Host Eri Neeman Returns To The Dota 2 Stage
The Philippines’ top hype man takes on the world stage
Presenting: Eri Neeman. You may remember him as the host that brought the Macho Man contest to ESL One Manila and Frankfurt, and the Dota 2 stage has not been the same since. Filipinos are more familiar with his role as Boy Pick Up on the Philippine sketch comedy show Bubble Gang, and his other roles as a standup comedian.
Regardless of where you first saw Eri hype with mic, there’s no doubt that he brings a unique energy and boundless wit to any stage he graces.
“The first time I ever hosted esports was with Mineski’s MSI Beat It! 2014, and then MSI Overdrive the year after. But I’d have to say it was the GMPGL Philippines that became the defining moment in my esports career. It was broadcast over Twitch internationally, and we made a pretty good impression on the international esports scene I think
That was a lot of fun. Looking back, I really had so much fun. That’s actually when the Macho Man contest debuted, and WinteR won. I kind of wanted to show, “this is how we do it in the Philippines”. I didn’t know how much of an impression the game made until ESL One Frankfurt and Manila and people from Beyond The Summit remembered it from two years ago.”
Even before he got into esports, Eri was already at home on the stage, having hosted several miscellaneous gigs since he was 18 years old. He’s been an MTV DJ, a stand-up comedian, and a television host, but it seems he’s found a perfect fit for himself in gaming and esports.
“I’ve always been a gamer so maybe esports was inevitable, even if it wasn’t intentional. In 2013, the esports thing just happened. The Mineski community called me in to host and I loved it. I realized I really enjoy hosting for gamers – anyone who grew up playing video games kind of connects with each other, and I like hosting for communities that like the same things I like.”
Eri is really more of an RPG and Fighting Game player but he’s been brushing up on his Dota 2 for almost a year now. He’s not looking to be an analyst however – he doesn’t even like Dota 2! But he’s willing to learn it if only because he knows the Dota 2 audience has high standards.
“The worst thing you can do is to pretend you know how to play when you don’t. I remember at the MPGL I told the audience I don’t play Dota, but I could school them in Street Fighter if they wanted. I don’t mind acknowledging that it’s not my main game. The Dota community is a very intelligent community, and they don’t take bulls*t. They demand authenticity, and I think that’s great.
After ESL One Manila, that’s when I said, ‘okay, I have to respect this community and play the game. I’ll be honest: I hated it at first. There are some beautiful moments of ‘OMG, I know what to do’ but most of the time it’s just a painful day-ruining road to defeat after defeat. But I told myself, ‘you owe it to the community’. At least now I know I can follow what’s going on when I watch the game and actually get into it.
At the end of the day however, I love the community more than I love the game. The players, the casters, the memes! I like those better than gaining MMR (though I’d love to gain MMR too).”
Now, with the Manila Masters, Eri enters a new chapter in his career. It’s not his first time in front of an international audience, but having been a part of various Mineski events for three years now, he’s excited to be involved in the MET’s first foray into a global tournament.
“This is such a huge deal, the Manila Masters. I mean, it’s our event, you know? MET helped organize ESL One Manila but this time they’re taking the lead and it opens so many doors for esports in Asia. Like, we don’t have to just hope that Valve or ESL will decide to host a premier tournament here – our region is proving it has the capability and passion to support big leagues too, on top of those. I’m proud to see how far MET has come, and humbled to have been a part of it.
I’m going to put a lot of work into this. Everyone is. We’re looking to push the meme game a little further than it’s been pushed before. People are already going to get some grade-A Dota so we’re going to support it with one hell of a show as well. I want everyone to have a good time. I can’t wait to see and feel the hype from everyone again.
It’s gonna be fun. I would be so happy to kill it, to just knock this one out of the park.”