Sa kaso ng binansagang Comedy Concert Queen na si Ai-Ai delas Alas, hindi pa ba sapat na taglay pa rin niya ang titulong ito which she earned the first time she mounted an ambitious concert at the Folk Arts Theatre many years ago?
Teka, kelan ba ito muling nasundan in recent memory? But the title has stuck to her, and perhaps will stick to her for all eternity. To this day, no other comedienne has duplicated her feat.
Marahil, Ai Ai’s staying power may also be attributed to her never-ending string of controversies making her on top of the game. A hot copy. A rich fodder for news.
Consider the following issues that Ai Ai has found and finds herself embroiled in. Gagawan lang namin ng angkop na pamagat ang mga ‘yon interwoven into each other:
From a turbulent marriage ay muling kumatok ang pag-ibig sa puso ni Ai Ai. Enter Gerald Sibayan, as usual, bagets. Their passion for badminton has drawn them closer.
Seemingly blissful sa kanilang relasyon, hindi pa rin ito nakaligtas sa mapanghusgang mata ng publiko suspicious of the young boy’s intentions na baka hindi malayo sa mga nagdaang nobyo ng komedyana.
But Gerald has proven the public wrong. Ayon mismo kay Ai Ai, thoughtful at generous si Gerald, a far cry from her past men who have made a milking cow out of her. At lalong hindi siya ginagawang punching bag.
Sa suwerteng ito na dumapo kay Ai Ai sa pag-ibig, winasak niya ang kapaniwalaang “Lucky in love, unlucky in career” as she’s lucky in both love and career (idagdag pa ang kanyang family). Kaya ano’ng “You can’t have ‘em all-you can’t have ‘em all”? Only Ai Ai has them all.
Eh, true friends kaya, meron din ba si Ai Ai?
Back in ABS-CBN where her career flourished (sa totoo lang, thanks to career visionary Boy Abunda), hindi matatawaran ang sisterly closeness nina Ai Ai at Kris Aquino.
But somewhere along the way, magkaiba na sila ng sinasakyang friendship vehicle until they got lost in the wilderness.
Taong 2013 nang sumuporta pa si Ai Ai sa presidential candidacy ni Noynoy, but it turned out—as the reported in the papers—mukhang the comedienne was not fairly compensated. Kung binigyan ni Kris ng pink-colored van si Pokwang para sa suporta rin nito, nadismaya naman daw si Ai Ai na tumanggap ng home entertainment from Kris.
And several other issues about their strained friendship ensued.
December 2014 nang muling mag-krus ang landas nina Kris at Ai Ai na parehong nagninang sa noo’y ikakasal na sina Dingdong Dantes at his wife. Kris even gifted Ai Ai with a seemingly expensive piece of jewelry, prompting the public to think that both smoked the peacepipe.
Pero it’s not what it seemed. Sa pangungulit ng press sa kanya, Ai Ai would repeatedly dodge questions na may kinalaman kay Kris, only for the world to know na tila masyado nang masikip ang iniikutan nilang dalawa sa loob ng ABS-CBN.
Siyempre, alangan naman si Kris ang lumayas, eh, mukhang her name is synonymous with ABS-CBN. Ai Ai, being a lesser minion, had to go. And where else would she seek refuge kundi sa GMA, ang tahanang pinanggalingan niya?
Upon her transfer, Ai Ai wasn’t exactly like a Muslim refugee in some foreign land. GMA was instant home to her. Sa tulad niyang nangangailangan ng kalinga.
A magnificent act for Magnifico
Tulad ni Ai Ai na kailangan ng masisilungan like a homeless typhoon victim, hindi ipinagkait ng komedyana ang kanyang tulong nang mabalitaang pakalat-kalat sa airport ang minsang naging anak-anakan niya sa pelikula ng Star Cinema, si Jiro Manio.
Ai Ai strongly felt for Jiro na siya ang sumagot sa pagpapa-rehab nito, interceding for the misguided boy in his domestic issue and helping in the painstaking search for his Japanese dad.
Sa gitna ng kanyang trabaho, naisingit pa ni Ai Ai ang pagbiyahe sa Japan para matunton ang ama ni Jiro na nais nitong makita at makapiling.
