If there’s one guy guaranteed to make you laugh, it’ll probably be Jo Koy. He’s on our radar on and off and on again now due to his latest show on Netflix, Jo Koy: In His Elements. The show was released on June 2020, and Jo Koy bragged early on that he brought Netflix to the Philippines. In His Elements featured some of the comedian’s friends and fellow artists in the comedy, b-boy, and DJ industries. We know just how successful Jo Koy has become since his early days because almost everyone recognizes his name today. It’s incredible, to say the least, that the artist has managed to amass a net worth of $5 million. Let’s take a closer look at how Jo Koy achieved that in his career.
Given that much of his comedy revolves around his ethnicity, new fans could easily surmise that Jo Koy is at least part Filipino. Born Joseph Glenn Herbert on June 2, 19971, Jo Koy is actually of Filipino, American, and European ancestry. He was born in Tacoma, Washington and spent most of his childhood in the area. After graduating high school, Jo Koy made the move to Las Vegas for family reasons. The move would prove to be the next step to his future career. Even though he enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for college, he would eventually drop out in order to pursue a career in stand up comedy.
Much of his presence and stand up personality begins with his name. The name Jo Koy is a nickname he received when he was a child. The story behind the nickname has become part of his routine lately because of his recent discovery of how it all came about. No spoilers here, but Jo Koy’s name has become a household name in comedy. Las Vegas was the prime spot for him to get his start, which was at a comedy club’s open mic nights in 1994. He eventually got an upgrade to a regular spot on MGM Grand Hotel and Casino’s show, Catch a Rising Star. Eventually, he managed to rent the Huntridge Theater in Las Vegas for his own show and even sold his own tickets door-to-door.
It’s clear that Jo Koy is not afraid of getting his hands dirty and getting to work. For the comedian, that hard work paid off when a LA-based talent coordinator spotted Jo Koy on one of his shows. Their meeting eventually led to an opportunity for Jo Koy to appear on BET’s ComicView, which he ended up appearing in for two seasons. After that time, the world just opened up for Jo Koy. He began to gain traction in his career and was noticed by bigger names and bigger studios. He has gone on to appear in many television stand-up specials from VH1 to E!. He has won numerous awards for his comedy including the Gemini Awards from Canada. He has won Showtime at the Apollo and has performed for US troops. In 2005, Jo Koy’s career took off even further after making an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He received a standing ovation for his performance, which opened up more television avenues for the comedian. He appeared in several other late night shows, started a podcast, and continued touring nationwide and worldwide.
The game changed for Jo Koy when Netflix entered his realm. By the time Jo Koy partnered up with Netflix in 2017 with the special, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle, the comedian was already at the height of his career. He had long been selling out arenas and theaters. But that Netflix partnership didn’t happen easy for the artist. The streaming turned down his original proposal for the special giant. But in true Jo Koy fashion, he didn’t let that stop him. At the suggestion of his manager, Jo Koy funded and created the special regardless—showing that they had the money to make it happen. Once Netflix saw the completed special, they changed their minds and partnered up. Since 2017, Jo Koy released two other Netflix specials including the latest, In His Elements. Aside from his partnership with Netflix, Jo Koy continues to tour worldwide. His comedy specials on television have brought in a significant amount income for the comedian, but a huge sum of his earnings still comes from his tours. He also sells merchandise and continues to make appearances in other shows.
What’s inspiring with the work that Jo Koy has done is beyond his comedy. While he has managed to make people laugh without targeting the usual suspects, Jo Koy has also managed to stay true to his personal brand of comedy. The shtick never seems to get old, but we suspect that loyalty is probably largely at play at this point. Jo Koy has gotten older, and it’s clear that he’s never been out for just his personal success. The comedian has done impressive charity work through his own foundation, The Jo Koy Foundation, which helped support the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in 2009. He also donates to other foundations, some of which are based in the Philippines. This is in addition to taking care of some of his family members in the Philippines and supporting some of his fellow Filipino-American artists.
Throughout the span of his 30-year career, Jo Koy has managed to stand out not only in stand-up but in the entertainment industry altogether. He may have achieved a net worth of $5 million today, but he has done so much more for people everywhere—making us laugh and appreciate our own heritage even more. Whether it’s at a local theater close by or through our screens via Netflix, we can’t wait to see more from Jo Koy. There’s more to come for this artist, and the future looks brilliant and even funnier for Jo Koy–and for us all too.