A GoPride Interview

Jo Koy

Jo Koy: When people call me a storyteller I take it as one of the biggest compliments.

Wed. June 15, 2011  by Jerry Nunn

When people call me a storyteller I take it as one of the biggest compliments.
Jo Koy

Filipino comedian Jo Koy, known from Chelsea Lately, is bringing his hilarious stand-up to the Windy City

Comedian Jo Koy is the Filipino on fire that many know from the weekly roundtable on E!'s Chelsea Lately show. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Jo Koy has come a long way since his modest start performing at a Las Vegas coffee house. His DVD "Don't Make Him Angry" highlights his hilarious stand-up, which he brings to Chicago as part of the Just For Laughs Festival.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Jo. So you are coming to town…

JK: (Jo Koy) Yes, my first time at The Vic Theatre. What is it like?

JN: It's big. Usually it is a concert venue.

JK: Now they have a few comedians there. Whitney Cummings is after me.

JN: You have been to Chicago before?

JK: Oh, yeah. One of my favorite clubs is the Improv, which is located just outside of Chicago in Schaumburg.

JN: I spoke with Loni Love out there.

JK: Nice! Thanks a lot for not coming to see me. That was a backhand to my face. I guess you will drive an hour for Loni…

JN: I didn't know you then! I never know how Chelsea's posse is going to be. She flies in on her private plane these days.

JK: I will be flying in on Virgin.

JN: You will get your own plane one day if you keep at it.

JK: Yeah, someday…

JN: I saw Chelsea Handler throwing eggs at you in that video online.

JK: Yes, it is nonstop. It is physical eggs or sometimes emotional eggs, whatever she can do to hurt my feelings.

JN: How long have you been on her show?

JK: Basically since it started.

JN: That has been a good gig for you.

JK: Chelsea has been very nice to me. She is a sweet person. You can tell since she shares a roundtable with everybody.

JN: I heard she is giving as comedian.

JK: She is and pretty much with her close friends, too. She has weeded it down to a handful of people that she really likes to work with and I think that is really cool.

JN: What has been the latest hot topic that you all have talked about?

JK: We keep away from the obvious ones like Charlie Sheen or Lindsay. We have been going a different direction. Bill Weiner is the last one we talked about. You can't walk away from that idiot. My favorite thing that Weiner said is someone stole his phone and hacked his Twitter account but if you look at his Twitter it is a picture of him holding a sign that is saying it's me @weiner.

JN: What else does he need to do? Skywrite it?

JK: Exactly, this guy is an idiot.

JN: I have been watching your Don't Make Him Angry DVD. It is really funny.

JK: Oh, thanks. That was a hard thing to shoot because of technical problems at the theatre. It ended up coming out really well. That was my first hour special. I am getting ready to shoot another one.

JN: You are?

JK: Yes, I am shooting it in August.

JN: What is it going to be called?

JK: I don't even have a name for it yet but I can't wait!

JN: Where?

JK: Pasadena, California. I really like the material that I wrote for this particular special. I will be doing my new routine at The Vic.

JN: So we get a sneak preview!

JK: Yes, I will be working it out.

JN: You seem to have your own comedic timing. Do you have a comedian that you look up to?

JK: When I first started comedy it was all about Eddie Murphy. It was a combination, too, because I was in love with Bill Cosby. No one can tell a story better than him. I think that is where I got my inspiration from when I tell those stories about my mom or my son. My influence was Bill Cosby. I love that style of humor and the storytelling. When people call me a storyteller I take it as one of the biggest compliments. I really appreciate it.

JN: What does your mother think of your show?

JK: My mom loves it and the more I talk about her the better. That is her whole thing.

JN: So she likes that part of it?

JK: My mother gets mad if I don't say anything about her before the end of the show. She doesn't care how the audience appreciated me. She will walk up and say, "You didn't say anything about me? Really? That is selfish!"

JN: She is very competitive isn't she?

JK: Oh yeah, it is all about her. I don't mind. She deserves it. She went all of the way out for me.

JN: Would you ever grow your hair out?

JK: I can't. I am physically bald. It is literally not a choice. I have the worst hairline. It starts at the top of my head. That is where my hairline starts. It's horrible. I have these two Phil Collins things on the side of my head. You know what I mean?

JN: Yes. Well you look younger than you are.

JK: Thank you, man, but I am old as shit.

JN: Carlos Mencia is performing at the Improv. I wanted to tell you.

JK: I didn't know that.

JN: He helped you get your start correct?

JK: He saw me do the Tonight Show and that was it. It was over with. He saw the performance and took me on the road with him. I never had to work again. I have been doing stand-up full time ever since that day. I owe a lot to him. He took me on a huge tour for five months. I made a lot of money and put some away for my son's college. In each city I got to meet managers of the clubs and then was able to headline there after.

JN: You are doing well now.

JK: Thank you. You know what is really cool is that show I was working on got picked up by NBC. The pilot with Chelsea Handler is based off of her book called "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me Chelsea." It was just picked up for mid season and I am starring in it.

JN: Chelsea is moving into the major networks.

JK: It doesn't even matter, She is killing everybody. She's amazing. Once you have a private jet then it's over with. You know your life is good when you can tell the pilot, "I am going to be a little late, hold on!"

JN: So you have a new revamped website coming out?

JK: Yes, I have a new website coming out real soon. It will take a few weeks to actually launch but I am very excited because it will be more of a more fan friendly type website. I will be interacting with the fans a lot more on this one.

JN: Get some videos on there because they are funny.

JK: We are already doing that, just wait and see!

Check it out at www.jokoy.com. His show is June 15 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 North Sheffield. For tickets and more comedy this week from acts like Steve Martin, George Lopez and Martin Short visit www.justforlaughschicago.com.

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.