Comedian Ritchie D' Horsie takes another crack at showbiz

"I'm overwhelmed. Natutuwa ako dahil kumbaga comeback movie ko din to, e. So, biruin mo, after almost ten years na wala ako, ngayon lang ulit ako nagpelikula, although sa Iskul Bukol guest ako dun," comedian Ritchie D' Horsie told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal). Ritchie will be seen, albeit briefly, in Vic Sotto's upcoming comedy offering, Love OnLine.


Comedian Ritchie D' Horsie feels overwhelmed by the continuous support of his closest friends in the entertainment industry, led by the trio of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon.

Ritchie, Richard Reyes in real life, served prison time for drug-possession charges. A Quezon City court granted Reyes his freedom on December 4, 2008.

Barely a month before his release, Vic Sotto shouldered Ritchie's P120,000 bail bond to enable the veteran sidekick comedian to participate in the movie version of the legendary comedy sitcom, Iskul Bukol... 20 Years After, which was included in the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival.

The decision to invite Ritchie in the film was a collective agreement by Tito, Vic and Joey, considering that he had been in the sitcom during its phenomenal TV run in the '80s. Iskul Bukol... 20 Years After was conceptualized by the iconic trio to gather the original core of the program.

For Ritchie, being taken in again by his mentors was a way of reprimanding their wayward protégée.

"Actually kahit hindi na nila 'ko pagalitan. Kumbaga, 'yong pagkakakuha nila sa akin, sapat na 'yon na parang sermon. Parang sinasabi nila na, 'Ito na! Ito na last chance mo,'" Ritchie told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a recent interview held at the Moomba Bar and Café in Quezon City.

Ritchie was there to promote Vic Sotto's upcoming movie with Thai-British Paula Taylor, Love OnLine, which will premiere this coming August 19.

REGAINING FRIENDS AND FREEDOM. "Natutuwa ako ngayon kasi may trabaho ako. Biruin mo, mahirap makulong pero natutuwa ako sa blessing na binibigay sa akin ng Panginoon. It's a miracle! 'Tapos para mabalik ko 'yong mga kaibigan ko sina [director] Tony Reyes, sina Jose [Manalo], sina Vic Sotto, miracle yon! Kasi nung nasa loob ako, inisip ko hindi na talaga [ako makakabalik]."

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Despite gaining liberty, the road for Ritchie still proved bumpy. On Maundy Thursday, April 12, 2009, Ritchie suffered a mild stroke: "Siguro natuwa ako sa pagkakalaya ko. Na-excite ako then napakain din ako ng marami. Naging aral naman sa akin na bawal sa 'kin ang cholesterol at pagod."

The health scare once again stalled Ritchie's showbiz comeback. The production team was forced to cancel Ritchie's supposed participation in Love OnLine. Therapy combined with the comedian's strong will to overcome the malady eventually paid off as Ritchie regained his strength.

Looking back on prison life, Ritchie confessed going through despair and long periods of depression. He also revealed that his addiction to illegal drugs failed to completely stop even behind bars.

"Alam mo, 'yong hindi pa 'ko nahuhuli, ang iniisip ko lang puro droga. Naging iba lang 'yon nung pagpasok ng 2004 na nahuli ako pagdating ng 2006."

Pausing a bit, Ritchie continued, "Actually sa loob [prison], tumira pa rin ako dahil meron dun, e. Pagdating ng two years merong isang worship group na nagsabi sa 'kin na gawan ko sila ng kanta about Christ. Dun na nagsimula 'yon and nagbigay sa akin ng miracle hanggang sa napalapit ako sa Panginoon."

Working and exchanging punch lines with younger comedians is a welcome challenge, according to Ritchie.

"Alam mo sa totoo lang as a comedian, siyempre tumatanda ako pero hindi ako natatakot. Sabi ko nga hangga't makakakita kami ng mga papalit sa grupo, kukunin namin 'yon. Ako, as long as nandiyan ang Tito, Vic and Joey, as long as meron pa rin akong kiliti para sa mga tao, hindi ako natatakot. Walang nakakakaba dun, as long as nandiyan 'yong mga kaibigan ko para tulungan ako.

"Ang importante sa 'kin ngayon 'yong maging wise ang isip. 'Yong mawala sa mga hindi magagandang bisyo, at the same time ginagawa ko lahat para makapagtrabaho ako ulit nang maayos."

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