Comedian brings his energy home
Jo Koy is back in the city that started it all—he started doing stand-up at various Las Vegas venues in the mid-90s. “I consider Vegas my home,” he said. Now a familiar face on Chelsea Lately, his stand-up comedy commands large theaters, like his show on June 8 at Treasure Island. Las Vegas Magazine’s Kiko Miyasato caught up with him for a quick chat.
Q: How does it feel to be playing big theaters in Vegas?
A: It’s crazy, I love it! I want to pinch myself. When you’re a (Las Vegas) hometown boy, it just means so much more.
Q: Tell me about your experiences on Chelsea Lately; she can be pretty brutal at times.
A: It’s all in good fun … that’s just how Chelsea is. We’ve known each other for a long time, I knew her before the show and that’s how she’s always been. We play with it, we enjoy it, and I love it. The more attention she gives me, the better.
Q: Have you ever caught any flack from people that you talk about on the show?
A: I did one time. When we were talking about a Playboy centerfold who was dating some guy and they broke up and my joke was, “You should never refer to yourself as a Playmate if you’re a Playmate from 1981, now you’re just some old chick that used to be naked in a magazine.” Something like that—it was really mean. And, she watched the show and I used to be like one of her favorites and she blasted me on Twitter and she had other Playmates blast me. It was crazy.
Q: Can you tell me one of your jokes?
A: When I have to tell people that I’m Asian they give me the worst compliments, they’re like, “Oh my god, you’re Asian? I love orange chicken.” I’m like, “That’s not a compliment, you just insulted me.” That joke changed my life. I was working three jobs at the time—Borders Books, Nordstrom Rack and on a yacht as a catering guy and then I did that joke at a festival. The producers of The Tonight Show saw me and put me on The Tonight Show and I got a standing ovation. The next thing you know I’m on a commercial, I’m on a tour, I got to quit my jobs and I’ve basically been a stand-up comic ever since.
Q: Your comedy influences?
A: Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy Delirious … the greatest stand-up special of all time. What I love about him is his ability to talk to any demographic, he made all his jokes relatable. And then my second favorite is Bill Cosby.
Q: What’s your process for coming up with material?
A: You know, I don’t know, I ask myself that a thousand times and I literally just go up. I’ll say that I’m gonna do something, and I’ll do it, I’ll go onstage and just say it. I write onstage; I just go for it. It’s crazy. I just find what’s funny to me; did my son do something stupid again today? Well, let me go talk about it onstage and bring it up!