Comic Jo Koy reflects on career struggles ahead of filming Netflix special at The Forum – Daily Breeze

Comic Jo Koy reflects on career struggles ahead of filming Netflix special at The Forum – Daily Breeze

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Jo Koy has been working long days, his schedule overflowing with projects.
The comedian and actor is filming the pilot for his single-camera sitcom “Josep” for ABC; touring comedy clubs and theaters across the country (including May 20-22 at Agua Caliente Resort Casino in Rancho Mirage) on his Funny is Funny World Tour; and preparing to tape his fourth comedy special for Netflix at The Forum in Inglewood March 25-26.
“It’s a lot on my plate right now, but you know what? I have been hungry for a long time, so let’s eat,” the 50-year-old entertainer said during a phone interview from the set of “Josep” last week.
Koy is executive producing and starring in the show, which he said has been a longtime dream. The series is based around Jo, a recently divorced Filipino-American father and nurse suddenly thrust into a world of dating. It also stars actress Mia Katigbak as Jo’s mother, Lorna, Rory O’Malley as Jo’s brother-in-law and Kaden Alejandro as Jo’s son.
In the last 18 months, he’s also kept up with “The Koy Pond” podcast and appeared as himself in the feature film, “Easter Sunday,” which hits theaters Aug. 5. His memoir, “Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo,” was published just last year, but he said with this recent batch of career milestones there’s now much more to the story.

Comedian Jo Koy (pictured right on stage with his son, Joseph, at The Forum in 2019) will bring his Funny is Funny World Tour to The Forum in Inglewood March 25 and 26 where he’ll be filming his fourth stand-up special for Netflix. He’s also coming to Agua Caliente Resort Casino in Rancho Mirage May 20-22. (Photo by Mike Miller)

Comedian Jo Koy (pictured at The Forum in 2019) will bring his Funny is Funny World Tour to The Forum in Inglewood March 25 and 26 where he’ll be filming his fourth stand-up special for Netflix. He’s also coming to Agua Caliente Resort Casino in Rancho Mirage May 20-22. (Photo by Mike Miller)

Comedian Jo Koy will bring his Funny is Funny World Tour to The Forum in Inglewood March 25 and 26 where he’ll be filming his fourth stand-up special for Netflix. He’s also coming to Agua Caliente Resort Casino in Rancho Mirage May 20-22. (Photo courtesy of Jo Koy)

Comedian Jo Koy (pictured at The Forum in 2019) will bring his Funny is Funny World Tour to The Forum in Inglewood March 25 and 26 where he’ll be filming his fourth stand-up special for Netflix. He’s also coming to Agua Caliente Resort Casino in Rancho Mirage May 20-22. (Photo by Mike Miller)

Speaking of milestones, Koy recently shared a video chat on Instagram between himself and former Lakers player and coach Byron Scott, who grew up in Inglewood and won three NBA championships with the Lakers at The Forum in the ’80s. Scott asked Koy for tickets, explaining he’d like to pay for them, and Koy told the Laker legend he was “just honored to be playing in your house.”
Scott responded, “You’re playing there because the only people that play there are champions.”
“I thought that was so great,” Koy said, recalling the interaction. “What a champ, man. He was so nice. His whole family is coming and it’s so great to see that type of support within the community like that.”
Koy first headlined the legendary venue with two sold-out shows back in 2019 and found himself so caught up in the moment, he had to bring out his teenage son, Joseph, to take in the experience and roaring audience applause.
“That moment was huge for me,” he said. “I had struggled for so long, so that was kind of my way of showing him like, ‘Hey Joe, you know what? If you dream big, it’s gonna happen. Here ya go! Here’s the proof right here.’ He watched me struggle from the beginning up until then and I wanted to share that moment with him on stage. That was our moment, no one else’s.”
Koy, who’s real name is Joseph Glenn Herbert, grew up in Tacoma, Wash. His father, who was in the U.S. Air Force, met his mother while stationed in the Philippines and the family settled in Washington before moving to Nevada where Koy attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He dropped out to pursue a career in stand-up and early on worked in Vegas comedy clubs and coffeehouses.
He later moved to Los Angeles, where he currently resides, and made a name for himself in the clubs before landing TV gigs. He first appeared on BET’s “ComicView” and went on to become an audience favorite by adding comedic commentary on various VH1 “I Love The …” shows and as part of the round table of comics on E!’s “Chelsea Lately,” hosted by fellow comedian and Koy’s current partner, Chelsea Handler.
It was a slow and steady rise to fame, filled with several moments where it was all too tempting to want to quit, Koy admitted.
“The things that are happening right now, those weren’t given,” he said. “We made this happen. There’s struggle to everyone’s success. People seem to forget that. They think, ‘Oh, he’s successful; he must have had a great time getting there.’ Um … no. There were some horrible times, man, and there were a lot of times when I wanted to give up, but I am so glad I didn’t.”
This year, in particular, has been filled with memorable moments, he added. In January, he headlined Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Wash. near his hometown, a venue where he recalls seeing a sold-out performance by Eddie Murphy in the mid-’80s.
“That is just so nuts,” he said of being able to headline the same venue as one of his comedic heroes. “I was like 15 or 16 at the time and to now be sitting in the venue, next to my son who is now the same age I was at that time, it’s insane. Like what is going on? I love it.”
Koy said he’s making sure to take all of these moments in and enjoy them. He’s also documenting it all on social media and has a camera crew following him around to capture the action. Though he’s certainly grateful for the opportunity to be on television, star in feature films and write books, doing stand-up in front of a live audience remains his true passion.
“I’ve always felt my stand-up was just storytelling,” he said, noting that returning to in-person events following a year and a half off due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been “magical.” “It’s basically me talking about me and telling my story and if you relate, then you relate, and if not, hopefully, you can understand it, get it and laugh. That’s always been my style and I’m not changing that for anybody.”
When: 8 p.m. March 25 and 26
Where: The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood
Tickets: Starting at $62.50 at Ticketmaster.com
Also: 7 p.m. May 20-22 at Agua Caliente Resort Casino, 32-250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $55-$85 at aguacalientecasinos.com.
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