It’s not unusual for comedians to draw inspiration from their own family. But Jo Koy’s son is his go-to punchline in his Netflix special, Jo Koy: Comin’ in Hot, which was released on June 12. With the new stand-up special, the attention is now on Jo Koy’s son, and everyone is equally curious about his ex-wife. Despite his tendency to poke fun at them, Koy is notoriously private about his family. Nonetheless, we’ve got all there is to know about Jo Koy’s family here.
Jo Koy’s Mother Is a Filipino-American
Born Joseph Glenn Herbert on June 2, 1971, Jo Koy has Filipino heritage from his mother, Josie Harrison (born 1948). Harrison, a native of Quezon City in the Philippines, was married to Koy’s father, who was in the Air Force.
Harrison used to work as an office manager for a Filipino rock band. After her divorce, Harrison raised her children as a single mother.
“I went to school on my own. I started from the bottom up. I worked two jobs to provide for the need of my four children. A banker during the day for Wells Fargo and a cashier/hostess at Denny restaurant at night. I did everything on my own,” the comedian’s mother said.
Jo was raised alongside his elder siblings, Robert Herbert and Rowena Hazel Cook, and his adopted sister, Gemma Herbert Simmons. They lived in Washington state before moving to Las Vegas.
His mother had hoped he would choose a conventional career and have a stable life. But Joseph Herbert dropped out of college and went on to become a successful comedian as Jo Koy, a nickname given to him by his aunt.
It’s no surprise, though, given that performance runs in his blood. Harrison’s mother was an actress in the Philippines and one of her daughters is a singer in Las Vegas.
Jo Koy Was Estranged from His Father
Jack Herbert, who worked in the U.S. Air Force, met Josie Harrison in Vietnam. They married and had three children together and adopted one child from the Philippines.
When Koy was 13, his parents divorced. Herbert is now retired, while Harrison remarried a retired army soldier-turned-postal service worker.
Jo Koy pokes fun at his Filipino heritage, his mom, and his son often. But his dad is prominently missing from his content.
As Koy recently confessed, his father is not part of his comedy act because he wasn’t there for the majority of his life growing up. Koy says unspecified family drama led to Herbert leaving them when he was 10 years old.
Jo became disconnected from his paternal side of the family. However, he reconciled with Herbert when he was older.
“We have a great relationship now. My dad’s my biggest fan. When I went to college, my dad came into my life in full-on dad mode. I was doing comedy and he was so excited for my comedy, whereas my mom wasn’t. So we bonded through comedy. We’ve kissed and hugged and made up and moved forward.”
Jo Koy Was Married to Angie King
His relationships don’t usually feature in his stand-up, but Jo Koy probably has the best co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife, Angie King. They were married and later divorced, but are the best of friends.
Angie King, a Filipino-American singer, recently celebrated her birthday on May 29. She’s currently in a relationship with Mexican-American artist Gino Perez.
Though they’re no longer together, she has a great relationship with Koy. She even promoted his Netflix special on Instagram.
Koy perfectly sums up their relationship by saying, “Me and my son’s mother, we’ve been divorced for a while but we’ve been really great parents. We’re good friends, we’re very relaxed when it comes to our son’s time with one another. We have an open door.”
Koy’s Son Features in His Comedy
Jo Koy and Angie King are parents to Joseph Herbert Jr., who was born on April 21, 2003. And it feels like we know Lil Joe—or L.J., as everyone calls him—very well, considering he’s been the butt of his dad’s joke more than once.
His newest stand-up special is about single fatherhood and living with a teenage son. But truly, L.J. shares his dad’s sense of humor (if his Instagram captions are anything to go by).
Koy has learned from his experience during his parents’ divorce and subsequent estrangement from his father and uses the lessons to cultivate a healthy relationship with his ex-wife and be a better father to L.J. Despite his very busy tour schedule, Koy is an ever-present dad to make sure that his son doesn’t experience a childhood similar to his.
You aren’t going to find much public information about L.J., though. Koy says he’s happy that his son attends private school, though he disparages the private school system in his jokes.
Koy and King are glad that their son shares their pride in Filipino culture. “I don’t really have to teach him anything because there are so many Filipinos in his damn life! His favorite foods are Filipino. He’s been to the Philippines for almost a month to see where his grandmother grew up. It’s kind of neat. Things I never got to do when I was a kid, my son is doing,” Koy gushed.
And about being the butt of his dad’s jokes, L.J. loves his dad’s work. And Koy also considers his son’s feelings while writing his jokes.
“When I wrote the jokes, especially the personal ones about him, I made sure I wasn’t just bagging on him. I wanted to make sure he knew we all do this, dad does it, so it’s all good. His head is held up high when all his friends are laughing and they love it.”