It takes a selfless comedian to cede the starring role in his own stories to other people. Jo Koy is exactly that kind of comedian. In this hour-long set from the Alex theatre in Los Angeles, Koy gleefully digs through his family history and delivers laughs by telling tales where nothing is off limits (including his son's penis).
After getting a rock star's welcome from an adoring audience (he's Filipino, they're mostly Filipino...coincidence?), he gives us a taste of the advice his mother usually has in store for him. Without spoiling her words of wisdom, this bit does give Koy the opportunity to demonstrate how he likes to mess with drunk girls in bars (don't worry, it's not pervy but it is devilish). He then moves into a segment dedicated to natural disasters, which brings with it one of the highlights of the show as Koy describes experiencing an earthquake with his son. If the slo-mo reenactment of this story peppered with hilarious repetition of the phrase 'wet and naked' doesn't get you giggling, feel free to check out because you may be immune to Koy's charm.
From there, Koy launches into the next act of his show which is almost entirely devoted to his son. Before you get turned off at the thought of hearing stories about some dude's cutesy kid's adorable antics, let me assure you that Koy's son is a force of nature and Koy is just crazy enough to think he can tame him. Tale after tale paints his son as a cross between the Hulk and the Tasmanian Devil. Somehow, Koy cuts through the filth ("When you scratch your asshole, don't rub your eyes. I thought that was common fucking sense.") and the raunch (strumming matching boners with his kid as a bonding exercise) to expose the sweetness and joy that accompany being a father.
The parent-child relationship is flipped in the final segment as Koy talks about the challenges of growing up with a mother as complex as his own. By turns funny, condescending and hard-nosed, Koy's mom comes across as exactly the sort of woman who would have raised a son with his comedic sensibilities. She can be just as exaggerated and dark as him (perhaps even more so) and this comes through nicely in the story that Koy tells about his sleep apnea. Even though his mom was concerned for his health, it didn't prevent her from video-taping him in all his slumbering glory to support future I-told-you-so moments.
Although not all of Koy's stories are packed with punch-lines, they simply work because of his animated manner and the genuine affection he has for the people that populate them. To be fair, anyone who saw his last special (Don't Make Him Angry!) may recognize that he spoke at great length about his son and mother in that one as well. To his credit, Koy's material here feels like a natural progression and not a soggy retread. The intimate focus and personal flourishes almost give the impression that Koy is reading out loud from his diary, one where sentimentality has been replaced with dick jokes...and that's fine by me.
The show was presented in a widescreen aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. The image was clear and sharp with more than adequate fine detail. The dark color palette found excellent support as deep blacks and rich blues dominated the presentation. I didn't notice any obvious visual defects like jitter or moiré. Altogether this was perfectly matched for the material at hand.
The audio was presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo mixes with English subtitles. I chose to view the show with the surround sound mix and found it to be perfectly acceptable. The rear surrounds felt a bit subdued compared to the front of the soundstage but this is a petty complaint for a stand-up show. Koy's words (and sound effects!) need to be delivered with clarity and the mix does that successfully. Noise from the audience is kept at a reasonable level so that the action on stage is never drowned out.
There are only 2 short extras on this release but they are presented with a great deal of polish and care. Jo Koy: All Access (6:55) takes the old standard of following a comic's backstage rituals and gussies it up with such style and panache that it starts to resemble the final moments of calm before a boxer enters the ring. Filmed in black and white by Them Too Productions, this segment gives us a peek at Koy's inner circle which includes Tia Carrere and Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas. It then flips to color for a quick word with the show's director Marcus Raboy before culminating in a rousing musical montage of moments from Koy's special. While not heavy on content, the quality of this segment's production gives it an epic feel. The next extra ramps down some of the stylistic touches for a more intimate tone. Koy walks us through some locations he performed at early in his career before taking us right into an interview with his mom DJ Josephine (4:31) on her radio show. Mother and son take a few loving jabs at each other but keep the piece light and breezy.
I remember watching Jo Koy's last special and having mixed feelings about it. Parts of it were funny (mostly related to his son) but there were a few segments where raunchy crossed the line into just plain creepy. I'm happy to report that his latest special is a much more consistent affair. Koy pulls from familiar (or should I say familial?) material in a way that feels like a natural progression rather than a retread. Fans of the comic will surely enjoy what he has in store for them. Highly Recommended.