Jo Koy hates to hear this: comedy king gets candid

Estimated read time 5 min read

Don’t wish Jo Koy good luck. He absolutely hates it.

In an exclusive interview with ahead of his show in Abu Dhabi on May 26, Jo says he doesn’t believe in the word “luck.”

“I can’t stand the words ‘hope’, ‘wish’, ‘luck’. Any of those things that sound like you need something more than you; some outside source to help you, other than you,” Jo muses. He also doesn’t like phrases that make you sound unsure of yourself or make you think “something is not possible”.

“I wish I could do that.”
“I hope I could do this.”
“If I’m lucky this will happen.”

“I hate it when I hear someone who thinks that something is not possible. And it’s so possible,” Jo tells

“I don’t like to hear, ‘I hope they like you out there.’ Don’t hope that. They’re gonna like me. ‘Good luck on stage.’ I don’t need luck. I’m gonna be good on stage,” Jo says.

His Abu Dhabi tour follows the enormous success of his show in Dubai last year and comes off his highly acclaimed Universal Picture film, Easter Sunday, and his Netflix special. He is now one of today’s premiere stand-up comedians; a long way from his modest beginnings performing in a Las Vegas comedy club.

“Dad said something that really stuck. He said, “Don’t do what I did and say, ‘What if?’ Just do it.’ When I told him that I was going to be a comedian he was like, ‘Do it. Don’t go through your life saying what if I could have done that?’” Jo shares.

“My dad always wanted to be a pilot and he never did it. Now he’s in his 70s going, ‘What if I did become a pilot?’ I get to say in my heart that I don’t have to say, ‘What if?’ I did it. I did exactly what I wanted to do in life. I’m never going to say what if,” Jo says. His father was in the US Air Force stationed in the Philippines when he married Jo’s Filipina mother whom Jo frequently talks about in his skits and credits for his comedic talents. “Her son’s the reason why people know what a Filipino sounds like, what a Filipino does. So, she’s very proud and she enjoys that,” he says.

Jo loves talking about his family and personal experiences. “As I was growing, the one style I really loved was hearing comedians talk about their family. When I do stand-up comedy, I like to tell my personal stories because I feel you relate to them,” he explains.

Jo says his skits are spontaneous. “I just get on stage and start talking, and it flows the right way. As far as punch lines, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been blessed. I don’t sit there and write punchlines. for some reason it just lands the way I want it to land. It just comes out naturally,” he says.

Does he feel the pressure to be funny all the time? “I just find it me being me. I just happen to be on stage. It’s no different being on stage in the UAE, or wherever. I treat it as if I’m just hanging out with my friends in the mall. It’s the same energy,” he says.

While he makes everybody else laugh, who makes him laugh the hardest? “My son. He’s got a way of making me laugh that I can’t explain,” he says, smiling.

Jo looks forward to spending more time with his son, Joseph Herbert Jr., while doing his comedy. “One of the things I look forward to is continuing to be on tour, traveling the world and seeing places I’ve never seen and having my son right next to me and sharing those moments with him. Even if it’s for an hour. Even for a couple of hours. That’s the world to me,” he says.

Comedian Jo Koy

Rapid fire questions with Jo Koy

Hidden talent
Editing. I love to edit. I have a knack for it. All my specials, it was all me in the editing bay.

“The way to my heart is…”
Just be real and give back.

Favourite word
I can’t say it.

Dream destination.
Philippines, always.

Favourite thing to do during your free time
I really like to just lay down and be lazy. Lay on this couch right here, turn on Netflix and eat! I like to eat! Wherever I sit or lay is where I eat.

Night out or night in?
Night in, all day.

Favourite food
Filipino. I got several, but my sister when she makes tinola, it’s my favourite. When you don’t feel good it’s like that big hug you need.

What do you collect?
Stickers. I like stickers now. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I like to collect stickers from every city that I go to and I put it in my luggage and that’s fun for me. So help me find a sticker out there when I land!

Jo Koy in Abu Dhabi

When: May 26, 2024
Where: Etihad Arena
Jo Koy is headed to Abu Dhabi on his World Tour. This is going to be a certifiable laugh-fest!

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