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Chelsea Handler sidekick Jo Koy: Timing is everything

Jo Koy
Jo Koy

Chelsea Lately fans and night owls probably already know who Jo Koy is. The Tacoma, Washington, born and raised comedian, 44, appeared in more than 100 episodes as a panelist on Chelsea Handler’s ex E! talk show and will be a part of the snarky personality’s latest project, due this fall on Netflix. Koy, born Joseph Glenn Herbert, also honed his funnybone with two Comedy Central specials, Don’t Make Him Angry and Lights Out. Hear some of his jokes and observations at Magic City Casino when the current L.A. resident and single dad of a 12 year old son hits the stage Saturday night.

What will you stand-up set entail?

It’ll be mostly new material I’m working on for my third one-hour Comedy Central special, filming early next year. I always joke around about every city that I go into. It keeps me on my toes and makes each show more fun. Will I talk about South Florida? Who doesn’t like South Florida? It’s one of my favorite places to visit on tour, so we’ll see.

What is Chelsea like in person?

She is exactly how she was on the show. Nothing fake. Never holds her tongue for anything but is very generous and giving. I owe her big time.

Do you subscribe to the oft-quoted expression that “Dying is easy, comedy is hard?”

I’m making people laugh, living my dream. Who gets to live their dream? Me. Can you hear the happiness in my voice? No really. That’s the best. The worst part of my job is sometimes going to airports from city to city can make me tired, plus being away from my son is tough. But thank God I’m not selling shoes anymore.

What was your lucky break and how did you get it?

The first standup gig for me was Catch A Rising Star at the MGM Grand Casino. I did 12 shows for $700. The booker from MGM saw me play at a Vegas coffeehouse at open mic night in 1994. He walked up to me and offered me my first paid gig on the spot.

What is one thing you wish you knew about showbiz when you first started out?

Timing is everything. It takes a long time to get somewhere. There are no quick journeys. Being patient is very important in this game.

Where do you find inspiration for your act?

Things that are close to me, family, my son, that kind of stuff. That’s where I find all my materials. I also make fun of myself a lot. The comedians I find most funny are probably Eddie Murphy, David Chappelle and Brian Regan.

What has been the high point in your career?

Working with Jon Lovitz, a guy that I pretty much impersonated in high school. Now he is a good friend of mine and he talks about me in his act. That is the most surreal moment of my career.

What advice would you give to a person with similar aspirations?

Remember that it’s a long road, but you’ll enjoy every step of the journey. Stay focused and stay funny. And love making people laugh.

MADELEINE MARR

Tickets for the 9 p.m. show: $40 at www.magiccitycasino.com or 305-460-6579. VIP tables are available for $300 and include seating for four and a complimentary bottle of champagne. Attendees must be at least 21.

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