Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jo Koy in Melbourne

LA-based comedian Jo Koy is in Australia this week and I was extremely fortunate to catch his sold-out show at Crown in Melbourne. (Shout out to my man Mike Chen for hooking that up.) I knew little of Koy prior to the show aside from a couple of Youtube clips, but was blown away - one of the best comedy gigs I've ever been to.

If you've never heard of the guy, here's a clip from a few years back to give you an idea.

While much of his material covered extremely well-worn topics - sex, masturbation, drunkenness, farting - it still seemed fresh and funny. It helps of course to have Jo's energetic style, knack for improvisation and likeable stage persona.

But the highlight for me was the material about his family life, which combined pathos and humour in a way reminiscent of Richard Pryor at his best. There is nothing new about gags based around how nutty parents can be, or the challenges of raising a child, but Jo managed to avoid cliche and be sentimental without being cheesy (a liberal sprinkling of dick jokes helps, of course). The material about being raised by his single Filipino mother, with all its accompanying cultural idiosyncracies, was brilliant. There was a realness about his fond anecdotes about his upbringing that made it more than just hilarious; unsurprisingly it went down a treat with an audience that was at least 60% Pinoys.

After the gig, a few people stayed on to chill out at Golden Monkey (Mike's bar), with the early 90s hiphop soundtrack provided by yours truly. Another treat was to come the following night, as Mike and I caught up with Jo again for coffee in Cafe L'Incontro. (I was feeling very much like Turtle from Entourage at this point.) This was preceded by what was meant to be a few drinks at the Comic's Lounge, which turned into an impromptu set that closed the night's comedy. The punters, who had been there for 3 hours watching a selection of mostly underwhelming local comedians, were given an unexpected highlight as Jo brought the house down. Interesting contrasts at play there; between the more Aussie crowd at Comic's Lounge and the mostly Filipino crowd at Crown, and the gulf in class between the local strugglers and an international-class comic.

Jo is a nice guy as well as a funny mofo... will definitely make the effort to check him out on his next visit.

I look like freakin' Mini-Me in this photo.


  1. I love Jo Koy. He's funny as hell. He sort of reminds me of comedian, Russell Peters, but without doing the accents. Jo Koy is very proud of his Filipino roots. I guess I'd call him a Eurasian Sensation as well. :)

  2. ^ No, Leigh! There can only be one Eurasian Sensation! ;)