You Need To Know
About Jo Koy
By Carmela Mateo
His brand of comedy hits home, especially with Filipinos who can easily relate to his anecdotes about growing up with a mom who has held on to the old-school way of childrearing. Jo Koy, who is known as Josep to his fans, is coming over this month, riding on the crest of his onstage successes such as his Netflix special and his sold out shows form his US tour. Here are some things you should know about him and how he was able to bring his brand of comedy that serves as a shoutout to his Pinoys all over the world.
1. His mom Josie loves his jokes.
She does not get mad about them, she laughs along. “If I did it in a disrespectful way, she would not appreciate them, but what I do is shine a light on her and she loves it!” He says that his mom jokes also resonate with a lot of people regardless if they are Filipino or not, because, hey, that’s the way moms are all over the world.
2. He grew up in Pampanga.
Jo Koy was known as Joseph Glenn Herbert back then, and he enjoyed a lot of things that Filipino kids did with a simple childhood. He loves Filipino food and can throw down on sinigang, kalderata, chicken afritada, monggo, shrimp, pancit bihon.
3. He busted his chops to build his career.
When he first started doing standup comedy 28 years ago, one of his dreams was to perform in the Philippines. “I wanted to do a show where people knew who I was and they were coming to see me, they were coming to see Jo Koy Live in the Philippines,” he shares. He took to the stage when he was in High School and had one of his first gigs at a Las Vegas coffee house. He dropped out of college to pursue a comedy career in LA and took a lot of odd jobs in between. “You can just imagine the journey it took me to get here, it is overwhelming,” he recalls. He conceptualized his Netflix special back in 2014 and it was shot in 2016. He describes it was a long process, and the immediate reaction was so cool.
4. He thinks Filipinos are fun and funny.
One of the things that he loves about Filipino culture is that families often get together to have fun. “Filipinos love to laugh. One thing we like to do is entertain. At our home parties, I would be cracking jokes or my sister would be singing, if not us, a cousin would be dancing,” he says.
5. He’s friends with Apl de Ap.
He was here last year with fellow Fil-Am Apl de Ap, and they did a grand tour — riding bamboo bikes in Intramuros and hitting the beaches. He wants to experience those things again by himself when he comes back to the homeland.
6. He is a fan of Tito Vic and Joey.
He calls TVJ as his comedic influences, watching them on TV when he was growing up. “Even though I could only talk in broken Tagalog, I could easily understand the jokes because they were slapstick and physical. This is the brand of comedy I brought to the stage, where I would move around and act out my characters when I do my routine. I guess that is the Filipino influence on me.”
7. He wore the Philippine flag on Leno.
When he was invited to go on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he had his sister Gemma sew a Philippine flag on his jacket. “It was my shoutout to my Filipinos. They did not know who I was at the time, but I wanted to represent my country on that platform,” he shares. It was a week for Filipino pride, as his appearance on Leno was on the same week with Manny Pacquiao’s Las Vegas fight against Antonio Barerra, the one that is said to have introduced the Pinoy pugilist to the world. They have both come so far since then.
8. Two of his Manila shows sold out quickly; they had to add a matinee.
Jo Koy fans in the Philippines were so excited to catch his comedy shows that his two scheduled shows at the Solaire were immediately sold out. The organizers at MMI Live have since decided to add a matinee on November 30, at 5 pm. He also touches down in Cebu to perform at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino on
What do you think of Jo Koy’s brand of comedy? Share with us your thoughts below!