IN FOCUS: The writer's hat of Joey de Leon

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Joey de Leon has written a ton of poems, scripts, and songs over the years. An autobiography though is out of the question for him. "Sinabihan ko na yung mga anak ko, hindi ako susulat n'yan, basta kayo ang susulat niyan," he told PEP.


PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) checked out Joey de Leon's extraordinary passion for writing. Everywhere the original host of Eat...Bulaga! goes, any time of day, "Lagi akong may ballpen, minsan kasi nakakalimot na.

"Minsan pagkauwi ko susulat pa din ako, sa kotse, hindi na ako nagda-drive na dahil nagsusulat ako. Basta't gising ako, magsusulat ako, o nanonood ng TV, yun ang libangan ko, 'tapos balik sa sulat."

Joey considers himself an old-fashioned writer. "Mas [sanay] ako sa sinusulat," he told PEP. "Dati nga, makinilya pa ang gamit ko. Hindi ako marunong mag-Internet, [nagpapaturo] ako sa mga anak ko. Ano pa rin ako, old school pa rin ako—makinilyang maingay, ginagamit ko pa rin, at saka sulat kamay."

Believe it or not, Joey was able to compose songs out of his dreams. "Minsan sa panaginip, di alam ng tao, may mga kanta akong napanaginip na sinulat ko. Nung araw meron ako yung Langgonisang Maong [Dagang Denims]? Buong song yun, panaginip ko."

This particular song earned him the first special award at the Metropop Song festival.

"First special award ng ano yan, MetroPop. Ako ang binigyan ng first rap award, rap yun, eh. Biro mo, ano yon, 1970s. Kaya sabi ko kay Francis Magalona, 'Hoy ako unang may rap award sa Pilipinas.'

"Nakasulat talaga sa ano ko, Imee Marcos pa yun, e. Third MetroPop, dun unang nagbigay ng first special award, nung nanalo si Hadji [Alejandro] ng 'Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika.'"

He also penned notable hits, like "Ipagpatawad Mo," "Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko," "Boyfriend kong Baduy," and of late, novelty songs—which were compiled in a two-volume OPM album titled Joey To The World.

Joey de Leon is known not only for writing novelty songs used in commercials and segments of his TV shows. He also became prominent as a regular columnist in several newspapers. He proudly related to PEP, "Hindi nga alam ng tao, e, nakapagsulat na ako sa limang broadsheet. Palagay ko ako lang yung artistang nagsulat sa ano, eh...

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"Nung araw yung may Express ba yun, Daily Express, Inquirer, [Manila] Bulletin, Philippine Star, 'tapos hindi mabilang na tabloid. Nagka-cartoons ako noong araw sa mga Bandera."

Joey also writes poems, scripts, and even thought bubbles on his photo collection. "Challenge 'yon, magandang pang-training, e, 'yong mga biglaan," said Joey de Leon.

Constantly practicing his writing skills, Joey dismisses the so-called "writer's block," especially for humor writers like him. "Kapag may naririnig akong writer na nagsasabing 'kinakapos kami', hate na hate ko yun, dahil hindi totoo yun.

"At saka sa comedy kasi, ang katwiran ko, there's only one way for normal things, ang normal things isang way lang, sa comedy maraming approaches. Various 'yan kaya hindi ka puwedeng maubusan.

"Ang comedy, what is comedy? It is nothing but the abnormalization of the normal, 'yon lang, e. 'Yong kapos-kapos? Kalokohan yun, nag-e-enjoy ako kahit mag-isip ako."

All his unpublished compositions—poems, scripts, and songs—are kept in a safety box.

"Meron akong naka-fire proof na pinagtataguan, meron ako nung na-ta-touch ko lagi, kasi gustung-gusto ko 'yon, yung nababasa."

He keeps his writings inside this box until he finds the right timing to publish them in a book.

"Nanghihinayang ako. Sabi nga ng iba, may pumunta na nga sa aking mga naggagawa ng libro, e, kami nang bahala, basta ibigay mo lang sa amin yung albums. Sabi ko, hindi ko mapagtiwalaan, e," he related.

COMEDY AND WRITING GO TOGETHER. Joey said that he does not feel threatened whenever a new comedian comes along.

He explained, "Kasi tinitignan natin, e. May dumarating na iba pero kapag binalikan mo yung narating mo, 'tapos ikukumpara sa mararating pa lang nila, mahihirapan, e."

But that does not mean he ignores these newcomers. He mentions the younger generation of comedians who he thinks will likely follow his footsteps in showbiz.

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"May mga lalagpas dyan, may mga darating siguro, pero baka mga kasama rin namin. Kung mapapansin mo, yung mga binanggit ko mga kasama rin namin, e—sila Michael V, sila Janno [Gibbs], sila Anjo [Yllana], sila Jose [Manalo], sila Wally [Bayola], lahat ng magagaling na mga bago, galing din sa amin [Eat...Bulaga!].

At the end of our interview, he explained: "Mas may respeto ako sa mga sumusulat na comedian. Pag ikaw nakakasulat ka ng script para sa ibang comedian, lalo na yung mga kakompetensya mo rin, aba magaling ka na. Ibig sabihin wala kang insecurities na baka nakawan ako ng eksena nito, o manakaw dahil mas kuwela sya, e. Kelangan wala 'yan, e. Mas mag-enjoy ka, matuwa ka, [magiging] kuwela din s'ya, lalo na kung gawa mo.'"

Joey de Leon's obsession for writing productively, combined with hard work that he enjoys, is certainly hard to beat!


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