“Paano mo sya na-book?! How did you guys get them here?” one of the comedians asked Open Siomaic organizer Micah Andres, thrilled to see one of their guest comedians stepping into the venue. “Sino, si Andrew (Orolfo)?” he replied, thinking that he was being asked about the L.A.-based comedian who signed up to be part of the night’s show.
The comedian replied, “No, si Jo Koy! Jo Koy is here!” Andres’ jaw dropped as he saw the internationally known comic and Netflix star enter the Matalino St. establishment with Orolfo. Truth is, none of the organizers knew that Jo Koy, whose real name is Joseph Glenn Herbert, was coming that night.
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Andres recalls receiving an inquiry from Orolfo’s group if they can join Comedy Manila’s open mic dubbed “Open Siomaic” on January 7; the said event happens every Tuesday night at Mow’s Bar in Quezon City. “We’re looking for an open mic room. Can you guys have us over?” the email read. Andres’ team gladly welcomed the offer, like they always did with all the other comedians who needed a venue to promote their upcoming performances or to simply practice their comedic chops. “We didn’t know that we’re talking to Jo Koy’s openers for his upcoming show here in the Philippines. We thought they were just American comedians traveling!” he quips.
Aside from his two openers, Jo Koy arrived with a bodyguard and a couple of friends. “Small party lang sila and very discreet. Actually, mas prominent ang dalawang openers niya. I didn’t even recognize Jo Koy at first because he was wearing a cap,” says Andres.
The event’s host, Aldo Cuervo, could not hide his shock when he saw Jo Koy. He admits that being visited by international comedians isn’t exactly new to them, but they’re mostly pre-scheduled. “Earlier that day, we were just joking: pupunta si Jo Koy tonight, then lo and behold, he’s right in front of us!”
Cuervo could not start the show because people were requesting for selfies with the stand-up comic, and he gladly obliged. The host at once asked Jo Koy if he’d like to do a set, but the comedian politely declined and said he wanted to simply watch the show. “I told him, if at any moment you feel like you want to perform, just let me know. We’d love to have you onstage,” he said.
After the fifth and sixth acts (Andrew Orolfo and Eric Schwartz, Jo Koy’s show openers), Cuervo saw the Netflix star walking toward the stage. The people were ecstatic. “Everyone was very excited for Jo Koy. He bantered with the comedians. He had a joke about the origins of Jo Koy. His set lasted about 20 minutes,” says Cuervo.
Andres declines to elaborate on Jo Koy’s jokes, so as not to ruin the fun for those who are watching his show at The Theatre in Solaire on January 11, at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino on January 14, and at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 15. “He shared a couple of jokes about his mom, about his auntie, about his friends,” Andres clues us in. “It was really funny! When he did it [last Tuesday], everybody was just laughing. Hinihingal na ang ibang tao katatawa. It was great. Hopefully, he does it at his show.”
Jo Koy lingered for a while with the other comedians—there were 20-plus of them—and they were pleased to get to know that’s he’s very down-to-earth. “Kasi kung ako kasing popular ni Jo Koy, siguro sobrang yabang ko na. He’s probably still nervous to do open mic because a lot of the good comedians were there. What makes him good is he cares about what he’s doing. As a person, masarap siyang kasama. Tropa. You sit down with him, after five minutes, you can forget that he’s an international star kasi nga sobrang accommodating. Then he blurts out a joke, ah, si Jo Koy nga pala sya,” says Andres.