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Stand-up comedian Red Ollero at CreativeFest 2024: Trying hard can lead to failure, but it’s better than nowhere

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Laughter and loud cheers reached the high ceilings of Ayala Museum on May 10 as stand-up comedian Red Ollero took the stage at CreativeFest 2024, hosted by 4As Philippines and the Creative Guild.

Red kicked off his talk with an interesting analysis of the phrase “trying hard.” He explored its nuanced interpretation, highlighting its differing connotations in Western and Filipino contexts. While it may denote good intentions in the West, it often carries negative implications in the Filipino context.

For Red, this has been his life’s work — trying hard. Again, and again, and again. Despite the potential for failure and skepticism, he embraced the ethos of persistent effort. To him, the act of trying, regardless of outcome, is infinitely more valuable than stagnation.

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“We’re always trying to make sure na before we try, ang daming preparation, in the end, ‘di na gagawin,” Red explained. “In trying, doon niyo malalaman kung gusto niyo yung ginagawa niyo or hindi.” (In trying, you’ll find out if you really love what you do.)

The stand-up comedian proceeded to share his success story, characterized by numerous instances of “trying hard.” From helping establish the local stand-up comedy scene to surviving the pandemic through Zoom comedy shows and even striving to secure a comedy special on Netflix, Red’s path exemplifies relentless determination.

Seventeen years ago, Red was a junior copywriter who felt lost and struggled to pursue his true passion of being a stand-up comedian. But thanks to several attempts of trying — from rewriting jokes, filming comedy specials with shoddy cameras, selling comedy shows, and persistently contacting the Netflix hotline — he made it. 

While sharing his origin story drew a lot of laughter from the audience, it was Red’s Q&A session that truly brought the house down with even more laughs and a plethora of learnings.

Launching into his Q&A session, someone asked: “What’s next for Red Ollero?”

“Well, I have a meeting at 4 and then dinner at 7,” Red quipped. “Just kidding. I have to admit that I felt depressed after I ticked the Netflix comedy special off my list. But I want to do more live shows, I want to do more different things with my friends.”

“Gusto kong yumaman, so pahingi pera,” he added. (I want to be rich, so give me money.) “I also want to focus on local wrestling promotion. But everything I’ve been through so far made me realize I want to do standup comedy more than ever.”

As the session continued, a copywriter posed a question: “Since you mentioned that you used to be a copywriter, what are the similarities between copywriting and stand-up comedy?”

CreativeFest EVENT 2024 HERO Red Ollero Talk insert 2

“Constant rejection,” Red answered without missing a beat. “Nasanay lang akong ma-reject paulit-ulit. ‘Pag sanay kang ma-reject, you have that muscle to keep going. Kapag hindi bumenta joke ko sa stand-up, iniisip ko na lang na parang binaril yung idea ko sa pitch.” (I’m used to rejection. If you’re used to being rejected, you have that muscle to keep going. When my jokes don’t work in stand-up, I just think of it as my idea being rejected in a pitch.)

Red also tackled a question about creatives struggling to produce “funny” work. “I come from a school of thought that believes that everybody has a sense of humor, it’s just that some people are better at conveying it,” he shared. “It’s just a matter of trial and error.” 

Wrapping up his presentation, Red responded to a query about delivering humor to a generation with that perceives humor differently. “You have to have the intention of learning and being better. Sometimes, it’s not all about thinking outside of the box. A better creative makes the box great.”

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of CreativeFest 2024.

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