Jo Koy Performs First Stand-Up Set Since Bombing at the Golden Globes: ‘This is Therapy’

Jo Koy Performs First Stand-Up Set Since Bombing at the Golden Globes: ‘This is Therapy’

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On an icy, 19-degree night in St. Louis, comedian Jo Koy was nowhere to be found.  

Amid a Midwestern snowstorm, his flight from Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City. While waiting for the comic to arrive, a screen read: “No heckling. You are interrupting the show for everyone. Just don’t do it. Hecklers will be removed from the venue.” 

Twenty-five minutes after the 8pm start time for his “Joy Koy World Tour,” the 3,100-seat Stifel Theatre announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience. We are dealing with some inclement weather. The artist will be arriving shortly.” At 9pm, the Tacoma, WA native, Koy, 52, came onstage and was met with thunderous applause of support and a standing ovation.  

“Holy shit, right?,” said Koy of the applause. “This big hug that you gave me is all I need, swear to god. Fucking whirlwind, goddamn.” 

Alluding to his disastrous Golden Globes hosting gig (and the fallout), he said,  “Lot a marshmallows, man. They’re delicious, but goddamn, they’re soft. I just come from a different time. I see the changes that are happening. I get it, but goddamn, can we fucking laugh at ourselves?” The audience roared with applause, and someone from the audience yelled, “Fuck ‘em!” 

Koy said, “I got a feeling none of you motherfuckers watched it, and I’m kinda happy. Oh my god. It feels good to live in this country. We get to say what we want to say. Don’t be apologetic about it at all. Be able to…speak your mind.”

It’s Koy’s speaking his mind that drew the crowd on the cold January night. Amy Thebeau, 45, came from Potosi, IL, to see the show with her cousin, Kayla Weingartner, 40, who came from Sikeston, MO. “We were worried about the ice, but we’re so happy to be here,” said Thebeau. It was their first time seeing Koy live. Thebeau posted on Facebook a few months ago asking if anyone wanted to go to the show with her. And her cousin Kayla commented, “Yes!”  

Koy’s relatability is why Thebeau wanted to come to his show. “When you grow up poor in a big family,” she says, “it’s easy to relate to his comedy. It’s what you’re used to—those big family dynamics.” Weingartner says her mother-in-law is “just like Jo’s mom and the stuff she says…I was really sad that him and Chelsea [Handler] broke up.” 

After vaguely addressing his hosting the Golden Globes––while never naming the awards ceremony outright––the comic talked about his long journey to make it to the night’s standup show. “We Uber-ed here. We fuckin’ Uber-ed here! It was four and a half hours.” Koy and his team had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City, flying from Los Angeles. “My whole crew, none of them brought parkas. Me? I brought two. You think the snow is CGI? It’s real snow motherfucker. We’re inside of a goddamn snow globe! We should be dead right now––all of us. If not by the plane, then by the snow,” he said, miming slipping on a patch of ice.   

Koy joked, “The weather is better in Hollywood, but I’m happy to be in this blizzard. When it rains, it pours.” Dressed in head-to-toe black in a hoodie, black pants, and white sneakers, Koy said, “I have to ask this question, and it’s a serious question: Why do you guys live here? It’s fucking cold! This place should be empty!” 

Koy riffed on everything from the weather to cell phones to the military and getting older. He spoke about cultural sensitivity, and oversensitivity –– and its impact. “Here in St. Louis, [you’ve got] people that listen to you, understand you, and understand we’re not all out to attack each other. It’s stupid in LA.” During the show, while speaking with an audience member, Koy replied to someone, “You want me to guess what ethnicity you are? No! I already got in trouble this week!” he laughed.  

Clearly enjoying himself, Koy said, “Oh God, this is fun.” The audience thundered with applause. “I haven’t laughed in four days. I’m so happy. You guys make me so happy.” 

He shared anecdotes from his childhood, including a stolen Michael Jackson album, the fights his brother would get into, and stories about his stepfather Fred. “Fred is 6’4 from West Virginia. This motherfucker used to eat coal when he was five!” 

Koy shared onstage that his stepfather recently died. “Rest in peace. He just passed.” Koy reflected on the importance of taking risks. “Everybody goes through shit. Everybody has a fucked up family. We’re all fucked up. No one’s perfect.” Koy emphasized the importance of failure, saying, “You’re allowed to fail! Fail as much as you can. Just make sure you get the fuck back up,” he said to applause. “Fuck up. Risk. Take a risk. Without any risk, you’re never gonna know if anything’s possible. I’m back, motherfuckers. Take that risk.”  

At the show’s end, Koy passed out merch hats to several audience members. “This has been a fun show, you guys. I needed it. This is therapy. You guys, I love you. Thank you so much.” 

Koy’s new special comes out on Netflix this year. The “Joy Koy World Tour” runs through May and ends on May 26, 2024, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  

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