The mother in Ai Ai just prevailed. Pero sa kabila ng kanyang acts of charity, may mga pumula pa rin sa kanya as having vested interest over Jiro na kaedaran ng kanyang kasalukuyang nobyo, a fresh catch, ‘ika nga.
Isang uri rin daw ng “paandar” ang ginagawang kawang-gawa ni Ai Ai para mapag-usapan, bagay na ikinapikon niya in a TV interview. But all this, Ai Ai has managed to endure. Alam naman ng marami ang virtue ng generosity sa kanyang pagkatao.
As Ai Ai would always stress, “Kung ibang tao, natutulungan ko, ‘yun pa kayang malapit sa puso ko?”
Which brings us to her present network affiliation: Kapuso.
May dumating, may nawala
Nagsilbing port of reentry, ‘ika nga, ni Ai Ai sa GMA ang rom-com na Let The Love Begin. Towards the end of April nang magpa-presscon para roon. Pero noong mga panahong ‘yon, as in any BIG star, mas nakalalamang ang rekado ng kontrata nito sa anumang istasyon.
Sa estado ni Ai Ai and other biggies, guaranteed contract ang kanilang pinipirmahan. It consists of at least three regular shows, all paid ke gawin mo o hindi. Pabor ‘yon sa malalaking artista while waiting for their next TV assignment, bayad kasi ang kanilang serbisyo while taking on vacations.
Some other perks come with the contract.
Ang pinasiglang Sunday programming ng GMA with the back-to-back of the afternoon shows Sunday PinaSaya and Wowowin nitong August was a bad omen para sa mga artista at staff ng Sunday All Stars. SOP (Sobrang Okey Pare) immediately followed by Party Pilipinas, ang precursor ng SAS, whose common staff got food to eat, rented house to live in and clothes to wear.
Sa pagpasok ni Ai Ai sa hahaliling show, SAS inevitably took a bow, at ang biruan: si Ai Ai raw ang may kasalanan.
The same goes for the staff of the nearly 20 year-old Startalk na iilan din lang ang na-absorb nang umentra ang CelebriTV na si Ai Ai rin ang poste. According to some disgruntled staff, the network-pampered Ai Ai had the say-so if she wanted the old workers to hold on to their dear jobs.
Inaalat man ang maraming station talents, luck obviously continues to pour down on Ai Ai.
But with luck still comes the flak.
Uso ang Ruso
The latest character to have been introduced in the AlDub kalyeserye on Eat Bulaga is the Russian Lola Baba, grandma ni Alden Richards, who’s a combination of the Montaguts and the Capulets who disapprove of Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other in the Shakesperean tragedy.
The plot thickens as the characters are added sa masalimuot na kuwento ng pag-iibigan nina Alden at Yaya Dub.
Pero para sa ilang mga netizens, hindi nila gusto ang pagsulpot ni Ai Ai, kesyo matanda na raw, nakagugulo pa sa kuwento and far from being funny. Dagdag pa ng mga kritiko, tatayo ang kalyeserye kahit wala si Lola Baba.
But wait, AlDub, Vic Sotto and Ai Ai have an entry to this year’s MMFF. Kailangan nila ang kumpletong exposure na ‘yon without fail to keep the public consciousness about their movie without spending too much for its trailer.
Ina-acknowledge din naman ni Ai Ai ang unprecedented success ng AlDub, kaya nga featured guest si Alden nitong Lunes sa charity concert nito in honor of Mama Mary.
Ai Ai: “phenom” or venom?
Sabi nga, you cannot argue with success. How much more kung ang tagumpay na ‘yon ay phenomenal, o tagumpay mula sa kontrobersiyang kinapapalooban mo?
Ai Ai is both a “phenom” and a venom. Para siyang kamandag that flows through one’s veins, so powerful na ramdam na ramdam mo. Her presence. Her effect. Her whole being.
Even the littlest or cheapest issues ay ramdam mo pa rin ang bagsik ng kamandag ni Ai Ai, very Kris Aquino.
By Ronnie Carrasco III