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Eri Neeman on #KalboGamma and Pairing Suits with Sneakers

Style | Complex Philippines - eri neeman kalbo gamma new balance thumbnail
James Francisco

With his #KalboGamma posts and #AddtoCartAdventures with his wife Monica, the internet is losing itself over Eri Neeman and his brand of self-deprecating humor. There is no shortage of hilarious comments, jabs, and impressive fan edits referencing his naked dome and couch exiles, all in good fun. As his followers put it, Neeman’s content is a welcome break – or a bright light –amidst the seemingly endless doom-scrolling on our feeds.

“I get a lot of sincere messages from fans saying “Thank you so much. You make me laugh. You are my midterm pill,” says the 36-year-old comedian. “That makes my day. So I’m like, “No worries, man. Kahit t*rant*do ka, okay lang.”

This endless banter with his community is the lifeblood of Neeman’s content – and the envy of content creators, who know that audience loyalty is rare and valuable. Like his contemporaries such as Red Ollero and James Caraan, Neeman has leveraged social media to introduce his brand of comedy to a broader market while boosting his career in the process.

“I started in hosting. I’ve been doing that for more than 15 years,” says Neeman, who inserts sneak peeks into his hosting gigs, usually with weddings, in between bits with his audience and fellow creators.

He has dabbled in acting, mostly in supporting roles for shows and films under ABS-CBN and GMA. He also auditioned for MTV’s VJ hunt, where he described one performance as “horrible.” But it is on the stage where Neeman found his groove, leveraging his passion for improv to hone his hosting and content.

“I wanted to be funny. I love making people laugh,” said the actor, who did standup for seven years and founded Comedy Manila with comedian GB Labrador. “I remember watching John Santos, who was so hilarious. Whenever I see someone who can make people laugh, I go, “Wow” like I saw a superhero.”

“I’m like “Ang galing, how do you do that?” I truly admire people who can.”

Between his standup days, event hosting, and marital shenanigans, Eri Neeman has shared a lot with his followers. But the comedian unveiled another side: his unbridled love for sneakers.

Neeman has made a name in the hosting community for his suits + sneakers combination, his go-to for any type of function. He says this love affair started due to his desire for comfort, which reflects his personality in his routines. 

“I never liked the leather shoe route because it's uncomfortable. I like walking around because I have a lot of energy. It’s hard to do comedy when you can’t move.”

“I like the whole no-tie, button-up look with a white pair. If I could wear that all the time, I would. There was a period when I was known in the wedding community for hosting with sneakers. They’re just comfy.”

Eri has many tastes, and his willingness to share them makes him one of the must-follow content creators today. Below is our conversation with Eri Neeman about his sneaker recos, his all-time GOAT pair, and the secret to good content.

What's your fave suit and sneaker combo?

With sneakers, the first thing that gets me is, “Does the look feel like me?”. The type that makes you go, “I want it!” The last time I felt that was with the black and blue Nike Sacai LD Waffle. It looks so clean and different.

Going with slim sneakers works well if you want a nice sleek look with your suit. The New Balance 247 or 327 is a good look for that. You can also go with Chucks, Stan Smiths, or Common Projects.

I like simple colors. You can’t go wrong with all whites or blacks. Personally, I like black pants paired with black sneakers. White ones go with almost all suits. I also have a soft spot for burgundy and maroon because I grew up in a house that had a lot of those.

You can also match the sneaker color with your suit color but accent it with white socks to match your buttoned-up white inner.

As for suits, I personally like the more relaxed look. No tie, white inner buttoned-up, and white sneakers.

At the end of the day, there are many ways to go with sneakers and suits. Google for looks you like and see what style resonates with you the most.

Once you have a good idea, then you can start forming your personal sneaker x suit style.

You’ve been posting about New Balance a lot. Is that your GOAT pair?

It depends if it’s for comfort or style. I’m size US 12 with wide feet. [New Balance] is just so comfortable. I had my first running shoe and was like, “Wow.” So I’d single out the NB 574s, although I would never wear them at a function because they’re just not my look.

Style-wise, you could always go right with Nikes. They have so many iconic models. The Sacai is the ultimate pa-pogi shoe. If you’re going on a date or a meeting or have clients you want to impress, the Sacai will make a statement. The bulky Air Max 90 looks good with suits.

What about Jordans or Yeezys?

I find Yeezys ugly. I’m sorry, but that’s just me. For a particular personality, they’re great, but they’re not me. I don’t like the way they look.

What are your top tips for copping sneakers?

Getting sneakers is a journey. You’re gonna come into yourself and discover who you are.

Go for sneakers that make you happy. If you’re gonna get a pair because your friends are talking about it or it’s trending, I don’t think that’s a healthy way of going about it. You’re putting other people’s opinions over your preferences.

Buy something that makes you feel good. That makes you say, “ah, that’s me.” So go for things that make you happy. And accept that your style will evolve.

Does your wife share your love for sneakers, or is that an auto-exile to the couch?

To be clear: #AddtoCartAdventures is something my wife and I do for entertainment. In line with ATCA, basta hindi sumobra. If she saw me right now, with this pile, I’ll clarify that I already have them, may resibo lahat ‘to.

I’m slowly trying to convert her. She had some PUMAs recently. She leans more toward boots; she has this badass style, but my wife looks good in sneakers. When I met her, she was wearing Chucks. So I’m still trying to convert her, but I think it’s working.

Speaking of #AddtoCartAdventures, what is the key to making engaging content?

It took a while to get here. When you step into the [content creator] space, it’s easy to be self-conscious: I need to be this, I need to be that. When you think about the clicks, the views, or the “clout,” you can get lost in the sauce. You lose your identity, which I don’t think is a healthy way of going about it.

It took me two years to [find the right formula]. I once asked a YouTuber for advice: “How do you get the perfect mix?” And the answer is it’s when both you and [the audience] are happy.

What I do on video is what I do when I host. I don’t have to create nice templated memes or fancy cuts; that’s just not me. Why would I stray from the things I do anyway? The more you [create], the more you’ll realize who you are.

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