They’ve been through a lot in life, but comedians Boobay and Tekla are not backing down from facing life’s challenges.
The biggest hurdle they face today is going head-to-head with the Queen of Sunday Night comedy talk show, Vice Ganda.
The two are set to transition from the online hit duo of The Boobay and Tekla Show (TBATS) to mainstream TV’s unlikely quick-wits Sunday nights after top-rater Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho, beginning 27 January.
Are they ready to topple the box-office star’s flash and fast mouth?
“It’s the management’s decision. For us, this is work. We’re fortunate to have been given work when there are a lot who are as talented and as deserving as us who are looking for work,” begins Tekla in Filipino.
His partner-in-crime, Boobay, agrees.
“We’ll make your Sunday nights even more entertaining and happier,” Boobay promises.
Being pitted against one who has etched himself in the consciousness of Sunday night viewers may be a tall order for the two who have just started “jiving” with each other last year in their online show, but they are battle-tested, real-life warriors who make comedy look like their life when their reality is far from it.
Starting off the presscon with bantering and sampling of their kind of comedy, Tekla couldn’t help but crumble towards the end when he was asked about his past.
“My name is Romeo Librada. I’m a simple person who hails from a mountainous village in Northern Cotabato in Mindanao. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve never liked the darkness because I grew up in a place so far-flung that electricity was hard to come by,” Tekla narrates.
“I really cried. I told myself, I’m getting out of here! When I reached my teens, I went down and studied high school in the city,” he shared.
Tekla’s travails were the subject of the drama anthology Magpakailaman, which aired in June last year.
The episode saw him candid, even shedding tears with host Mel Tiangco. He has seven siblings but they had to part ways when he was only a year old after their mother died giving birth to their youngest. He only saw them again when he was already in grade school. When it was time for him to go to secondary school, he pushed himself harder by sending himself to school. His dream of paradise — a heavenly Manila whose pictures were mounted as collages of his boyhood dreams — turned out to be a turbulent journey.
It was where he rose, fell and rose again. He became known as a comedy bar habitue after working odd jobs. He met his first female love and had a child with her after closing his doors from a previous love with a man to whom he gave everything — sneakers and all. When his female love’s insecurity consumed her and strained their relationship, eventually ending it, he went downhill, consumed with pain, aggravated by the numbing sensation of drugs. His instability led to his career’s demise, leaving him basically back to having nothing, even the fare going back to his house in Parañaque.
But all’s well that ends well. A former comedy bar habitue helped him land a gig in Willie Revillame’s show Wowowin. He would eventually partner Donita Nose.
Similarly leading a colorful life is Boobay. Norman Balbuena had a financially stable life. His father was a soldier while his mother was a teacher.
He was able to finish a Mass Communications course at St. Louis University in Baguio. His was an emotional journey starting with keeping his sexuality a secret from his father who would eventually figure him out; the untimely demise of his mother in 2010 and his stroke in 2016.
This year, the duo could have a break from life’s uncertainties with their first TV show.
Facing off with a comedy stalwart seems but a small feat compared to what they had to face in their lives.