Jo Koy’s Just Kidding World Tour saw the Fil-American stand-up comedian performing on 15 December to a 5,000-strong crowd composed mostly of Fil-Aussies. 

Guffaws reverberated throughout the Plenary Hall of Melbourne Convention Centre for a good three hours as Jo Koy or Joseph Glenn Herbert worked the crowd with accounts of his misadventures and family saga.

Born and bred in the United States, all the 48-year-old wanted growing up was to become a comedian during a time when stand-up comedy wasn’t as mainstream, and the thought of a Filipino stand-up comic was as alien as it sounded. 

Everyone laughed at the guys’ travails, from his fledgling days to how Netflix turned him down so many times that the only way to get their attention was to produce his own show with all his savings as his investment. 

His relentlessness paid off and after 25 years, Jo Koy is now a household name to most Americans and Filipinos. He is on his way to making his third Netflix special in the Philippines this 11th January with an all-Filipino cast and crew.

Jo Koy revealed his stage name should have been Jo Ko (ko meaning “mine” in Filipino) as that what his favourite aunt nicknamed him but he thought it was Jo Koy for so many years until the mistake was uncovered. He made fun of his experiences but there’s no sugar-coating the ordeals he had to overcome to get to where he is, which made his stories authentic and relatable. He encouraged the crowd to laugh at themselves as he has likened the stage to a patient’s chair and the crowd his doctor. The only difference is people pay to see Jo Koy find therapeutic relief in telling and re-telling his stories.

The show opened strong with Andrew Lopez and Eric Schwartz entertaining the crowd with their own brand of comedy. Jo Koy didn’t disappoint and gave his fans what they were after – banters with random people, culture-inspired jokes, stories about his son and family and of course, the funniest of all, his imitations of his mum which has been his signature.

What was refreshing to see was a comedian so proud of being a Filipino that whilst he is keen in bringing laughter all over the world, he is also on a deadset mission to inspire the next Filipino stand-up comic and show him or her that it can be done as long as you have the grit, the audacity and the humour to turn all your sob and silly stories to blockbuster shows. 

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