article by Mike Baños

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Jarrel Montes

Jarrel Montes, the 19-year old son of former Kagay-anon television news producer will be making his debut as a comedian on May 9, 2009 at the M Studio at 1001 Meyeside, Mississauga, a city Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario, and part of the Greater Toronto Area. With a population of 704,000 as of 2006, it is Canada’s sixth-most populous municipality and has almost doubled in population in each of the last two decades.

Jarrel is the main event for the evening’s entertainment, titled “Big Penoy” and produced by Studio Six. The show, which runs from 8pm-12mn also features Ruth and Darius, two celebrated singers of the Filipino community; the Over Statement Band and a guest appearance by Jeanette Ricasio.

Jarrel is the youngest child of Joseph “Popo” Montes and Suzette Ricalde-Montes, who used to produced and direct the local news in RMN TV-8 during the late 1990s. Now based in Mississauga, Jarrel still calls the Philippines his home country and Cagayan de Oro his hometown.

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Jarrel Montes, the Big Penoy, with mom Suzette and Dad Joseph “Popo” Montes. (photo courtesy of Studio Six)

Born in Cagayan de Oro, Jarrel spent his elementary school days at Corpus Christi School and had already been tickling people’s funny bones at a very young age.

“When he was but nine years old, he would make family and friends cry their eyes out laughing at his jokes and funny antics,” Suzette recalls. “His unique talent paved the way for his short skits to become a favorite during gatherings. In grade 5 he was recognized as the best actor performing in one school play.”

The family’s migration to Canada when he was 13 did not stop the budding entertainer from pursuing his passion. As an active member of the “Youth for Christ” it was here where he first showcased his talent with his portrayal of a potato that brought the house down, and as they say, everything else was history.

Some of his past gigs include a front act for a comedy night at M Studio where Jarrel was inspired by the presence of popular Pinoy comedian Rex Navarrete in the audience. He also hosted and front acted for Comedy Week, another comedy show which features Laffline/Punchline, a group of Filipino Comedians.

In an article posted at www.ugnayan.ca dated March 19, 2009, writer Gail Limcumpao quotes Jarrel describing himself : “I am baby faced so don’t get fooled by my pogi-ness because really, I am older than you think!” She adds how Jarrel is “an ordinary guy who likes video games and making random funny videos.”


The Big Penoy from Cagayan de Oro will tickle your funny bone. (photos courtesy of Studio Six)

In the subsequent interview by Limcumpao, Jarrel said he simply “stumbled” upon being a comedian after “walking aimlessly” for a while. He claims he gets the inspiration from his gags by observing how people do things, especially Filipinos whom he describes as “seriously born funny, from their logic to the accents, endless possibilities.”

“By observing, I usually research the source on why people do them, but other than that just going around the city or even talking to random people I can already get a sense of what to talk about,” he adds.

Besides the usual Filipino stereotype jokes, Jarrel said the audience should just come in for a good time and not expect anything to enjoy the full impact of anything he takes out.

Mississauga is an ideal springboard for Jarrel’s career. It is now the fourth most populous municipality in the Great Lakes, and has grown faster than both Cleveland and Milwaukee during the past decade, mainly due to its proximity to Toronto.

With five major highways passing through the city, Mississauga has access to major destinations in Canada and the US, and Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest, is located in the city.

Mississauga also has one of the largest corporate/financial districts in Canada with Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Pepsico, General Electric, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Fujitsu, Wal Mart and other Fortune 500 companies basing their Canadian headquarters in the region.

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