Whether or not he will still get the posthumous recognition he deserves as National Artist, Dolphy without question had already cemented his legacy as an entertainment icon without peer.
There will never be another one like him. But there are younger talents who will carry on the comic tradition that he will always be remembered for.
There could be a case made for each of our Top 5 in terms of who among them are the true heirs to the King of Comedy’s throne. Or at the very least, who will make us laugh the most in the years to come.
The same can be said for those who did not quite make the cut but deserve special mention, including Joey De Leon and Willie Revillame, among a few more others.
But even as none of them could ever come close to what Dolphy has achieved in over six decades of tickling the entire nation’s funnybone, we can be sure that at least each one will sustain the smile in our faces now that the legendary comedian has answered the call slip of his “Director, Writer and Producer” in heaven.
Dolphy himself wouldn’t have it any other way. The show must indeed go on.
5. VHONG NAVARRO
Starting his career as a member of the all-male dance group, the Streetboys, Vhong has since carved a niche as a comedian and through both his films and comedy recordings has created sketches of such unforgettable characters as Totoy Bibbo, Don Romantiko (from the movie, “D’ Anothers”), Chickboy (from his film, “Agent X44”) and Supah Pappalicious.
Vhong remains a hot commodity of ABS-CBN as host of the noontime talent show, “It’s Showtime,” and as Justin Bibbo in the sitcom, “Toda Max.” He last starred in Star Cinema’s horror-comedy “Bulong” opposite Angelica Panganiban.
4. OGIE ALCASID
Although primarily known as an award-winning singer-songwriter, Ogie has also been making us laugh for only the past 20 years as mainstay of the long-running gag show, GMA Network’s “Bubble Gang” and before that ABC 5’s “Tropang Trumpo.”
He doesn’t appear in movies as often as the others but he almost always do well in the box office when he does as in the case of this year’s “Boy Pick-Up: The Movie” and before that, 2009’s “Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie,” both based on popular sketches from “Bubble Gang.”
3. JOSE AND WALLY
Like Dolphy and Panchito before them, Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola are emerging as the country’s top comedy duo. Although they probably look more like Pugo and Tugo, they certainly are the most sought-after tandem in the live circuit and almost stole the show from the talented OPM superstars that topbilled the recent “Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena” concert.
In addition to their regular appearance on “Eat Bulaga”, they are also the stars of their own weekly sitcom on TV5, “The Jose and Wally Show starring Vic Sotto” and will finally headline their own movie, “Sa ‘Yo Ang Pritil, Akin Ang Bangkusay”.
Jose seems to be the Dolphy in the duo and Wally the Panchito. But until either of them proves his worth as a solo act, they will have to share this place in this Top 5.
2. MICHAEL V.
More than just a bosom buddy of Ogie Alcasid, not a few people consider the comic also known as Bitoy as the funniest man in the country. Many in fact see him as the heart and soul of “Bubble Gang” where he has created such unforgettable characters as Yaya, Pepito Manaloto, Mr. Assimo, Bureche and M.C. Bits, among many others.
His parody songs such as “Sinaktan Mo Ang Puso Ko” (You’ve Hurt My Heart), “Hindi Ako Bakla” (I’m Not Gay) and “Sabog Sabog Tayo” are worthy successors to the irreverent “Tough Hits” Tito, Vic and Joey pioneered in the late ’70s.
Although he continues to headline his own top-rated shows at GMA, much of Michael V’s success in films have come while playing sidekick to Ogie Alcasid and Vic Sotto. Which brings us now to….
1. VIC SOTTO
Even at 57, Bossing continues to enjoy a ladies’ man reputation just like Dolphy before him as he continues to be linked with his co-stars, most recently with Pauleen Luna with whom he has reportedly broken up and TV5 princess Niña Jose, who continues to fondly refer to him as a close friend.
Reps aside, there’s a reason why the “Enteng Kabisote” films rule the Metro Manila Film Festivals almost every year. Even with many pretenders to the throne, Vic Sotto is the only comedian today whose box-office appeal can compare to Dolphy’s.
Bossing has not only been honored as Box Office King for a record eight times by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Entertainment Awards, he has also received recognitions for his sitcoms and TV hosting stints, the most recent of which was as Most Trusted TV Host Presented during the recent Readers Digest Trusted Brand Consumer Survey for 2012.
Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning that “Dobol Trobol: Let’s Get Redi 2 Rambol!” his only movie with the Comedy King, was Dolphy’s last big hit at the box office, grossing over P90 million in its entire theatrical run.
A fitting passing of the torch? Vic has no such illusions.
In his endorsement of the Comedy King’s biography “Dolphy: Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa” in 2008, he said: “Sa dami ng pinagdaanan ng Dolphy, maraming bigas pa ang kakainin ng sino mang humahabol. E may rice shortage. Paanong maaabutan?”