Since 1995, GMA 7‘s ‘Bubble Gang‘ has been the ultimate Friday night laugh trip for many viewers. And no other gag show has since equaled or toppled the longevity and enduring popularity that ‘Bubble Gang’ continues to enjoy. Not even in today’s television. But for some reason ‘Bubble Gang’ has encountered some opposition against similarly themes gag shows aired on its timeslot.
A year after ‘Bubble Gang’ debuted, ABS-CBN countered with the revival of ‘Super Laff-In‘. The then-new program introduced viewers to comedians Bayani Agbayani and Vhong Navarro, along with hearthrob Diether Ocampo and future dramatic actresses Glydel Mercado and Mylene Dizon. ‘Super Laff-In’ was pitted against ‘Bubble Gang’ in its Friday night slot, but after the latter introduced the iconic ‘Ang Dating Doon’ sketch, ‘Super Laff-In’ lost viewers and was canceled after three years.
‘Super Laff-In’ marked the only time ABS-CBN made a gag show to counter ‘Bubble Gang’ on the same timeslot. Since then, they abandoned their attempt of a Friday night gag show in lieu of their more popular teleseryes. While they eventually made a similarly long-running gag show in ‘Banana Split‘, they decided to air the said show on Saturday nights in order to avoid competing (and losing) against ‘Bubble Gang’. ‘Banana Split’ eventually ventured into stand-up comedy thanks to ‘live’ shows and spinoffs.
TV5, during its run as ABC in the 1990s, likewise aired their gag shows on Saturday nights; namely Tropang Trumpo and Ispup!. Recently they attempted with ‘Lokomoko’ on Saturdays, until they decided to move the said gag show to Sunday afternoons, which they remain today.
In the midst of a changing weekday landscape, there is still ‘Bubble Gang’ to give viewers a way to end their week on a high note, and more importantly some relief from all the crying and catfighting that teleseryes exemplify every weeknight. But the question is, will there be another gag show on Friday nights that can compete against ‘Bubble Gang’? Who knows, one day there will be. But for now, ‘Bubble Gang’ is the only gag show that matters on Fridays.