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Comic Jo Koy Gets Serious About His Mom and His Filipino Heritage
PHOTO BY @jokoy on Instagram
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • We all know the Pinoy mom is a rich source of comedy, especially when done right. If you need proof, just watch Filipino-American stand-up comic Jo Koy, whose show, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle is currently streaming on Netflix.

    You've probably seen clips from Jo's other shows making the rounds on social media. The laugh-out-loud experience just comes naturally because, as a Filipino, you've experienced those hilarious situations yourself. Jo may have an American accent, but he intimately knows the Filipino family dynamics, courtesy of his Filipino mom, Josie. 

    SmartParenting.com.ph reached out to Jo Koy, a nickname his family gave him as a kid, to ask how growing up with a Pinay mom in the U.S. made an impact in his life. "My mom was able to expose myself and my siblings to a culture that a typical kid in the U.S. does not get," he said via e-mail. "I am grateful to be able to call two very different countries home," Jo added.


    Jo says he got his comedic talent from Josie. "My mom is naturally funny. The stories I get to tell are just a bonus," he shares. According to his website, his mom had always encouraged him to participate in school talent shows and hold impromptu performances for his family and friends. That sounds like a typical Pinoy mom, egging her child to perform during family reunions, right? He says of his material, "It’s from my heart. It’s what I lived growing up so that’s all I can talk about."


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    If there's another thing Jo thanks his mom, it's teaching him the importance of hard work. "My mom indirectly taught me a lot about the hustle and having that drive. I watched her work hard to provide for us, and I learned how important that was and is for me today," Jo said.  (In his Netflix show, Jo mentioned that his parents separated when he was 10. While he has a good relationship now with his father, who was in the military, back then, it was just his mom and him and his siblings.) 

    Hard work is what has allowed him to afford a comfortable life for his son, 14-year-old Joe, who has become material as well for his dad when he onstage. Asked about how parenting styles are different now, Jo shares, "Today, I focus on what Li'l Joe's skills and interests are. When I was growing up, there was a large focus on education above all."

    But there is one common Filipino practice that hasn't changed, and one he values the most: Family comes first. In fact, Jo shares that he and Joe's mom have a good co-parenting relationship. She is a Filipino-American as well, so Joe didn't have a hard time learning about his Filipino heritage because he was surrounded by his Filipino family, according to an interview with Fatherly. Jo also often visits family here in the country with his son. "I made some of my most memorable childhood experiences in the Philippines," Jo shared, adding that he lived here for six years. 


    Thanks to online video streaming, Filipinos here in the country (and not just Filipino families in the U.S) now have access to Jo's shows and enjoy his stories, jokes, and puns Filipino can certainly relate. If you think his mom or his son gets offended by the jokes, they're totally game with it. He says he's really making fun of himself. 

    Jo is currently touring and can be heard on a weekly podcast The Koy Pond via PodCastOne. Soon, we'll be able to watch him perform live here in our shores -- that's according to the man himself. 'Till then, "Enjoy life and keep laughing!" Jo says.

    Watch Jo Koy: Live from Seatle streaming on Netflix. You can also visit Jo Koy's website and his YouTube channel, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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