By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I saw comedian Jo Koy
perform years ago at a comedy show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
Koy was kind of just starting out doing stand-up.
He was the opening act for Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.
It was a diverse crowd, and he had the place rolling. He was incredibly funny. After the show I spoke with Koy and mentioned that he was definitely going places. He was so humble and gracious and said he hoped one day to take his comedy and branch out into movies.
Well, that day has finally arrived. Koy, who has been hustling for years performing at small comedy clubs throughout the Bay Area and really all over the country, has landed his debut movie, "Easter Sunday.
It's a big deal because "Easter Sunday" is a major studio film from Universal/DreamWorks, Rideback and Amblin Partners, about a Filipino American family.
It's also very funny.
Jay Chandrasekhar of "Super Troopers 3: Winter Soldiers," directs and stars in "Easter Sunday" and Koy is a co-executive producer.
In the semi-biographical "Easter Sunday," Koy plays Joe Valencia, a comedian desperate for that big Hollywood break. Joe has been putting in the work. Luckily, he's made a little money from landing a Budweiser beer commercial. Best of all, he is recognized by fans now whenever he goes.
Still, Joe knows he has to step up his game. He is a single parent to a teenage son (Brandon Wardell, TV's "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson"). Joe Junior understands what his father is going through, but he wishes he would spend more time with him. There is always a phone call, meeting or rehearsal that gets in the way of their personal time.
Joe is thisclose to getting a significant role in a sitcom. However, he's disappointed that the network wants him to be more "Filipino" and emphasize his accent. Joe thinks its demeaning and stereotypical and not something he's willing to do despite being pressured from his agent Nick (a funny Chandrasekhar).
Rather than wait around for news about the sitcom, Joe decides to take Junior and drive to Daly City to visit his mother Susan (Lydia Gaston, TV's "The Blacklist") and enjoy a traditional Easter Sunday dinner.
Of course, there is always drama in the Valencia household. Easter Sunday isn't going to be much different especially now that his mother isn't getting along with her sister Tita Teresa (Tia Carrere, TV's "The Potwins").
In addition, Joe's cousin Eugene (Eugene Cordero, TV's "Star Trek: Lower Decks") is involved with a low-life thug, Dev Deluxe (Asif Ali, TV's "True Story with Ed & Randall") and owes him money.
Once Joe gets tangled up in Eugene's missteps, that's when "Easter Sunday" shifts into high comedic gear. There are some funny moments with Jimmy O. Yang ("Minions: The Rise of Gru"), and Tiffany Haddish who plays a police officer and Joe's former girlfriend Vanessa. There is also a hilarious running gag with Lou Diamond Philips ("Guns 3: Alias Billy the Kid").
Make no mistake about it, "Easter Sunday" is Jo Koy's moment to shine. He seizes it and brings the funny.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "EASTER SUNDAY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.