Jo Koy facts

If you’re a frequent consumer of stand-up comedy clips on social media, Jo Koy is likely a familiar face. But beyond cracking relatable jokes about the quirks of Filipino culture, he’s making big waves in Hollywood as an actor and now a prestigious awards show host.

Get to know more about the Filipino-American comedian with this list of Jo Koy facts – from his flourishing career to the days named after him in the US.

1. He’s half-Filipino and half-American

Jo Koy facts - Filipino
Image credit: @jokoy via Instagram

The term or Fil-Am can be confusing at times as it could mean both biracial Filipino-American and a full-blooded Filipino who was born and raised in the US. But to be clear, Jo Koy belongs to the former.

The comedian was born to a white American father and a Filipino mother on 2 June 1971 in Tacoma, Washington. As of writing, he is 52 years old.

In fact, among the skits that made the comedian famous were those where he shared some of the quirks of Filipino culture, including Filipino moms’ unique parenting.

2. Jo Koy is actually a misinterpretation of his nickname

How Jo Koy Got His Name | Netflix Is A Joke
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How Jo Koy Got His Name | Netflix Is A Joke

Video credit: Netflix Is A Joke via YouTube

In the early days of his career, the comedian went by his real name, Joseph Glenn Herbert. While the audience found his name amusing, he eventually grew tired of the repetitive joke and decided to adopt a new screen name.

The moniker Jo Koy was inspired by his aunt, who called him by that nickname. However, after nearly 3 decades of using Jo Koy as his screen name, he discovered that his aunt had actually been saying “Jo ko,” which translates to “my Jo,” and he had misheard her all along.

3. He’s been a comedian for 30 years

Jokoy show
The comedian at a show in 2015.
Image adapted from: @jokoy via Instagram

Jo Koy kicked off his career in 1994 at a Las Vegas comedy club. Shortly after, he became a regular on the renowned show Catch a Rising Star at the prestigious MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

Before the popularity of comedy specials, Jo Koy built his name through numerous stand-up comedy performances on various US TV shows, including an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2005.

4. He’s had 6 comedy specials and sold-out stadium shows worldwide

Jokoy comedy tour
A sold-out show at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Image credit: @jokoy via Instagram

Proving his comedic prowess, Jo Koy has delivered several comedy specials over his three-decade career. He marked his comedy special debut with “Don’t Make Him Angry” on Comedy Central in 2009, followed by “Lights Out” in 2012.

In 2017, he scored his first Netflix comedy special. Today, he has 4 specials with the streaming platform, with 2 more slated to come out soon.

Following the success of these comedy specials, Jo Koy has done sold-out shows in theaters, arenas, and stadiums across the US and around the world.

5. He has a son, Joseph Jr.

Jo Koy son
The comedian with his son, Joseph Jr.
Image credit: @jokoy via Instagram

Jo Koy frequently posts photos with his only child, a teenage son named Joseph Jr., on social media. The comedian seems to bring him along on tour a lot, including when he visited the Philippines.

Joseph Jr. is Jo Koy’s child with his ex-wife, Angie King, from whom he got divorced in 2013.

6. He led the all-Filipino movie, Easter Sunday

Jo Koy facts - Easter Sunday movie
Image credit: IMDb 

Jo Koy has ventured into acting as well. In 2022, he took on the role of the main character, Joe Valencia, in the all-Filipino cast Hollywood film, Easter Sunday.

However, Easter Sunday isn’t Jo Koy’s first foray into motion pictures. The comedian has previously undertaken several minor film and TV roles, including lending his voice to animated characters.

Beyond stand-up comedy and acting, he has also published his autobiography, Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo in 2021.

7. He’s the first Fil-Am to ever host the Golden Globes

Jo Koy facts - Golden Globes
Image credit: @goldenglobes via Instagram

Jo Koy just recently had the honor of hosting the 81st Golden Globe Awards on 7th January 2024.

It’s the comedian’s awards-hosting debut and also a historic one, as he’s the first Filipino-American to ever host the prestigious event.

8. Several US cities named a day after him

Jo Koy Day
The comedian being awarded his own day in Daly City in 2022.
Image credit: @jokoy via Instagram

Jo Koy has brought pride and representation to Filipino-Americans such that several cities in the US have named a day after him.

In 2017, the Honolulu mayor’s office declared 24th November as Jo Koy Day after he broke the record for the most tickets sold by a single artist at their Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall.

From 202o to 2022, 3 cities in California have also declared a Jo Koy Day, namely San Diego (16th October), Daly City (22nd July), and Los Angeles (7th October).

Things to know about Fil-Am comedian Jo Koy

Given the many years of experience and accomplishments under Jo Koy’s belt, the fantastic projects coming his way come as no surprise. And seeing the waves he’s making, the future looks bright for more Filipinos in the Western entertainment industry!

Get to know Dolly De Leon, the stellar Filipina actress who was nominated at last year’s Golden Globes. Or discover more inspiring Filipino American personalities – from singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo to drag queen Manila Luzon.

Cover image adapted from: @jokoy via Instagram, @goldenglobes via Instagram, @jokoy via Instagram


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