Golden Globes Host Jo Koy Dishes On Comic He Wants To Win First Stand-Up Prize & Reform Within Awards Body: “We Should All Look Forward Now”

With the Golden Globes still in a process of evolution following their sale to Eldridge and Dick Clark Productions in the wake of myriad controversies, how much did the current state of affairs weigh on Jo Koy, in deciding whether or not to assume the mantle as host for the 81st edition? Not much, suggests the comedian.

“I think there has been huge strides. This is major, what they did already,” says Koy of reform within the awards body, “and then of course going on over to CBS and finding that to be their new home. This is a new look and a new vibe, and you feel the energy.”

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From Koy’s perspective, “we should all look forward now,” with regard to the Globes. “There’s a lot of things that Hollywood used to do back in the day, and we need to make beautiful steps forward now, and it’s happening.”

While the Golden Globes are one of the oldest and most iconic award shows in entertainment, the show formerly overseen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association came under intense scrutiny two years ago, when it emerged that the voting group consisting of less than 100 international journalists counted not a single Black member. This scandal and others resulted in companies industry-wide threatening to end business with the group, unless it made good on major reforms.

The show subsequently saw its 79th edition boycotted by broadcaster NBC, with awardees being announced at a non-televised, private event in January 2022. After reorganizing and reforming, the Globes returned to the air on NBC earlier this year, with Jerrod Carmichael as host, moving from NBC to CBS on the heels of the acquisition by Eldridge, which with Deadline parent PMC owns DCP in a joint venture. Following the sale, the Globes were turned into a for-profit event, with the HFPA being disbanded and the Golden Globes Foundation, established as its successor.

In conversation with Deadline ahead of his Globes debut, Koy also touched on the “beautiful thing” that is stand-up finally getting its own category at the awards show. Even amidst tough competition in comedians’ first time out that includes Amy Schumer, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, Trevor Noah and Wanda Sykes, he says he’s pulling for Chris Rock, who with Netflix’s Selective Outrage

gave his long-awaited take on being slapped by Will Smith at the 94th Academy Awards. This, he attributes to Rock’s courage in making the unprecedented move to air his special live, becoming the first to do so on Netflix. “The fact that he took on a live performance, that’s scary, man. Especially as far as a comic is concerned,” says Koy. “Because if you’re just taping, you’d be like, ‘Ah, my bad,’ and start the joke over. ‘We’ll cut it out in post.'”

While award show hosting has come to be thought of in recent years as a political headache and thankless job, Koy says he doesn’t understand “where that comes from,” particularly with regard to the Globes, which “has always been fun.” Certainly, these broadcasts have seemed to lose a bit of cultural relevance in recent years, going off of ratings alone, but what he thinks back to are those he grew up watching, when an award show was “a special moment in TV” and the sense was that there was no greater platform for a stand-up comic. So although he never actually thought he’d get the call to host, his “mouth dropped” just about two weeks ago when he did.

If Koy has been working as a comic for decades and regularly sells out arenas around the world, he acknowledges that the A-list Hollywood crowd he’s about to perform for is “way different” than the one he’s used to. He’s not nervous, though, given his sense that those attending are “there to have fun.”

“We’ve come off a crazy time in Hollywood. A lot of us got hit hard, and it seemed like every single year we all got hit,” he reflects, alluding to Covid and the double strikes of this past year. “[In] ’23…it almost looked like Hollywood was going to get shut down — and it’s not. We’re back, and we should celebrate that, and I’m so happy that I get to sit in the best seat in the house and celebrate with everybody else.”

Unlike hosts like Chris Rock, who have famously rehearsed their monologue on stage at comedy clubs, Koy plans to spend as little time away from home as possible ahead of the ceremony, adopting a strategy discussed with 2018 host Seth Meyers. “When I got the gig, I said, ‘I ain’t going out nowhere. I ain’t messing this up,'” he shares. “I am eating at home and sleeping at home, and then the day after the Globes is when I’m going to celebrate. But right now, I want to be hyper-focused and just be at my best.”

While Koy stays mum as to specifics of the plans for this year’s ceremony, he does share that he’s “very proud” of what the team has come up with, as he prepares for a Thursday run-through on stage, and that viewers can expect his “flavor” of comedy to shine through.

Awaiting the launch later this year of his fifth Netflix special, Koy will be seen performing two shows at the Kia Forum shortly after the Globes, before going on to play arenas across the U.S. and Europe throughout the year. After being given the chance by DreamWorks’ Steven Spielberg to head his own film in 2022’s Easter Sunday, he also intends to pursue further projects for both the big and small screens. “I’m not going to stop, bro…Now, I’m addicted,” says Koy. “I want to create more. I want to be behind the camera more. I want to shoot more specials for other comics, and then also shoot more movies.”

This year’s Golden Globe Awards is set to air live on CBS and stream on Paramount+ this Sunday, January 7th at 5 p.m. PT. While Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers will have access to the three-hour broadcast via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service, as well as on demand, Paramount+ Essential subscribers will have to access it on-demand the day after it airs. Showrunners for the ceremony are Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, who are exec producing for White Cherry Entertainment, with Weiss also set to direct. Additional EPs include Barry Adelman and Helen Hoehne.

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