‘Tita’ is the Tagalog word for ‘aunt’, and every family has a favourite aunt who loves to tell jokes.
That’s the idea behind a group of five Canadian Filipino performers, who use humour to talk about a range of issues in the community.
Called the Tita Collective, the Toronto-based ensemble is composed of Belinda Corpuz, Alia Rasul, Ann Paula Bautista, Isable Kanaan, and Maricris Rivera.
In March this year, Tita Collective made its debut at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, which is described by organizers as Canada’s preeminent comedy festival.
For a group making its first appearance, Tita Collective made a splash, winning the Producers’ Pick Award.
On Twitter, the group declared that members are “overwhelmed with all the love”, and that they are “absolutely over the moon about it!”
Festival organizers note that a “Tita Joke” is the “Filipino cultural equivalent to the western ‘Dad Joke’.”
“In Philippine culture, it’s the tita in your life, your aunt, your mom, their friends that make those jokes that you love to hate,” organizers wrote on the festival’s website.
Those jokes may sometimes sound corny or cheesy, but they’re a hit “because Filipino women are funny as hell!”
After the festival, Tita Collective was featured by CBC.
“Through comedy, we talked about some issues in the Filipino Diaspora that is kind of tricky to talk about, and I think through comedy we were able to touch people,” Kanaan said in the CBC story.
With performances primarily focus on their cherished ‘titas’, the group is able to tackle some difficult subjects.
“We talk about things that people try to avoid — queerness, sexism, classism," Rasul said.