By Mel Fernandez

AUCKLAND – Joke Lang, LOL or LYAO? Or is it all of the above in the case of comedian Jo Koy, 48, who is of Filipino and European-American descent.

After a sell-out tour in Auckland last year he is on his way back as part of his ‘Just Kidding World Tour’ – which features brand new material. This time around he will perform in Auckland and Wellington.

The comedian, who pulls inspiration from his family, specifically his son, who is 16 years old, sells out arenas and theatres across the world.

FMN: 30 years in the business, 48 years old and arguably the top Filipino Comedian of all Time (outside the Philippines) and a pioneer for Filipino comedians. What has contributed to your phenomenal success? And where to from here?

JO KOY: Staying focus and never giving up. There were a lot of times I wanted to quit, and thank god I didn’t. There is no limit. I’m going to keep going and never set a limit.

FMN: Would it be accurate to say that your focus is Filipino audiences more than mainstream?

JO KOY: I’m just telling stories of my family, and I think it’s relatable no matter what your ethnicity is. From Mexicans to Nederlanders their moms do the same thing, and use Cool Whip containers as Tupperware.  Family is always going be mainstream. 

FMN: You keep on refreshing the content of your routine, will your Mum and your son continue to be the inspiration for your material?

JO KOY: Always! As longs as they continue to do funny things in real life I’ll continue to bring it to the stage. 

FMN: What do you like about New Zealand and what are the touristy things you plan to do here?

JO KOY: Last year, when I was in New Zealand I bungee jumped for the first time with my son. Will I repeat? I’m not sure, and of course shopping. 

FMN: Is the response from Pinoys in New Zealand similar to what you get overseas using this barometer: Joke Lang, LOL or LYAO?

JO KOY: It’s the same everywhere I go. Of course Pinoys come out to support me along with everyone else.

Jo Koy will be performing on 9th December at Wellington Opera House and 10th December at Auckland The Civic.

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In a recent interview Esquire Philippines asked him: “How does your mom feel about the jokes that you have made about her?”

Koy replied: “Oh, she loves it! What mom wouldn’t? She enjoys hearing the stories; she loves it. If I did it disrespectfully I think that she wouldn’t enjoy it, but I put it in a way so that I shine a light on my mom and put her on a platform and it is also something that people relate to. That is what mom likes the most. It is not about just being a Filipino mom, too. Yes, she is Filipino, but she is still a mom and people get it.”

In another interview, this time with Inquirer Entertainment, he said: “I speak highly of the Filipino culture because of my mom.

“What I love the most is that people are loving my mother’s character – because she’s just being a mom! More than that, they’re learning about the Filipino culture. My whole life I’ve always encouraged people to try Filipino food, or just to meet my mom. Now here I am doing that on the world stage!”

As one of today’s premiere stand-up comics, Koy has come a long way from his modest beginnings performing at a Las Vegas coffee house.

In 2017 Koy broke a record for the most tickets sold by a single artist with 23,000 tickets and 11 sold-out shows at The Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu. In response, the mayor’s office in Honolulu proclaimed November 24 as Jo Koy Day.

He continued his record-breaking streak by being the only comedian to sell out six shows at The Warfield in San Francisco. He then broke the attendance record at Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg with four sold-out shows.

In 2019 Koy sold out five shows at the San Diego Civic Theatre, the most consecutive sold-out shows for a comedian. He recently became the only comedian to sell 17,000+ tickets, over 30 shows (in one year), at the Brea Improv.

He was given the prestigious Stand-Up Comedian Of The Year Award at the 2018 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He has had four highly rated and successful comedy specials on Comedy Central and Netflix. His 2019 Netflix special, Comin’ In Hot is currently streaming worldwide.