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Monday, June 24, 2024

Fil-Am comic bombs at Golden Globes

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In entertainment, a poorly received performance or mistake could also inadvertently reinforce stereotypes or biases against Filipino-American entertainers

Fil-Am comedian Jo Koy landed an opportunity of a lifetime when he was asked to host the 81st Golden Globes Awards on Jan 7, but tanked so terribly that many are saying his burgeoning career in the mainstream could be over.

His misogynistic jokes about Taylor Swift and Barbie failed to land, as did most of his cringey, awkward monologue.

“Oppenheimer and Barbie are competing for cinematic box office achievements. Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project. And Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.

[…] And Margot [Robbie], it’s not always about you. The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite, and flat feet. Or what casting directors call ‘character actor.’”

TIME’s Cady Lang panned his performance as being “cumbersome, contentious, and profoundly uncomfortable” as well as “decidedly unfunny.”

From Rappler to Rolling Stone, news platforms around the world wrote about how the live audience soundly booed Jo Koy’s performance.

Born Joseph Glenn Herbert in Tacoma, Washington to a Filipino mother and a Caucasian father in the U.S. Air Force, Jo Koy gained popularity for his comedy specials and appearances on various platforms, including films and TV.

His signature schtick involves his experiences growing up in a Filipino household, playing up family dynamics and cultural stereotypes.

To save face during the event, he did one of the worst things possible – he threw other people under the bus, saying about the writers, “You want a perfect monologue? Yo, shut up. You’re kidding me, right? I wrote some of these, and they’re the ones you’re laughing at.”

He says he was hired to host only 10 days before the Golden Globes, after Ali Wong, Chris Rock, and other comedians declined.

The event has always been a tough-crowd type, perhaps the reason everyone else turned it down.

Some years back, I watched him perform live in San Francisco.

My sister paid for my ticket and insisted I accompany her to the gig, saying he was funny AND Filipino. I’d not heard much about him prior to that, and went prepared to have a good time.

I didn’t have a good time.

I found Jo Koy’s digs at his mom and son distasteful, and, unlike truly good comics, he didn’t have a sense that he had pushed too far and so hard that the jokes broke.

Later on in the show, I just heard him trot out a lot of green jokes that were unamusing at best.

There was no insightful and nuanced wit.

But that was just my opinion.

Now that he’s in the world’s spotlight, a lot of netizens are saying they also never found him that funny to begin with, particularly over his mom jokes where he makes fun of her Filipino accent and Filipino ways, where racist stereotypes are being reinforced rather than shattered, or examined in the light.

Jo Koy has been working hard to climb the ladder of success in the entertainment industry, serving as an inspiration for many Filipino and Filipino-American aspiring artists as he broke through barriers in an industry where Asian representation, and that of other minority groups, has historically been lacking.

But the impact of Jo Koy’s poor performance at a significant awards show like the Golden Globes has repercussions beyond his career, because it could negatively influence future opportunities not only for himself but also for upcoming Filipino and Filipino-American talents.

For Jo Koy specifically, it could affect future bookings, collaborations, and brand partnerships, potentially limiting his ability to leverage mainstream avenues for his career.

“But people make mistakes!” cry some of his supporters.

“Give him a break!”

Yes, but this is not just a “mistake.” Regardless of who wrote the jokes, the fact that Jo Koy said those words to the world show that he can’t distinguish between funny and tasteless, between funny and misogynistic and sexist.

For others, being tarred with the same brush, while unfair, is often a reality in many industries.

And in entertainment, where visibility and recognition are pivotal, a poorly received performance or mistake could also inadvertently reinforce stereotypes or biases against Filipino-American entertainers, making it harder for others in the community to break through existing barriers.

* * FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO / Email: writerjennyo@gmail.com

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