! And thank you for being a part of my life for the past ten years, blogosphere!

iBlog 8: Comedy Blog Writing (For The Not-Naturally-Funny)

Hey, I just met you
 and this is crazy
 Marcelle's my real name
Don't call me Marcy


Axl Powerhouse Production Inc. said...

idol... nice seeing you in the event!
ang ganda ng topic na dinicuss ninyo..

ria said...

now im sorry i missed the iblog!!! :)

Vic said...

Hi Marcelle,
I'm glad to meet you there. I'm also lucky to catch your outstanding, hilarious, and sensible talk. :) Your talk was intimidatingly great, that it became the culprit why I felt so nervous during my talk. :D

Jr said...

hehe, thanks for the great talk Sir Marcelle! Hehe., really had my fun there., hehe especially your timeslot., haha., and the other guy who spy on other blogs., haha forgot his name., haha sooo laughtrip. haha :))

Marcelle said...

@Axl: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the talk.

@ria: You really should've been there. I think you'd have had fun.

@Vic: And yet you still knocked it right out of the park. Everyone was turning to me and telling me "that Vic guy is naturally funny, ano?"

@JR: That guy would be Vic, right above you. Hahahaha! He's pretty awesome, I know.

Marco Polo Demo said...

Hi Marcelle,

So how do we call you now? Is it Marcelle,Marcy or still Cel (Kel)?

I did enjoy your talk at iBlog 8. Simple,short, meaningful and yet funny.

Jay said...

Wa ha ha. Nice meeting ya.

Marcelle said...

Well, I can't really stop you guys if you absolutely insisted on calling me Marcy now, can I? :P