Jo Koy on Comedy: "It's Truth"
Being a father isn't really that different than being a comedian. A lot of it is trial and error. There's no right way to tell a joke, and there's no right way to raise a child. You never really know when either is ready to be sent out into the world, and you're always scared of how people will treat them. But one day, you just do it and hope for the best.
Jo Koy is a comedian and a father, sometimes at the same time. That's evident when you hear his act. But while talking to Koy, you get a sense of just how important family is to him. It's everything. And if he deals with it a lot in his act, it's not because he has nothing else to talk about. It's because everything else seems bland by comparison.
Jo Koy is on tour now, and is waiting for the green light from Comedy Central to shoot his third special. He's a regular on Chelsea Lately and has a podcast with former South Florida radio DJ, Michael Yo, called The Yo & Jo Show.
Jo and I talked about some of these things, and he kindly opened up about the darker parts of his family life. And just when I thought the interview was over -- like any proud father -- he couldn't resist telling me one more thing about his son. It's not just an act. Jo Koy is a family man.
You can see all this for yourself when Jo comes to the West Palm Beach Improv, February 14 to 16.
New Times: So are you working on your third special now?
Jo Koy: This is going to be my third one, man. I'm so excited about this one. I get to see my son grow through my act.
How old is he now?
He's 10 now. I watch these specials, and I get sad. I'm happy, but I'm sad at the same time. I'm like, "Oh my God, my son's growing right before my eyes."
Is he hitting puberty now?
Yeah, it's there, man. He's already showing me. It's kind of creepy (laughs). He's like, "Dad I think there's a hair on my ball."
Is the third special done now, or are you still in the writing process?
No, it's pretty much done. I'm waiting to get green light. They already said that we're going to do it, so I'm just waiting for a time.
So is this special is going to be dealing a lot with family?
Yeah. I'm going to do some relationship stuff too. I'm going to start talking about dating on this one. But for the most part, you know, my son just gives me so much material. To me, it's something I enjoy talking about as a father. I also feel it's very relatable, you know what I mean? I always have people coming up to me going, "My son does the same thing," or, "My daughter does the same thing." I like that. I like my jokes to be more relatable and more personal. More than just being joke-y and writing something witty about whatever is going on.
Has Chelsea Lately really helped your career? Do a lot of the fans of the show come out to see you?
Yeah. You know what's crazy is I started with Chelsea. I knew Chelsea when she was broke. And she was opening for Jon Lovitz and it was a good time. To see this just blow up and Chelsea become the powerhouse that she is is just amazing. And I'm just happy and honored to say that I was a part of that. I got to see both sides of Chelsea. I got to see the up-and-coming Chelsea, and then the Hollywood mega-star that she is. And I love it. I'm so honored and happy to be a part of that, to be a part of the beginning stage of that show when celebrities were hard to book. They wouldn't even do her show. And now it's like, wait in line. And that's just so cool to see.
There's a part in your second special, Lights Out, that I really loved: at the very end, when you bring you son out and you're holding him up and the crowd is standing up, cheering for both of you. You and your son look genuinely proud and happy. Was that a cool moment for you?
Oh, it was the best moment for me. That's one of those things where you dream about it, you know? Like, "Oh, if I ever get that one moment I'd like to bring my kid out." You ever watch a boxing fight, and after the fight the fighter is holding his son or his daughter?