By Joseph Pimentel/AsianJournal.com
AFTER a hilarious panel performance, FilAm comedian Jo Koy gives his audience yet another jocular reason to smile.
On November 6, during the taping of E! Cable Television Network ‘Chelsea Lately,’ Koy announced that he is set to have his own show on cable TV. ‘Chelsea Lately’ is one of E!’s top-rated shows and is hosted by female comedian, Chelsea Handler.
“I’m coming out with a new comedy series that will be shown on Comedy Central,” said Koy to the audience as he left the set to the green room.
Comedy Central signed Koy to a one-year, one-season deal last August. He is being represented by one of the most illustrious talent group in Hollywood Creative Artist Agency (CAA).
Koy said that the format of his show is going to be similar to Carlos Mencia’s “Mind of Mencia,” but with a Filipino flavor.
“It’s going to be a variety show focusing on different topics like growing up Filipino and Asian and just growing up in general,” he said in an interview with the Asian Journal.
“I want this to be about us,” he added.
Koy also recently filmed a 30-minute performance on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” program.
Koy permitted the Asian Journal to accompany him during the taping of his panel appearance on ‘Chelsea Lately.’
Koy was part of a panel which included Dr. Drew Pinsky from Loveline and Star Magazine Editor Bonnie Fuller. They talked about different topics including magician David Copperfield’s recent legal woes, Sarah Jessica Parker voted as the un-sexiest woman alive and other things going on in pop culture.
During the taping, the audience laughed their loudest when Koy made fun of the issues.
“Chelsea is great,” he said after the show. “She’s awesome. She was just really quick [and] on-point. I’m just happy that I sat right next to her.”
“My favorite jokes of the night were [about] Star Jones. I thought that was funny,” he added. “And Sarah Jessica Parker when I said ‘if she had a brother that they would look exactly the same.”
“Overall, I gave my performance an eight or a nine. It was fun.”
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Koy started performing since he was young child. Koy is half-Filipino, half-Caucasian. However, he relates with his Filipino side the most.
“My [Filipino] mom raised me and my sisters,” he said.
Koy’s pale complexion is not typically Filipino, but he is definitely Pinoy. Koy’s comedic routine normally includes jokes about growing up Filipino. He would joke about how his mom would point things with her lips or pick things up with her feet.
A crowd favorite, Jo Koy also impersonates the way his mother mispronounces her P’s and F’s.
“My mom would always ask me, ‘Josef, are you going to the Laugh Pactory.’ Are you going to be punny?”
Koy credits his mother for his comedic and acting talents. At an early age, he and his sister Rowena (a Las Vegas singer) were always encouraged by their mother to participate in school talent shows and impromptu performances in front of family and friends.
“My mom used to force us (my sister and I) to these school talent shows,” he reminisced. “She would get all into it. My sister and I did a Michael Jackson performance and my mom made the rhinestone gloves just like Michael Jackson.”
From Open Mic…
Koy started his career as a comedian after high school doing open mics in a Seattle coffeehouse.
“I remember having to perform while the workers would grind coffee,” he said. “I bombed. I wasn’t any good.”
However, it wasn’t until his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he seriously considered a career in comedy. In 1996, he started making a name for himself at comedy clubs in and around Las Vegas. He finally got a break when he tried his luck at the Catch a Rising Star comedy club at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
He said a talent coordinator from Los Angeles helped him land his first television appearance on the nationally syndicated show BET’s ‘Comic View.’
A week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Koy won at the prestigious Showtime at the Apollo.
For the next few years, Koy bounced around the college and comedy club circuit. He has opened for comedians Dave Chappelle, Mike Epps, and rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg. He has also performed overseas for American Troops in Japan, Korea and Okinawa in the USO tour.
Koy’s career began to flourish when he moved to Los Angeles. He became a regular at the world famous Laugh Factory. The birth of his son motivated him even more to make it in the tough business and gave him comic relief as well.
“It’s one thing to be a struggling artist but another when your kid is starving,” he said.
Laugh Factory Owner Jamie Masada told this reporter two years ago that “Jo Koy is going to make it in this industry. He has everything. He is a mixture of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Jim Carrey.”
Last year, he received his biggest break when he performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Koy sported a jacket with a small Philippine flag above his heart. He was the first Filipino to be on the show.
“They don’t allow logos of any kind but I felt it was important to represent being Filipino,” he said.
His performance garnered him a standing ovation. He is only one of three comedians in the history of the show ever to receive a standing ovation. Following that momentum, he performed for the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show before touring the nation with Carlos Mencia’s Punisher Tour.
Earlier this year, the Entertainment Trade Publication Daily Variety mentioned Koy as one of the “10 comics to watch” of 2007.
Comedy Central saw his enormous popularity and pounced on Koy when the opportunity arose.
“It took me 12 years to make it,” admits Koy. “It took eight/ nine years just to get an agent. I deserve this because I worked hard.”
Not bad for someone that never received any formal acting or comedic training.
Writers Strike Impact
After Koy signed the deal with Comedy Central last August, the Writers Guild of America went on strike and had a slight effect on the production of his show.
For the past few months, the show has been in pre-production.
“It doesn’t affect me so far,” he said. “Since my show is new, it’s non-WGA but eventually, we are going to look for writers that are WGA affiliated.”
Koy said he understands the writers’ plight.
“I want them to get what they are fighting for because it’s only a matter of time before I’m in their shoes.”
Asked when the show was to be aired, Koy said, “we go in full production mode in January. Right now, we’re waiting for the strike to end and [we are] hoping that it will be settled within the next few months.” (AJ)