Dubai is fast becoming a go-to tour stop for the world’s funniest comedians, and now there’s another huge name coming to the city. US comedian and Netflix star Jo Koy will be bringing his Just Kidding world tour to Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena on Monday January 20. It will be the first time the comedy star has performed in Dubai, and tickets are on sale now. We catch up with Jo Koy ahead of his visit – here’s what he has to say about Dubai and being funny.
A lot of your comedy is inspired by your family, specifically your son. Are there any topics you’ve been told are off limits?
Not really. Although, I make sure I have permission first before I do it on-stage. In fact, that last joke I do on my Comin’ In Hot special about my son almost didn’t make it into the show. Without giving the joke away, it’s pretty personal. We were about to fly out to Hawaii to shoot the special, and he asked me if I was going to do that joke. I told him I wasn’t sure, and he said I had to do it. He said it was going to crush.
How tough is it being a comedian – was there ever a point when you were starting out in your career when you thought you were really funny, but the audience disagreed?
All the time. For the first year I was like, I got to figure this out. I remember I was recording one of my sets, and when I went to play it back I heard someone clap and laugh. To me at the time it felt like a huge applause break – but then I realised it was just one guy. However, that’s when I realised it was all happening.
Do people always ask you to tell them jokes on command?
No, but they do like to come up to me and say, “Josep!”
You have a restaurant in Las Vegas, Yojie Japanese Fondue, what made you get into the food scene as well as comedy?
I always wanted to own a restaurant. My son has loved shabu-shabu (hot pot-style cooking) since he was five years old. Then this opportunity came up for me to become a partner, so I did that for a few years. Then decided I should just do it on my own, so I bought the whole restaurant.
What’s your go-to post show snack?
When I’m touring and on the road I love to go to local spots to eat after a show. I’m always looking for recommendations from people from where I go, but when in doubt I go for comfort food – especially if they have turkey dinner on the menu.
What are you looking forward to seeing in Dubai?
Everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. This will be a first visit for me and it looks like an amazing place, this has been a dream come true for me and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity.
How do you think comedy is developing due to the rise of YouTube and social media?
It’s definitely made it more accessible and world-wide. It also shows that comedy is a universal language, and that the world loves to laugh.
What’s the best you have performed where the crowd have really loved your show and you really enjoyed the set?
Honestly, there’s been too many to count. I’ve been very fortunate to have amazing fans from all over the world. I love touring and doing stand up to a crowd, I prefer it to the TV stuff.
What makes you laugh out loud?
My son. 100 percent.
Who did you find funny growing up?
Eddie Murphy, hands down. I use to watch his Delirious special almost every day with him in the red leather jumpsuit. I’m pretty sure I broke the VHS because I would play it so much. I convinced my mom to buy tickets to his live concert in Seattle at The Coliseum. She thought she was taking me to the movies and only discovered it was a live show when she was dropping me off.
What can we expect when we see you perform in Dubai next year?
I’m always working on new material and this show is exciting as it will be all brand-new content. Once my special drops I retire the material so what you’ll get this time will be completely different from what fans have seen on my Comin’ In Hot special on TV. Get ready Dubai.