Bidyo’s Filipino American Hall of Fame: Rob Schneider and Jo Koy

Rob Schneider and Jo Koy are the fourth and fifth honorees in Bidyo’s new show, Filipino American Hall of Fame and the fourth and fifth episodes airs this Sunday, September 25th! Bidyo is a new YouTube channel created by FilAm Creative and its mission is to produce and promote content from emerging Filipino American talent.  Subscribe to the Bidyo Channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-cvvEYApGwFOO337gUZuQ    

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You know of those late, late, late night fringe stand-up comedy shows you would watch during your college years that play on late, late, late night television after 2am in the morning on a Saturday night while during your laughter, you accept fate you’ll be alone for the rest of your invalid life because you’re not out on a date, clubbing or kickin’ boots instead?

It is there you discover comedy gems you can boast to your friends when they become popular a few years later!  Especially when those comedy gems are Filipino Americans!  And as the saying goes, “You write what you know,” both Rob Schneider and Jo Koy tell jokes about being Filipino!

Rob Schneider

A year before landing as an Emmy nominated writer and a “Not Ready For Primetime Player” on Saturday Night Live, the first time I saw Rob Schneider was on HBO’s 13th Annual Young Comedians Special at my friends’ house in 1989.

He soon skyrocketed thru the ranks of SNL along with “The Frat Boys” Adam Sandler, David Spade and the late Chris Farley.  And it all began when he was still a writer and only a featured performer with his popular sketch character Richard Laymer, better known as “The Richmeister,” “Copy Machine Boy” or “Copy Boy” debuted on January 11, 1991 “makin’ copies” hosted by musical guest, Sting.

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Richard “The Richmeister” Laymer

He soon took his comedy to the movies and introduced and incorporated Filipino culture to each one of them starting with 1999’s Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.  Whether they were a t-shirt with a Philippine island emblazoned on it, the rarity of a raspberry bibingka or even cameo appearances by his Filipina mother, Fil Ams laugh and applaud him for implementing our heritage into the mainstream!

In October, 2009, the independent film, Brown Soup Thing made its Los Angeles premiere to a sold out audience at the Filipino International Film Festival.  Written and directed by our own Head of Long Term Planning Edward J. Mallillin and starring Kimee Balmilero, Jenilee ReyesBernardo Bernardo, Cheryl Noe, Rona Par, Earl Baylon, Wil Olandria and Sari Arambulo, the film attracted many Filipino Americans of Southern California including Rob Schneider.  He even spoke about the film and lent his continuing support of our Filipino heritage in cinema. [link]  

In December, 2015, along with his wife, Schneider wrote, directed, produced and starred in his new sitcom for Netflix, Real Rob about his life in Hollywood.  The hit comedy is renewed for a second season by the streaming service.  Season 1 of Real Rob is streaming now only on Netflix.

 

Jo Koy

Word spreads fast like wildfire in the Filipino American community once you hear of a new standup comedian making the rounds at various clubs and theaters across the country.  And, he got my attention when I was with E! Entertainment from 2006 to 2010 of a Fil Am comedian named Jo Koy.  Just by the name/moniker alone screams Filipino.  After many of those late, late, late night stand-up comedy shows on television like the following…

…Jo Koy made his debut appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2005 where he was one of a select few to ever receive a standing ovation on the show.  Before his standup, the first thing everyone noticed was the Filipino flag tailored into his jacket…

In 2008, I was the line producer for Edward J. Mallillin’s sketch comedy and interview YouTube magazine show, Flipped Switch and we were on-location at FilAm Arts’ 17th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) in San Pedro, California filming our next episodes.  One of the interviews we conducted was with Jo Koy as he mentioned about his upcoming 2009 live special for Comedy Central, Don’t Make Him Angry, among other subjects like family, FPAC and about being Filipino.

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Jo Koy and Edwin A. Santos at Festival of Philippines Arts & Culture 2008

He became a frequent and regular guest panelist at Chelsea Handler’s roundtable discussion late night show on E! Entertainment Television, Chelsea Lately from 2009 to 2014.

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Bobby Lee, Margaret Cho and Jo Koy on “Chelsea Lately”

Jo Koy’s star continues to rise in his second feature-length, uncensored stand-up special, Lights Out, filmed at the Alex Theatre in Glendale California in 2012. Infectiously funny and painfully honest about the joys and struggles of fatherhood, growing up with strong, opinionated and honest Filipino women, sleep apnea and role playing.

In October of 2015, the White House Initiative on AAPIs and the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted the first-ever White House Celebration of Filipino American History Month.  In line with celebrating the diverse talents of the community, the Celebration highlighted prominent Filipino Americans in different sectors of society, including the arts, entertainment, and dance industries.  Billy Dec, member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, moderated a panel with Filipino American trailblazers, which included Jo Koy as well as Cristeta Comerford (the first Filipino American White House Executive Chef); Apl.de.ap (Co-Founder of the Black Eyed Peas); Cassie (singer); Geena Rocero (model and founder of Gender Proud) and Ronnie del Carmen (Co-Director of Pixar Animation Studios).  The speakers highlighted how they have blazed the trail in their respective fields, and recognized the role that their families – especially their mothers – played throughout their experiences.

The best comedies are the ones that relate to family because the stories are universal and they transcend every culture and every generation moving forward.  Both Rob Schneider and Jo Koy have successfully implemented their stories of their Filipino heritage in their live performances and in all media platforms  They are the pioneers of what it means growing up Filipino American thru the hardships of identity, the differences of upbringing related to their parents, themselves and to their own children and the acceptance of who we are that continues to this day.

Written by Edwin Santos (9/25/16)

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

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