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The Golden Globes Recovered, and So Will Jo Koy — Despite That Open

AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN LOGO
AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN LOGO


Jo Koy will be fine. That was the general consensus at the Golden Globes after-parties, where most agreed that Koy flopped — but he remains a popular talent. The stand-up comedian has two specials coming to Netflix, including one this year that taped last November in Brooklyn. He has millions of fans and is constantly touring, hitting the road once again this weekend and even taking a few of his own jabs at what happened. Plus, the Globes grew by a whopping 50% — averaging 9.4 million viewers — after bottoming out in 2023.

In other words, Jo Koy is OK. Still, with that kind of global platform, his misstep stung a bit. This was a milestone for the comedian, and his hiring was a proud moment for many Filipino Americans — a group often ignored by Hollywood. (Case in point: The Globes put out a press release noting that the “Beef” stars were the first Asian actors to win a Golden Globe for a limited series. But they weren’t: Darren Criss, who is half-Filipino, won for the limited series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” in 2019. The group later sent a correction.)

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Koy is known for telling wild stories about his family, Filipino culture, parenting and so much more. But crafting hourlong stand-up sets is very different from creating an awards show monologue for the always tough Hollywood crowd. And Koy was reminded of that within the first few minutes of the Globes telecast. This wasn’t the Jo Koy that his audiences are used to, and it soon became apparent that the quick turnaround (he was only announced on Dec. 21) hadn’t done him any favors. Nor did the idea that he needed to do a traditional monologue, when perhaps a more personal routine might have gone over much better.

Now, it probably wasn’t cool for him to throw his writers under the bus when jokes fell flat. But it did appear that the nerves had gotten the best of him, and he was grasping, in real time, that this was not going well and perhaps they had prepared the routine all wrong.

The honest truth is, these things rarely go right. That’s why it’s harder than ever to recruit awards show hosts, and only a handful succeed — and are such pros that they make it look easy. Jimmy Kimmel, who should probably be Oscars host for life, and Grammys host Trevor Noah are two examples. (And yes, it’s no accident that those are seasoned talk-show-host vets who are used to steering massive TV ships.)

Otherwise, it makes more sense to return to host pairings — especially at the Globes, where duos can play good cop/bad cop. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler by themselves wouldn’t have had the same bite or energy as the two together. And even the year the Globes went unconventional by putting together Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, the banter between them somehow made it work well.

Perhaps the biggest question is, when you’re trying to squeeze 27 awards into one telecast, is there time for a host at all? Viewers on social media noted that Koy pretty much disappeared after his opening monologue, leading to online jokes that he had been fired mid-show. But that always has to be the case when you have so many kudos to give out; it’s why the SAG Awards have gone back to no host at all this year. If you’ve only got time for a short monologue, is that really even hosting?

Producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss brought a few welcome touches to the broadcast, including a circular stage that allowed for some unique shots (including placing the audience behind the presenters). And some of the best moments came late in the telecast, thanks to the chemistry between Andra Day and Jon Batiste, and then a goofy dance break by Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell.

Ultimately, it looked and felt like the typical Golden Globes show, despite the new owners at Dick Clark Prods. (which Variety parent company PMC owns in a joint venture with Eldridge), a new network (CBS) and new producers in Kirshner and Weiss. And the ratings uptick suggests that just like Jo Koy, the Golden Globes are going to be fine.

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