"Chelsea Lately" alum Jo Koy "can't wait" to bring his "Break the Mold" tour to the Savannah Civic Center on Sept. 9.
“I’m so excited. It’ll show on stage, too. I love my job, man," he told Do Savannah. Koy, whose given name is Joseph Herbert (the Jo Koy nickname was bestowed upon him by his Filipino auntie), will be speaking candidly and hilariously about being a single dad to his 15-year-son.
The 40-something comedian grew up in a military family, frequently moving and using humor to break the ice. Cutting his comedy teeth early was rough at first, though.
“The first time I got on stage (we’ll fudge a bit here and say early '90s) was horrific, so bad it took me about six months to do it again,” says Koy. “It was bad for like the first three years. But I still remember that first laugh and that first slow clap... And man, it was like a drug.”
And it paid off. It wasn’t long before Koy was opening for the likes of comedy great Jon Lovitz, putting him in the wings for his other comedy heroes like Robin Williams, Bob Saget and Chris Rock.
“One thing about stand-up, it’s like a fraternity, I think,” says Koy. “It’s like this small group of guys and girls that want to make people laugh. We all become friends and it’s kinda cool.”
It was Lovitz who introduced him to Chelsea Handler.
“We used to do these Wednesday shows and he introduced me to her,” he says. “She started opening for us and when I got off stage one night she’s like, I want you to be on my show; I have a show with E! and I want you to be my sidekick.”
Yep, Koy was supposed to be Chuy — but he turned it down.
“She laid into me,” he says. “I thought I’d lost a friend; I thought I was never gonna be on that show. Then ['Chelsea Lately'] blew up and four months later she called and was like, I want you to be on the panel. The rest is history. I was on that show for like seven years.”
Those appearances, along with dozens of late-night appearances across nearly every network, introduced Koy to audiences nationwide. Just last year he introduced himself to even more with his first Netflix comedy special.
“That first Netflix special I paid for myself. They said no to me three or four times and I knew I had to get it out there on Netflix and I took all my money out and shot it myself and thank God I did ... ‘Cause that changed my life. That Netflix special was everything.”
Now, Koy is prepping for his second Netflix special.
“Everybody gets to see it before I tape it,” he says. “This is my favorite material. All new, different stuff and it's a lot more fun. This is some of my best stuff.”