By Claire Morales True
LOS ANGELES – The city of Los Angeles has honoured popular Filipino-American stand-up comedian Jo Koy by proclaiming last Octobere 7 as Jo Koy day in Los Angeles.
Jo Koy, who is Joseph Glenn Herbert in real life, turned emotional after the declaration by the City Council of Los Angeles of Jo Koy Day in the city which is home to the largest Filipino American community in California.
The proclamation was in time for the national celebration of Filipino American History Month in the United States.
Jo Koy, who performed recently at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, said he was thankful to the LA officials and his supporters.
“Thank you to the beautiful city of Los Angeles for declaring October 7th Jo Koy Day,” Jo Koy wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m forever grateful and I will continue to wave my flag high. Mahal Kita!”
San Diego first honoured Jo Koy in 2020 with the declaration of October 16 as “Jo Koy Day” in the city.
Last July 22, he received the key to Daly City, California and likewise had the day named after him, leading up to the release of “Easter Sunday,” the first major Hollywood studio film about Fil-Ams, which hit theaters in August.
“Didn’t think I was going to get emotional. My goal was always to tell my story and represent my culture the best way that I could,” he said on Instagram as reported by ABS-CBN.
Also on Instagram, Jo Koy reminded his followers that his movie “Easter Sunday” which stars many Filipino-American talents like him, is available on demand.
He said his Netflix specials – Live from Seattle, Comin’ in Hot, In His Elements and Live from LA Forum are now streaming on Netflix.
Jo Koy also announced that he will perform at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on November 5 and at the Madison Square Garden in New York on November 10 as part of his “Jo Koy World Tour.”
The LA Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE) held its 40th year anniversary event at City Hall and also honored Jo Koy’s accomplishments in entertainment.
The night before the event, City Hall was the site of LA’s annual Filipino American History Month celebration, where Jo Koy received an honor and lit up the building in Philippine flag colors as he was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Fil-Am community leaders.
In a video of his acceptance speech, Jo Koy said he does jokes because he wants to tell the story of how Filipinos are just like every other person in America.
“I wanna tell the story without having to do this whole thing where I’m like, ‘You know, Filipinos do this and do that.’ I want to do a thing where I could tell the story about my mom and just let you hear about what my mom does as a mom. And then you will relate to it and realize that a mom is just a mom no matter what her ethnicity is, what her religion is, what her accent is,” he explained.
He then talked about how there’s lack of representation in American television by relating the story of his other Filipino relatives in the US.
“I have so many Filipino nurses in my family. I have an aunt that has about seven nursing homes and just a ton of Filipino nurses out there. They work their butts off, they take care of people 14 hours a day. They have been doing it for over 30 years. And then they go home every day after a hard day’s work and they turn on the TV and they watch about any hospitals and they don’t see one nurse being played by Filipinos,” he said.
“We giggle at that and I don’t understand why we giggle at that because it’s normalized. It shouldn’t be normalized. Imagine how those people feel? It almost feels like they are invisible. They don’t have an identity. Or whatever they did for whoever they took care of doesn’t matter because ‘You’re just a visitor. You just live here. You are not American. We are not gonna show you on TV.’”
That’s the reason, Jo Koy said, that he makes the jokes he does.
“I want to give that voice. I will continue to do it. It’s important, representation is important.”
At the end of the day, Jo Koy said he wants his son to see the struggles that he and generations before him have went through.
“We can’t forget that because if we forget that, we lose our identity,” he quipped.
To end his speech, Jo Koy said he knows what it means to walk around and not be heard and seen, and he wants to make sure this doesn’t stay the same.