Patricia Dinglasan: Looking for laughs in a plague year

‘I will never try to hurt anyone’ just for laughs. Photo by Arin Sang-urai  

By Cristina DC Pastor

“I am Filipino. I am not a nurse. I just play one in my husband’s sex fantasies.”

Trust comic Patricia Dinglasan to find humor amid a depressing pandemic and mold it into a hilarious punchline. For this budding Manhattan comedian, let’s just say the pandemic is a wellspring of jokes and other material for her comedy shows.

Like the time she drawled to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it…” showing her lazing on the sofa bored and beat.

If you’re a mom in 2020 you…

Did Remote learning

Learned to cut hair

Wiped down groceries

Cooked 3 meals a day

Gained 10 pounds…

Downloaded TikTok

Have a crush on Governor Cuomo

Blink your eyes!

“Every comedian I know has their own mic, ring light, and green screen,” she said in an interview with The FilAm.  The challenge is not so much looking alive and sparking energy on Zoom but making sure they connect with an entirely different audience. One that is remote and impersonal versus the familiar crowd that used to be intimate, compact, loud, and powered by beer and chicken wings.

Patricia at the Zarna Garg Show in Central Park. Photo by Arin Sang-urai

In a time of COVID-19 where “remote learning” is to children and “remote comedy” is to late-night stand-up comedians, making fun of a global crisis may not be a past-time the puritans of good conduct may appreciate. Patricia’s jokes may seem a little edgy but guaranteed to generate a chortle from a mature-minded listener.  There is always a slice of domestic life in her humor, with her scientist husband and their two sons, aged 9 and 12, in starring roles.

“COVID has challenged comedians to pivot into different mediums to showcase their work,” she said. Always there is that question: How can one be interesting to a Zoom audience?

“If I can see the audience, I try to talk directly to the ones who have their cameras on,” she said. Not everyone who watches on Zoom turns on their cameras. Others prefer the anonymity of a gray silhouette.

Third grade

Patricia has been rib-tickling friends since third grade, but it was only in 2018 that she took comedy by the horns and began to write and deliver humor at public parks and nightclubs.

“I took my first (comedy) class in 2014 and after the class ended, the comedy scene was intimidating to me so I only did one or two shows a year,” she shared. “It took me nearly four years to work up the courage to really pursue comedy so I consider 2018 the year I started.”

It was her sister who sort of injected the idea into her head. “My sister Kelly asked me what I wanted to do if money was of no concern. I told her all I wanted to do was make people laugh and she encouraged me to take a stand-up comedy class.” She did, but sat it out for four years until she gathered enough courage to go out there and… “bomb.”

“Bombing on stage is comedy,” she declared.

Amy Schumer & Ali Wong

Born in Makati and raised in the Bay Area, she graduated from University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Global Economics. She moved to NYC in 2000 where she met her American husband and worked at Estee Lauder until she became a mom of two boys. “I became a full-time mom but that got boring really fast.”

On Zoom. ‘Not easy being a woman in comedy.’

“It’s so hard having kids in the pandemic. Before, I used to say when we go out to the park, ‘Be careful, kids.’  Now I just say, ‘Good luck.’”

She likes “rewatching” old clips of Amy Schumer being interviewed by Oprah and Ali Wong being interviewed by Trevor Noah. She vividly remembered  Schumer telling Oprah she wanted to see more women “believing in themselves” and Wong reflecting on  being female and being a minority.

“It is not easy to be a woman in comedy, but these really connected with me,” she said. 

She remembered her shock attending an online class with touring comedian Kevin Camia, a FilAm.

“He specifically told the class that the women especially should continue, because there are not a lot of Filipino women doing stand-up,” she said. “And that is shocking to me because I think about how funny my aunts are…even when they’re not meaning to be funny.”

There aren’t really any limits to comedy, not gender, not politics, not even religion, she said. 

“I will never try to hurt anyone or punch down. However, if there is someone or something that is really evil and harming people, then I will use everything in my arsenal to write a good joke about it.”

When a Trump supporter yelled, ‘Go back to your country,’ I said, ‘No, I’m in the only immigrant program approved by President Trump, it’s called being married to a rich old white guy.’

© The FilAm 2021

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: