Jo Koy’s Golden Globes 2024 Monologue: A Critical Analysis of Jokes, Cringes, and Reactions

Joseph Glenn Herbert, known professionally as Jo Koy, is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He has a Filipino mother and a white father and made history this year as the Golden Globes’ first solo Asian host. He made quite the headlines for all the wrong reasons on 7th January 2024.

Vanity Fair

Jo Koy had the privilege to host the 81st Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, in in Beverly Hills, California. As his opening monologue swung into action, the camera panned to a star-studded audience, with awkward smiles and pained faces as they failed to find his flat and downright offensive jokes humorous.

Midway through his piece, Koy was fully aware of the fact that most of his jokes weren’t landing. He compensated for his ill jokes by announcing that he was chosen as the host on Dec. 21, leaving him little time to prepare. He issued a caution notice, saying “I got this gig 10 days ago,” almost as if asking people to reduce their expectations.

An Incendiary Opening Speech: Some Cringe-Worthy Moments

Koy’s so-called “jokes” elicited stifled laughter and shifty eyes from the audience seated at Beverly Hills.

Golden Globes

Koy spent a rushed Christmas, binging on a movie and jotting down unimpressive jokes to the horror of the audience. His choice of words left many speechless, failing to find the right reaction. The comedian seemed to be quite thick-skinned, as he went on to ramble about some of the most respected and popular figures in the audience, without a filter or a second thought.

The Celebrity Roast

He joked that Robert De Niro’s “last performance is going to be [his] greatest performance ever,” but was referencing the veteran actor becoming a dad again at 79. Such disrespect at the cost of De Niro sent social media into fits!

Koy not-so-subtly added, “How did you get her pregnant at 80?” He also brought up the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, joking that “you don’t know whose side to be on” in the show.

He went on to comment “I loved Oppenheimer. I just got one complaint: [It] needed another hour, because I felt like it needed some more backstory. My New Year’s resolution for 2024 is to finish Oppenheimer in 2025. I love Oppenheimer — especially the first season.” As the camera cut to a solemn Christopher Nolan.

However, nothing more struck a chord with netizens, than the awful remarks directed towards the cast of Barbie and Taylor Swift.

The Greta Gerwig Gaffe

Koy prevailed: “The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite, and flat feet — or what casting directors call ‘character actor.’” It was at this point that the crowd had started booing. Barbie actor Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig painfully gritted their teeth and smiled, Ryan Gosling stared point-blankly at Koy.

The Taylor Swift Fumble

He went on to take a dig at the popstar Taylor Swift, poking fun at the NFL’s love for the singer during her appearances at Kansas City Chiefs games. The Shake it Off singer had quite the reaction, as she calmly poured herself a drink, took a swig and looked pointedly at the man on stage unamusedly.

Social Media Uproar: Disappointed viewers retort back at Jo Koy

The overall online conversation was dominated by negative reactions. Headlines called the monologue “cringeworthy,” “awkward,” and a “train wreck.” Internet critiques were harsh, as viewers deemed these jokes to be outdated and offensive. They felt so because of:

• Asians Stereotypes: Some viewers criticized jokes that leaned into tired Asian stereotypes, particularly a riff on Koy’s own Filipino heritage that felt forced and cringeworthy. This, coupled with the lack of representation and diversity on stage, drew accusations of tokenism and pandering.

• The Gender Gap: Many female viewers found the humour heavily skewed towards men, relying on tired tropes and lacking jokes that resonated with women. This added to the general feeling of awkwardness and alienation in the room.

• “Punching Down” Misfires: Several jokes seemed to target celebrities at their perceived vulnerabilities, such as Tom Hanks’ age or Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating life. This “punching down” approach felt mean-spirited and lacked the wit needed to land well.

Jo Koy’s Response to the Backlash

Facing the Music: Koy has acknowledged the criticisms and expressed remorse for a subpar performance. He’s admitted the negativity stung, stating on “GMA3,” “It’d be a lie if [I said] it doesn’t hurt.” He’s also owned his performance, acknowledging an “off night” and the difficulties of writing a last-minute monologue. While some found his honesty refreshing, others felt it didn’t fully address the concerns raised.

“The reaction to the Barbie joke. The things that are being said, it’s just like, man, I don’t think you understand who I am as a person, you know what I mean?” Koy told the LA Times. “Because if you’ve ever seen me, you’ll see just how much I praise and shine a light on women, from my ex-wife to my mom.”

“I’m telling a joke — what happened to society where we can’t even joke with each other anymore,” he continued. “I bought the movie. I supported the movie. Yes, that’s the story that that doll needed. And I’m glad because now there are people that look like my mom that can support that.”- was his response towards the Barbie joke, which did not in any way compensate for the misogynistic sentiment.

Koy was also accused of throwing his writers under the bus during his monologue after several jokes fell flat.

Moving Forward: Despite the critiques, Koy maintains gratitude for the opportunity, calling it “a moment that I’ll always remember” and emphasizing his love for what he did. The organizers of the Golden Globes, however, face a steeper climb. The 2024 ceremony will serve as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of finding the right fit for the stage. Whether they continue with unconventional hosts or return to a safer route remains to be seen.

While reviews were mostly negative, Koy has earned support from fellow comedians and award show hosts like Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.“I tip my hat to anyone who steps out on stage to host a live awards show,” Martin wrote on Threads having hosted the Academy Awards three times. “It’s a very difficult job…So, congratulations to Jo Koy, who took on the toughest gig in show business, hit, missed, was light on his feet, and now has twenty minutes of new material for his stand-up!”

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