Flashback: Working with Joey de Leon on ‘Wow Mali’

Joey de Leon and Mr Fu

My very first show on TV5 was the reformat of the prank show “Wow Mali” with Sir Joey De Leon. (“Sir” talaga kasi pag tito, baka sabihin feeling kamaganak ako!)

Management even changed the title to “Wow Meganon” (oo, may ganon mars!). After a year, they decided to bring back the original title, since “Wow Mali” would always be the recall factor of the show. (Wag nang ipilit yung meganon ko!)

I remember my first taping day with Sir Joey.  I was nervous but I arrived on the set prepared (memorized ang lines, magaling ako dyan!). He was quiet before the shoot. He would smile but not talk to me. (Ayaw ko naman mag-feeling close).

When the camera started rolling for our spiels together, I noticed he was not following the prompter. I told myself, “OK, this is it! Bawal ang pashonga-shonga!” He suddenly asked me things, and required me to react on his antics (na wala sa script ha!). I just did my best not to fail with my encounter with the Henyo Master. 

Right after our first sequence, he looked at me and called the director and the writer. “OK ito,” he said (sabay turo sakin.) then he left for a short break. (Parang biglang may “Twilight Zone” music sa background ko!)

Since then, I would always be with him on the show. We did it together for five years (akala ko nga magiging kami, chos!) but, of course, he started hosting the show way back. It is the country’s longest running prank show that lasted for 20 years (maraming gumaya pero ligwak ha!).

I have learned so much from Sir Joey.  I always I associate him with three letter Ts:  Take 1,  Timing and Travel. (Hindi Tulfo ha!)

Working on cam with Sir Joey means, no take 2s, it is always a take 1 (bawal pamali-mali sa “Wow Mali!”) He is also the king of adlibs! (dapat alam mo ang timing or else, bye!) His love for travel is very inspiring. He even coined T-rabaho, I-pon, T-ravel, E-njoy. (kaya naging feeling traveller na din ako!)

Recently, social media followers would message me about past episodes of “Wow Mali” (akala ko di pa nakakamove-on!). Apparently, after the show’s last episode five years ago, TV5 is now airing “Wow Mali” replays nightly (libreng exposure ito!). It feels good to see the show again. Every episode still makes you laugh (walang kupas!). Thank you to the hardworking and talented staff of the show. (Tumbling at cartwheel sila mapaganda lang ang bawat segment!)

“Wow Mali” will always be one of my memorable TV shows. Airing replays is a good idea but reviving it will be more exciting!  (Basta sama nyo ko ha! tara na sir Joey!)