Sari and Chi Estrada’s big break came when they dared to ask the unanswerable.
In a video released in September, the sisters and comedy duo sing—with straight faces, an acoustic guitar, and full emotion—a song about what it might be like to have a penis. “I don't mean sexually / Just anatomically,” they preface the song.
“Ano Kaya Feeling Ng May Etits?” with its mix of descriptive Filipino and English lyrics has since garnered over 28,000 views on YouTube and been reposted on social media, where it has gotten hundreds of comments in a popular comedy account.
In the song, Sari, 30, and Chi, 27, ponder things like what they’d name their penis if they had one, and what it’s like to pee on plants. Sari said that she’s wondered many times what it might be like to be a man.
“In my case, it’s because I have a tiny bladder and I wish I had the ability to pee into bottles,” she told VICE.
People laugh at the song’s crass lyrics, but the idea behind it actually came from a very real, very relatable experience—period pain.
“It was an odd question I’ve always wondered, especially when I’d be on my period, hormonal, and in pain,” Chi said.
Sari wondered the same, and so they started writing the song. The sisters weren’t quite sure it would fly, since most of the stand-up comedians they knew of were men.
Growing up, Sari said she observed that most comedians in pop culture were men. She even recalled hearing statements like “women aren’t funny,” and said that, for a time, she believed it.
“Even locally, the comedy scene is male-dominated. Most comedians here are straight or gay men,” Sari said. “At times, it felt like there wasn’t a place for me in the local comedy scene.”
Chi added: “The thought of trying to perform with them was out of the question. The abundance of males was too intimidating.”
Despite being into comedy, the duo didn’t think they could make it in the local scene. Now, two years after their first stand-up performance, they’re using their experiences as women to break through the scene. In another novelty song, they sing about the awkward experience of bringing a boyfriend home to meet the family.
For them, comedy is a way to talk about personal experiences and deal with negative emotions. Now that they’re reaching more people, it’s also become about connecting and empowering others to express their authentic selves. They themselves never really planned on becoming comedians full time.
Chi said she was happy just watching comedy shows and performing with Sari for their family at home.
“Being an actual comedian never crossed my mind, because I can’t keep a straight face when I tell jokes. I tend to laugh at a lot of things way too much and too easily,” Chi said.
She only changed her mind when Sari encouraged her to perform at a live show. Sari, who organized the show, remembers it a bit differently.
“The truth is, I asked Chi if we could perform together because I was in charge of populating the lineup, and I just wanted to get my job done faster,” she said, laughing.
In that first show, the duo performed another original song called “Sexy Panties,” which waxes poetic about the desire for sexy underwear and the pressure to get married and have children. Before that, they’d usually keep jokes to themselves because they didn’t have other comedians who were women to look up to.
“So the big surprise for us has been how warmly our work has been received by audiences of different genders, and how supportive our male comedian friends are of us,” Sari said.
Now, they owe their popularity to the internet, which they said provides a bigger stage and a larger audience.
“One thing we noticed is that online stand-up comedy shows are drawing in people who weren’t even aware that there was a local comedy scene. So now, both the audience and the number of local comedians are growing,” Sari said.
Building on the success of their surprise viral novelty song, the duo is currently working on an EP, which they plan to release on Spotify. Besides musical comedy, however, they also have podcasts and more videos in the works.
The duo hopes that their breakthrough in the local scene inspires others like them to try comedy as well.
“Now that we’re pursuing comedy, something I hope for as a female comedian is that a domino effect happens,” Chi said.
“There may just be other ladies who have been curious about comedy, but have been hesitant to try it out for the same reasons I had. Maybe seeing fellow females on stage would lessen their fears and doubts.”
Follow Romano Santos on Instagram.