Once a shy and pessimistic man, he is now a renowned actor and comedian for the Filipino masses. Beethoven Del Valle Bunagan, with the screen name “Michael V”, had become a significant figure in the comedy industry of the Philippines.
What sets him apart from other Filipino comedians, like Vic Sotto or Ogie Alcasid, are the song parodies in the former late-night gag show “Bubble Gang.”
Dubbed a “Comedy Genius,” most of his song parodies were either a response to the original song or a humoristic take on Filipino society, lifestyle, and antics.
With this, let’s get a rundown of his parodic masterpieces.
1. “Takubets” (Circa 2006)
One of Michael V’s first-ever aired parodies was of the OPM band Imago’s song “Taralets”.
“Taralets” was one of the hit music across radio stations and became the official soundtrack for the movie ‘Pitong Dalagita’ by Crisaldo Pablo.
According to Michael V in his YouTube channel, “Takubets” was jargon, the reverse, and wordplay on ‘Kubeta,’ which means bathroom.
He patterned it down to the same way “Taralets” wordplay and jargon go, which means “Let’s go” in English.
“Takubets” was a humorous way of rushing to the bathroom to do “number two.”
Michael V. even met Imago’s lead singer, Aia De Leon, in GMA’s noontime show ‘Eat Bulaga’.
In one of his interviews, he admitted to remembering their conversation saying “You’re crazy!” and “You’re brilliant!” to which he perceived it as either being ‘brilliantly crazy’ or ‘crazily brilliant’, adding that he has no problem with either.
It was also in the parody Takubets that he created one of his first parody artist names; deriving from ‘Imago, he named himself “Eh Gag*.”
2. “Bathroom Dance” (2010)
Following on from the idea of “doing the number two” in the bathroom, he parodied one of the international hit songs of 2010, Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.
Titled “Bathroom Dance” by Gagang Lady, he included the parody in his top 10 favorites by ranking it at number 2.
He added that it was a rehash version of Taralets that he directed himself; he felt the parody fell short of creativity, but he was still proud of his direction.
Along with some of the Sexbomb dancers, they helped him with the choreography, as it was the most iconic scene of the original.
A fun fact he added was his curiosity in sound mixing the songs Bad Romance and Bathroom Dance. “Sa technical aspect, just out of curiosity, nag-down mix ako ng Bad Romance sa left channel at Bathroom Dance sa right channel para pakinggan sa headphones, at i-compare kung gaano sila kadikit,” he said.
3. “Gayahin mo Sila” (2018)
Younger fans of Michael V. may not have known that he was once a rapper in 1991.
He wrote and rapped his original song Maganda ang Piliin (Ayoko ng Panget), answering one of OPM’s greatest rappers, Andrew E, in his song “Humanap ka ng Panget.”
In his checklist of making the perfect parody, he chose “Gayahin mo Sila” with his parody band Class B Tayo, which was originally “Hayaan mo Sila” by Ex Battalion, as his number one parody.
“For me, this is the ultimate ‘Tatak Michael V.’ parody na babalik-balikan ko every time na gagawa ako ng bago. Sa YouTube channel ng GMA Network, almost 10 million views nito at doon naman sa ginawa kong reaction video, almost 2 million,” he said.
He admitted to going all out in production, direction, lyricism, and references to the original to make the parody.
Along with a younger comedian in the making, Sef Cadayona, the rap parody speaks on being a copycat, especially those influencers who copy content and trends on social media to become popular.
He felt rather fulfilled on his part as an artist; he explains, “Grabe rin yung engagement niya with more than 10,000 comments, at marami sa kanila positive. Ang pinakagusto kong nangyari sa parody na ito is, I got the message across.”
4. “Naman” (2019)
While Michael V. continues in the entertainment and comedy industries, he is also compelled to incorporate social commentary regarding specific social issues.
Much like his song “Naman” under parody artist JK Langpo, which was originally “Buwan” by JK Labajo, it was also the same original artist’s issue that inspired him to write the parody.
The issue was when Labajo supposedly used the term “Bakla” as a derogatory term, which he directed to another OPM artist named Darren Espanto.
Over the years, Michael V. himself has written other parody songs about gays, such as Mamaw, a parody of Narda by Kamikazee.
This time, the song speaks on becoming aware of what people write on social media as well as respecting the gay communities, which have long been harassed by society.
He even goes on to say how being gay as humor is different to the current generation: “Sa panahon ngayon kapag ginamit mo yung bakla in a joking manner, well, the jokes on you!”
It may have been these perspectives of Michael V. that allowed him to become popular and relevant to younger audiences today.
5. “Waiting Here sa Pila” (2023)
Down to one of the current parodies by Michael V., “Waiting Here sa Pila” by Lolo Kanor, originally “Raining in Manila” by Lola Amour.
Following their first hit song “Fallen”, Raining in Manila became a sensation on TikTok and globally after being discovered by Jake, one of the members of the K-Pop idol group ENHYPEN.
Michael V. enjoyed the upbeat music, and being a comedic genius, he incorporated the lessons of being financially literate, especially with the ongoing inflation in the country.
He may have also realized how the younger generation buys expensive coffee as a way of showing social status.
With the recent meme and online humor on buying expensive coffee while budgeting for meals that are either cooked at home (baon) or less than a hundred pesos.
In the parody, Michael V. wears what seems to be a reference to Elvis Presley, who was a sensational figure back in the 1960s.
This may have been a symbolic notion of the youth sensationalizing effect on expensive brands as becoming cool, popular, or staying on-trend.
In the pre-chorus of the parody, Michael V. sums up the irony of saving but continues on spending; the line goes, “Tigilan mo na ang gastos mo sa kape! Panay pa-sosyal pero ‘purita’ pa rin, nakatambak ang bayarin” (purita is a jargon for poor).
There is no doubt Michael V. is a relevant figure to younger audiences, as he is able to adapt and keep the flexibility of his humor.
People have even considered wanting to give him a National Artist Award or recognition for his comedy, which stands out and is in-trend.
Although he does not force himself to be, it may so happen that he has the touch of comedy gold.