Review: ‘Jo Koy: Live from Brooklyn’ Is Tedious And Self-Congratulatory

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 4, 2024 (Last updated: 5 days ago)
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Jo Koy: Live from Brooklyn Review - Tedious and Self-Congratulatory
Jo Koy: Live from Brooklyn | Image via Netflix
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Summary

Jo Koy: Live From Brooklyn is one of the most tediously played-out and self-congratulatory specials in recent memory.

Luckily for Jo Koy, there’s always someone at his shows who finds him extremely funny – himself. Lots of comedians laugh at their own material, but Koy does it like he’s hearing it for the first time. He’s not the only one laughing in his Netflix special Live From Brooklyn, but he’s the most consistently happy to be there.

There’s a whole bit about this, about laughing releasing endorphins, and being legitimately, biologically good for you. I found myself thinking, “Say something funny and I will.” Unfortunately, he forgot that bit. The high school science lesson wasn’t illuminating – everyone knows this; other comedians have said it – but it was a reminder that the problem these days isn’t not laughing enough, it’s not having enough to laugh at.

And Jo Koy is fascinated with “these days” in this special. The entire hour is about generational differences, and contains, legitimately, not a single novel or poignant observation about the subject. Koy’s own giggling and excruciating repetition of the punchlines soundtracks one of the most conceptually lazy specials I’ve seen in a while.

I mean, get a load of this. Social media is bad. Emojis are silly. Old-school hip-hop is better than newfangled mumble rap. Parents are too soft these days. This stuff’s a decade or two out of date.

And it isn’t even interestingly delivered. There’s no compelling bait-and-switch to the storytelling or even much of a specific Filipino angle, aside from a few instances of impersonating his mother (yes, he does the accent, as ever.) Crowd interaction is present but minimal, ranging from highlighting who’s laughing the most –which is at least self-aggrandizing enough to be on brand – to pointing out how racially cosmopolitan New York is.

The racial thing’s weird since I don’t see how anything Koy said would have played any differently to a white crowd. It’s not like he’s saying anything challenging or awkward. The only time it’s relevant is in a brief musical interlude where he compares Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle” to Biggie’s “Hypnotize”, which isn’t exactly a clever observation since playing Biggie Smalls in New York is never not going to get a reaction, and he’s comparing a ridiculous song that has been mocked into oblivion for being incomprehensible with one of the greatest hip-hop tracks ever.

But a big underlying theme of Jo Koy: Live in Brooklyn is how he’s older and out of the loop now, and on that, I have to agree. A closing bit about childbirth framed from the perspective of the father is so played out that I couldn’t help but conclude that he’s right. Koy’s aged out of the energetic and interesting comic he once was and is now bordering on self-parody, seemingly unaware that everything he’s talking about has been covered in great detail already.

If he wasn’t laughing at his own stuff so much, he might have noticed.


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