Just For Laughs named Jo Koy the “Stand-Up Comedian of the Year” last summer thanks mainly to the ticket sales for his live touring. That included 11 sold-out dates in Honolulu.
He returned to Hawaii to film his second Netflix special there, in the 8,800-capacity arena.
Whereas most comedians stopped “humping the stool” years ago as a hackneyed or overly aggressive stage technique, Koy remains a proud user and abuser of the otherwise lonely piece of furniture provided for the stand-up comedian. Barely 10 minutes into this hour, he’s pushing himself into the stool to demonstrate why nobody should watch Japanese porn. Later, he’ll return to act out how he attempts to satisfy a woman in bed; he’ll also sit on top, legs outstretched wide.
And he’ll embarrass his teenage son by telling us all about how much they’re alike.
In between all of that, though, Koy has won over the crowd by celebrating the varied cultures of Asians, especially the stereotypes of his own Filipino heritage. At first, he qualifies a bit about telling Asians apart from one another by emphasizing: “It’s by their accents, and only if they have accents!” After detailing the vocal tendencies of Hawaiians, Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese people, he has more than a bit of fun explaining how similar Filipinos are to Mexicans. And not just because his mother cannot spot the difference. “It’s a lot deeper than Vicks VapoRub!” As Koy teases, in fact, the Philippines, unlike nearby Asian nations, bears more Spanish surnames precisely because the Spanish had settled there (via Mexico!) almost 500 years ago.
And Koy’s humor always comes back to his own family, from how his mother treats him, to how he treats his own son. Koy might not make his son take his lunch to school in a used Cool Whip container, or make him cry snot back into his mouth, or even pass along the secrets to cooking perfect rice to him.