You Can’t Be Mad Because They Are True: When Stereotypes Are Funny


Normally I am against stereotypes since they can be derisive and create negative biases; but in the case of Jo Koy, I’ll make an exception.  As Jo Koy says in his Netflix special “Comin in Hot” (2019) “Stereotypes are funny for a reason, ‘cause they are true!”


If you look past the generalities he makes and see his performance as a work of art, you realize that there is some truth to his words. The fact is that comedians like Jo Koy take generalities and stereotypes to the extreme for the sake of comedic entertainment. However, the authenticity he brings as a Filipino-American gives stereotypes that might otherwise be seen as offensive comedic value and a sense of realism. 


"Jooooooo-sef!?!"

As a Filipino-American, I find his work outrageously funny. In fact, I have never laughed harder in my life than when watching his performances. When taken at face value, his best bits are pretty bland everyday events. However, his ability to identify what it means to live as a Filipino-American allows him to recount everyday stories in a way that is relatable to both the Filipino-American community as well as the general public. When watching his performances, audiences can often find connections between his bits and their own lives. For instance, when he related the story of how his mom forgot about him in the closet after sending him there as a punishment, I wasn’t laughing at his pain of being left alone in the dark, forgotten for hours. I was laughing because I could relate to him. When I was younger, my own mother (who happens to be Filipino) would send me to my room as punishment. She never came back to tell me the punishment was over and I could leave. Instead, I would wait for what felt like hours and then sneak back out. I never got in trouble for leaving because, quite frankly, I think she would forget about me.


Just the other day I opened the door to the garage and my dog quickly came running out. I asked, “How long has he been in the garage?” knowing no one had been in the garage for well over an hour. I could hear my mom from the other room saying, “Oh yeah! I forgot I left him in the garage. I was walking around the house wondering where he went.” Clearly, she wasn’t that concerned about his whereabouts if she just left him there. When asked why she left him in the garage in the first place she said “He didn’t run in the house fast enough so I left him in there”.


Just the other day I opened the door to the garage and my dog quickly came running out. I asked, “How long has he been in the garage?” knowing no one had been in the garage for well over an hour. I could hear my mom from the other room saying, “Oh yeah! I forgot I left him in the garage. I was walking around the house wondering where he went.” Clearly, she wasn’t that concerned about his whereabouts if she just left him there. When asked why she left him in the garage in the first place she said: “He didn’t run in the house fast enough so I left him in there”.


Comedians have a satirical outlook on everyday living. They take everyday events, take some storytelling liberties, and create relatable stories that bring people together. In the case of Jo Koy, he highlights Filipino-American culture and Asian-American culture by drawing on common stereotypes. But at the heart of these stories are nuggets of truth that we can all relate to on some level. His authentic perspective on Filipino-American culture and the way he is able to make stories from his past accessible to others is what gives him the ability to turn stereotypes into an art form. And I have to admit, Jo Koy speaks the truth of what it’s like growing up in a Filipino household


Comedians have a satirical outlook on everyday living. They take everyday events, take some storytelling liberties, and create relatable stories that bring people together. In the case of Jo Koy, he highlights Filipino-American culture and Asian-American culture by drawing on common stereotypes. But at the heart of these stories are nuggets of truth that we can all relate to on some level. His authentic perspective on Filipino-American culture and the way he is able to make stories from his past accessible to others is what gives him the ability to turn stereotypes into an art form. And I have to admit, Jo Koy speaks the truth of what it’s like growing up in a Filipino household


Just the other day I opened the door to the garage and my dog quickly came running out. I asked, “How long has he been in the garage?” knowing no one had been in the garage for well over an hour. I could hear my mom from the other room saying, “Oh yeah! I forgot I left him in the garage. I was walking around the house wondering where he went.” Clearly, she wasn’t that concerned about his whereabouts if she just left him there. When asked why she left him in the garage in the first place she said: “He didn’t run in the house fast enough so I left him in there”.


"He didn't run in the house fast enough"


Just the other day I opened the door to the garage and my dog quickly came running out. I asked, “How long has he been in the garage?” knowing no one had been in the garage for well over an hour. I could hear my mom from the other room saying, “Oh yeah! I forgot I left him in the garage. I was walking around the house wondering where he went.” Clearly she wasn’t that concerned about his whereabouts if she just left him there. When asked why she left him in the garage in the first place she said “He didn’t run in the house fast enough so I left him in there”.


Comedians have a satirical outlook on everyday living. They take everyday events, take some storytelling liberties, and create relatable stories that bring people together. In the case of Jo Koy, he highlights Filipino-American culture and Asian-American culture by drawing on common stereotypes. But at the heart of these stories are nuggets of truth that we can all relate to on some level. His authentic perspective on Filipino-American culture and the way he is able to make stories from his past accessible to others is what gives him the ability to turn stereotypes into an art form. And I have to admit, Jo Koy speaks the truth of what it’s like growing up in a Filipino household.


-Written by Emily Viggers

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