True story, I once ruined one of Jo Koy’s stand-up segments. My wife and I were seeing him for maybe the seventh or eighth time, and he was joking about this street meat cart in New York called The Halal Guys. Well, The Halal Guys serve superb chicken, lamb, and rice, but the key to their food is this amazing white sauce that the locals sometimes refer to as “crack sauce” since it’s so good.
So, I had no idea where he was going with this routine, and out of the blue, I just yelled out, “White sauce!”, and he stopped, looked me in the face, and said, “Why did you just say that? I was getting to that!” But, that’s why Jo Koy is such an amazing comedian. Anybody who’s seen him live will tell you just how organic of a storyteller he is, and how his jokes just seem to flow so naturally from one bit to the next.
For those who can’t see him live, there are thankfully a few Jo Koy comedy specials to watch streaming online, three of which can be found on Netflix. You may have seen Jo Koy when he was on Chelsea Lately, which was the Chelsea Handler show before she did her Netflix gig. But, Jo Koy is truly in his element when he’s all by himself on a stage holding a microphone. Josep!
Jo Koy: Don’t Make Him Angry (2009)
Jo Koy looks young as hell in this early Comedy Central special. A lot of the routine for this special is what my wife and I used to see him perform in comedy clubs, like his “Ting Ting” bit where he jokes about his young son playing with his penis. Jo Koy also has a really funny bit about losing at Wii Sports to his mom, and also about being the only Asian person in Alabama.
Jo Koy: Don’t Make Him Angry is a great place to start if you’ve never seen him perform before, mostly because he talks about his mom and son again in later specials, and it’s really sweet to hear his son grow up throughout his routines.
Jo Koy: Lights Out (2012)
Jo Koy comes back hard again in this special where his son is growing up and heading into his first year of school, which is both hilarious, and, as I mentioned earlier, really sweet because he loves that boy so much. He also goes into his sleep apnea and how his mom once taped him sleeping and thought he was going to die, which is one of my favorite Jo Koy bits ever.
Overall, Jo Koy: Lights Out is more of the same if you enjoyed Jo Koy: Don’t Make Him Angry, but he’s a lot more relaxed now. You can tell he was getting used to this whole comedy thing.
Jo Koy: Live From Seattle (2017)
And thus begins the Netflix specials. Jo Koy: Live From Seattle is more like the Jo Koy I used to see at his shows, since he’s much raunchier and has whole bits where he just jokes with the audience. He starts it off with a bit on how women will laugh so hard sometimes that they pee themselves, and also goes into how his mom used to try to treat everything with Vics VapoRub.
I also love this special since he continues to riff on his son, who has gotten much older by this point. He has this great bit where he talks about his son having bad breath, and he’ll make him talk to the wall since it’s so awful. It’s the kind of jokes I make on my own kids, and they in turn make on me, so it’s super relatable if you’re a parent. Also, since he’s divorced, he jokes about paying child support, and how women need to be more aggressive about it to get the money they deserve. Overall, it’s a banger, and, up to this point, the truest representation of his personal storytelling that makes him such a unique figure in the world of comedy today.
Jo Koy: Comin’ In Hot (2019)
If you watch only one Jo Koy special on this list, please make it Jo Koy: Comin’ In Hot, as it’s his most hilarious. In this special, Jo Koy is in Hawaii, and he jumps right into it with a slew of rapid-fire Hawaiian jokes. But, this is a special that is all about embracing stereotypes, which may not sound like a good idea in theory, but Jo Koy spins it in the funniest way possible, like when he says that you can tell Asians apart by their accents. He even picks a random black dude in the audience and carries the joke for a good five minutes, all while connecting it to his son who is suffering from what he views as a small penis.
Jo Koy: Comin’ In Hot is just straight up hilarity for a whole hour, and I can’t recommend it enough. I would call this the comedian's gateway comedy special, but I really think it’s his best, so maybe save it for last.
Jo Koy: In His Elements (2020)
And finally, we have his most recent Netflix special, which actually takes place in the Philippines. This is more of a celebration of Jo Koy’s Filipino heritage than it is a straight up special, since we get other Filipino comedians like Andrew Lopez and Joey Guila, as well as a breakdancing segment, and another segment where they cook and eat Chicken Adobo, which is really quite wonderful if you ever get a chance to try it (I’d also like to add that Filipino spaghetti is magnificent, as well as Dinuguan and the desert, Halo-Halo, which I’m only mentioning here since I have no idea when I’ll ever get another opportunity to talk about my love for Filipino food on this website).
It’s a good special to be sure—I especially like the bit where he talks about dancing like Michael Jackson—but I definitely wouldn’t start with this one if you’ve never seen any of his comedy before. This is more like a Filipino variety show than a comedy special.
Honestly, I’m just really glad to be talking about Jo Koy since my wife and I have been following his career for years. If you would like to read about other comedians who deserve their own Netflix series or would like to see some hilarious females who have stand-up specials, or would just like to know about Netflix TV shows in general, then make sure to stop by often!