Jo Koy Names His Stand-Up Heroes, And The Choices Might Surprise You

Jo Koy is one of the most successful stand-up comics working today, consistently selling out shows all around the country. Now he’s finally getting his time to shine on the big screen, as he leads the new film Easter Sunday, which is loosely based on the man’s life as a comic. He has served as an inspiration to many, especially those in the Filipino community, which unfortunately hasn't had many mainstream comedians to represent the culture in an authentic and relatable way. But this begs the question, who were the comics that inspired Jo Koy himself when he was coming up? We got to the bottom of it. 

While promoting Easter Sunday, CinemaBlend’s own Lawrence Sharma had the opportunity to speak with the iconic stand-up comedian. When asked which comedians inspired him Jo Koy said the following:

When I fell in love with comedy, it was the storytellers. So I fell in love with like, oh, and characters, too. I loved people that did characters. So, like, Whoopi Goldberg when she did, I think it was called, “Around the world in ay-tee muh'fuckin' days.” I think that's what it's called. And I think she also did a Whoopi's one man show where she played Fontaine and the little blond girl. And, you know, that was so amazing to me.

While these days Whoopi Goldberg is best known for the 15 years she’s spent co-hosting The View (where she announced earlier this month she's launching a prosecco line), as well as various other film and television projects, we can’t forget that her career began in stand-up comedy, and she was once one of the biggest touring comics in the world. Jo Koy certainly hasn’t forgotten, and Goldberg seems to have helped pave the way for everything Koy has accomplished as a comedian thus far.

His answer certainly makes sense, as Jo Koy himself is known to be a storyteller. Koy's stand-up is often about his family, and he famously does “characters” based on them. As previously mentioned, Koy is the primary Filipino figure in comedy at this point in time, so we can only assume that when he was a kid, there was no one from which he could draw that same level of inspiration. However, as Koy will tell you himself, the themes of family are universal, which is how he found his voice through the work of folks like Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy. He went on to say this:

Then also seeing Eddie Murphy do “Delirious” when he talked about Aunt Bunny and Uncle Gus. And like for some reason, I just identified with these people. I felt like, okay, you know, it's not Filipino, but for some reason I have an uncle that started a fire with gas before to barbecue. So I'm identifying with this. So, yeah, it was like those were the ones that, that inspired me. And then, of course, you know, the Robin Williams and Chris Rocks and the Martins, you know those guys.

Ahhhh, the classics. It’s likely difficult to find any stand-up comic these days that hasn’t in some way been inspired by the likes of Chris Rock and Robin Williams. As it turns out, Koy is no different, despite the fact that he has a different cultural perspective.

With Easter Sunday, Koy gives us an authentic look at Filipino-American families, and how that identity impacted the comic's journey coming up in the entertainment industry. Easter Sunday is putting up some decent box office numbers, and it’s truly one of a kind, so make sure and check it out in theaters right now! As for everything else that’s coming our way this year, take a gander at our 2022 movie release schedule. 

Jeff McCobb
Senior Video Producer

Jeff started his career producing television commercials in his hometown of Fresno, California. After a few years, he came across the opportunity to make a living talking about his favorite thing: movies. Jeff is a film buff who is full of gratitude that he gets to spout opinions about them for a living. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he spends his time complaining about Los Angeles.