8 Lessons Budding Professional Hosts Could Learn From Jo Koy’s Golden Globes Stint
Jan 11, 2024   •   Tim Henares
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Jan 11, 2024   •   Tim Henares
Let’s preface this and say it off the bat: we will not kick a man while he is down. What happened at the Golden Globes happened, and we won’t be defending it or lambasting Jo Koy’s efforts. It is what it is, and we’ll leave it at that. Any advice we could give him, he’s probably already told himself by now.
But there’s so much more we could learn from what happened that night because, let’s be honest: Hindsight is 20/20. So, if you are someone who wants to host events for a living, what can you take away from what went down that night?
With only ten days to prepare because he was one of their last possible options, Jo Koy had only so much time to get himself ready for what was probably the biggest opportunity in his life at this point. Is that a lot of time? Of course not. But again, with the benefit of hindsight, we can now safely say he clearly did not prepare enough.
So how does a host prepare? Get your spiels down to pat. Be ready for curve balls. Write even more jokes, if that’s how you roll. Whatever the case may be, simply be ready for anything and everything that could come at you – and make sure to have security present in case Will Smith for some reason starts walking towards you.
Every event has a different audience, which means what might work with one particular crowd might not go over so well with another. Would it have been easier for Jo Koy to just throw away his script and just start over and do a straight hosting job and forgo all the cringe? Maybe, maybe not. If Meryl Streep was any indication, it’s clear some of his stuff worked. But if he figured out his audience better, he might have had the right kind of material that would have landed even better.
Imagine if he made a joke about Taylor that made her laugh on camera. That would have been a crowning moment – but along with preparation, it means being willing to work with an audience that you might not be used to.
Jo Koy has red-hot sold-out comedy shows filled with people who came to see him. Let’s be honest: the guy could go out there and do fart noises for an hour, and there’s a good chance he’d be cheered each and every time. The fact that he was in front of an audience so far from his wheelhouse meant that adjustments needed to be made, and he, unfortunately, didn’t make those adjustments as well as he could have.
Ricky Gervais was ruthless and did not give a damn if the audience in front of him was groaning out loud. He committed to roasting Hollywood’s elite the three times they got him on there, and the fact they got him thrice means he did something right even if his jokes were wildly more offensive than anything Jo Koy has ever come up with.
Billy Crystal was always effervescent and gregarious, the epitome of chill, light-hearted, and charming. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey roasted themselves almost as hard as Ricky Gervais did everyone else, so their self-deprecation disarmed the obviously tough crowd that was the Golden Globes audience.
By all indications, Jo Koy took bits and pieces of inspiration from maybe some or all or even more of the hosts that came before him and did not commit himself far enough to any particular decision. He roasted, but not hard enough. He dropped some heritage, but only toward the end. That was the textbook definition of middling because he never went far enough in any particular direction. And the internet was simply not having it.
Jokes are a matter of taste, so we can table all the talks of misogyny and Pinoy-baiting for now. Nonetheless, what was simply not up for debate was that, as a host, your job is to make things run as smoothly as possible. If there’s ever a hitch at any point, you are the first line of defense. Which is why the minute Jo Koy blamed his writers during his monologue, he did the most inexcusable thing a host could possibly do.
Think about it: his job was to move things along. If there were a technical issue at an event you are hosting, would you call out whoever was responsible for that issue while talking on the mic, or would you keep talking to make sure the people don’t realize everyone else is troubleshooting while you buy them time? Out of everything Jo Koy did wrong, this was perhaps the one thing we simply cannot excuse.
Because he was middling, and because he never got into his groove, Jo Koy the entire night felt off, even when the heat was no longer on him. And that all started with the initial impression he made the minute he hit the stage. His usual stage presence, swagger, and confidence were simply not there. He was a bundle of nerves, and it showed.
Anyone who has seen Jo Koy before knows this is uncharacteristic of him, but it happens. Any host or comic would tell you – when you bomb, you bomb. And how people try to crawl out of that quagmire is what sets aside the good ones from the greats.
Jo Koy’s hosting stint is the product of decades of hard work. He did not land that gig overnight. Whether or not he succeeded at it is secondary to that fact – to even be in that position, you need to put in the work, and the time he has spent on the grind over the years. That’s putting in the work, even if some of us may not care much for that body of work.
And, again – we’re super focused on what Jo Koy did wrong, but it’s undeniable that Jo Koy had some good moments. It’s just that you need to stick around longer than the first five minutes before he gets going.
Some people soberly suggested that maybe Jo Koy should have turned down the hosting gig if he wasn’t ready for it. That’s sensible advice, but it’s also kinda insane.
Imagine yourself in his shoes. You’ve been doing this for decades. Yes, you have some measure of success, but this is the second biggest award show only to the Oscars, and even if every other A-List comedian has already turned it down, that’s only because they can afford to. Can you?
Would you turn down what is literally a life-changing opportunity to finally vindicate the decades of hard work you’ve put into your career, even if not doing perfectly would mean you’d fail oh so spectacularly while still being paid a handsome amount of money regardless? Come on. This is a no-brainer. You take the gig. Why wouldn’t you?
You’re only as good as your last show. Sure, Jo Koy bombed at the Golden Globe, but it might just be us Filipinos and Swifties who really noticed. The rest of the world watched the Golden Globes and glossed over his performance, resulting in the event gaining 50% more viewers this year than last year.
So maybe he did bad. But with numbers like that, would you be surprised if the Golden Globes decided to run with him again next year, and even the year after that? I wouldn’t be – especially not if every other comedian bigger than him will say “no” once again to hosting in 2025.
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