Gary Lising, 78: Will he have the last laugh?

passed away

MANILA, Philippines — This was how Gary Lising associated some words:

Adulterer: Two wrong people doing the right thing.

Mortician: One whose life is a grave undertaking.

Old age: The hardest thing for me to raise in my garden is my knees.

These, and quite more, are some of the funny memories left behind by Gary Lising, who was found lifeless by his only son Bugs in his condo unit on Friday after Gary failed to answer calls. Lising was 78.

Sleepy-eyed comedian will be fondly reminisced for his unique comedic style which is witty and cerebral, and that set him apart from others in the trade who resort to slapstick, smacking fellow co-performers or conking their heads and resorting to toilet humor to draw laughter from the audience. Gary connected more with the A-list (read: “thinking”) crowd than with the masses.

The sad news was announced by Gary’s brother Pompei in a Facebook post on Friday, “I am sad to inform some terrible news. We lost our beloved Gary Lising, my eldest brother, today. Gary, thank you for all the laughs and love, we will miss you deeply. But I know that your jokes will make God laugh. Rest in peace my dear brother.”

Gary suffered cardiac arrest twice according to reports, first in 2009 and again in 2012, that required angioplasty for more than once. But that didn’t stop him from cracking away in events as if he was the healthiest creature on earth.

Lising was raised in Baguio and went to Manila in 1961, using his comedic talent to raise funds for his studies at Ateneo de Manila University where he graduated with a degree in Economics.

He then goes on board on a career as a comedian noted for green jokes, endearing himself to his audience with his deadpan look, as if he had just been roused from slumber straight onto the stage for what usually turned out to be a rollicking-with-laughter performance.

He ventured into television from the ‘70s to the ‘90s, starring in such ABS-CBN shows as Champoy (with Noel Trinidad and the late Subas Hererro) and Hoy Lising (a parody on the network’s defunct show Hoy, Gising).

Gary was last seen during the Ateneo/La Salle night last April 3 at Bistro RJ, produced by Ramon “RJ” Jacinto. Although he seemed weak, Gary gave his usual rousing performance and the audience never noticed anything infrequent about him as they laughed the night away.

He published several books: Golf; Erap and Other 4-Letter Words; Marcos in Red, Cory in Yellow, Ramos in Blue, Erap in Peach, Gloria in Excelsis; Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask Your Children; and Confessions of a D.O.M. (Delightful Old Man).

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