Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Hart defend Jo Koy

Filipino-American stand-up comedian Jo Koy, who recently hosted the Golden Globes early this week, was met with intense backlash from social media users and entertainment news outlets following his opening monologue, his jokes about Barbie and Barry Keoghan, and his jab at the NFL that also mentioned mega singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.

Despite the harsh criticism, several comedians and awards show hosts also defended Koy.

Legendary actor and comedian Steve Martin, who hosted the Academy Awards thrice, took up the cudgels for Koy on Threads.

“I tip my hat to anyone who steps out on stage to host a live awards show. It’s a very difficult job and not for the squeamish. I know because I’m still throwing up from the last time I did it in 2010,” Martin said.

“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!” he added.

Fellow stand-up comic Kevin Hart also had kind words for Koy in an interview with Youtuber Adam’s Apple.

“I think Jo Koy’s an amazing comedian. Always has been. He sells out arenas all over. It’s a tough room. Without the knowledge and understanding of how to navigate in that room, you can have some moments and bumps. Jo’s fine,” Hart said.

Another comic, Keith Pedro, applauded Koy for “breaking character” for his Golden Globes stint.

“Hollywood awards show? Yeah, very difficult… You’re performing for arenas, for people who are there to see you. Now, you have to switch up and perform for the most self-absorbed people in the planet,” Pedro said.

“At the end of it all, I thought It was the best he could do under said circumstances,” Pedro concluded, noting that Koy only had 10 days to prepare for the event.

Oscar-winning-actress Whoopi Goldberg and television host Sara Haines also defended the comedian during the “Hot Topics” segment of The View.

“I love Jo Koy, he makes me just crazy because he’s funny. I don’t know whether it was the room, I don’t know whether it was the jokes, I didn’t get to see it. But I do know, that he is as good as it gets when it comes to stand-ups and it is not an easy gig,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg, the first black woman to host the Academy Awards, mentioned that Koy is one of the “best stand-ups on the planet.”

‘Punching up’

Haines, for her part, said: “Well I love Jo Koy and I thought the whole time I was so nervous for him because I think he is so funny. We need to protect these national treasures called our comedians, because life needs them. We need to stop binding them in, and fencing them in. And in that room, Jo Koy is punching up. No one feels sorry. Just smile.”

Following his Golden Globes hosting stint, Koy has responded candidly to the backlash.

“You know I’d be lying if [I said] it doesn’t hurt. I hit like, a little a moment there where I was just like, ah, you know, hosting is just — it’s a tough gig, you know. I am a stand-up comic and that hosting position is a different style, it’s not the same style,” Koy said.

The comedian also admitted that his Taylor Swift joke fell flat: “I was trying to make fun of the NFL using cutaways and how the Globes didn’t have to do that. It’s more of a jab towards NFL but it just didn’t come out that way.”

Controversy and all, Koy’s Golden Globes show still drew the largest audience for the awards since 2020.

According to Nielsen, an average of nine million viewers watched the ceremony — a 49.2 percent increase from the previous year, which only drew over six million viewers. With its “highest ratings in years,” the Golden Globes “regained its luster Monday night,” declared CBS News.

Jo Koy might have the last laugh, after all.