To say that the life of Vice Ganda is a true rags-to-riches story is definitely an understatement. Who is he that even the president and vice president of the country would spend their precious time to greet him on his birthday? No doubt, Vice Ganda is one of the most familiar faces on Philippine television. He is also ranked number two behind his friend Coco Martin with the highest endorsement value among all Filipino celebrities. How did he arrive at such an exalted position?
Vice Ganda was born Jose Marie Borja Viceral on March 31, 1976 to parents of very modest means in Tondo, Manila, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the capital city. His father was the barangay (village) chief but he was murdered when he was still small boy. To raise the family, his mother who is from the municipality of San Juan in La Union Province, went to work abroad as a caregiver just like millions of other Filipinos.
As a child, Vice was known as “Tutoy”. Growing up as a closeted homosexual, he experienced bullying from neighbors and schoolmates. Thanks to one of his teachers who told him to be strong and to pursue his dreams no matter what, Vice studied hard and participated actively in literary-musical events. From these extra-curricular activities, he honed his singing and speaking skills. Check the video below for Vice’s journey to fame.
From grade three to second-year college, Vice was supported by a Japanese whom he did not yet meet. Eventually, he was able to finish political science from Far Eastern University in Manila. He tried his best to look for this stranger to say thank you but he can not locate him though he still have with him the address of this kind-hearted man.
In a particular episode of his show “It’s Showtime”, he picked a girl to support as his own scholar. His reason: to give back what he received from the Japanese guy.
With his singing and hosting talent, Vice worked as a singer and stand-up comedian after graduation. The pay was miniscule but from time to time, he would recieve tips from customers who appreciated his performance. Not long after, he met a talent scout in the person of Ogie Diaz who opened the door for him to enter the world of television.
1999 was an auspicious year for Vice. It was the year he first appeared on television as an actor, playing the role of Antonia in the Judy Ann Drama Special aired by giant television network ABS-CBN. That same year, he performed in the noontime show SOP of rival network GMA. Since then, he played minor roles or guest roles in television programs of ABS-CBN. Year 2007 was another banner year in his life. He was cast in his first movie project Apat Dapat, Dapat Apat of Viva Films.
Ten years had passed before Vice got his big television program assignment. He was selected as one of the judges of Showtime which started as a morning competition aired just before the main noontime show of ABS-CBN. The program was later renamed “It’s Showtime” and Vice became the main host. It became a phenomenal success that the program soon became the main noontime show of the network.
In 2011, Vice began his own talk show called “Gandang Gabi Vice” (Good Evening, Vice). This too became a huge success that until now, it is one of the longest running talk shows of ABS-CBN. Meanwhile, Vice got his first leading role in a film in Petrang Kabayo which was released in 2010. It was a box-office hit, prompting his producers (Viva Films and Star Cinema) to cast him in succeeding movies with each new film outperforming the previous one in terms of sales ticket.
As if his success on television and in films were not enough, Vice made sure his singing talent is not neglected in the backseat. To date, he was able to release at least four albums in addition to conducting numerous well-attended concerts.
Vice has already piled-up lots of acting, singing, and hosting awards. Among them are Most Influential Film Actor of the Year, Phenomenal Box-Office Star, Bert Marcelo Achievement Award for Excellence in Comedy, Movie Actor of the Year, and Best Talk Show Host.
So how do we understand the success of this once bullied homosexual as he reached the stars only a few can emulate? No doubt, Vice is talented and hardworking. Yet Vice is also criticized by many quarters for his use of insulting humor thrown at the expense of guests and fellow artists. One of his most disparaging “humor” was his “Gang Rape Joke” directed towards news anchor Jessica Soho which was widely condemned by many netizens and cause-oriented groups. Although Vice apologized for it, it was not the last below-the-belt “humor” from him.
Some academicians believed Vice’s brand of insulting humor is part of the Filipino culture and viewers relate much to this kind of acting and speaking. Otherwise, nobody would spend precious time watching Vice’s antics and listening to his non-sensible sarcasm. Watch his style of hosting in one episode of his shows as he interviews 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray.
Coco Martin, Vice Ganda, and Dingdong Dantes are the top 3 celebrities with highest ‘endorsement value’ – Retrieved 4-20-2019
Vice Ganda is looking for the Japanese national who helped him study – Retrieved 4-20-2019
Sarcasm and Criticism as Basis of Filipino Humor – Retrieved 4-20-2019