SEATTLE — Filipino culture and family dynamics are at the center of new comedy "Easter Sunday," starring comedian Jo Koy.
He grew up in Spanaway and Tacoma, and the memories of his single mom and extended family have long given Koy material for his stand-up act. In the film, they’re distilled down to one important holiday.
Entertainment reporter Kim Holcomb talked to Koy about making the film, what it means for AAPI representation in Hollywood, and returning "home" to the Puget Sound.
KOY: "The last time I was there I was at Climate Pledge Arena and I sold it out. And that's where I saw Eddie Murphy when I was 15. It was the Seattle Coliseum."
HOLCOMB: "What an amazing, full circle experience.”
KOY: “I sat my son in the same seats where I sat when I saw Eddie Murphy.”
HOLCOMB: "It is a huge thing for virtually the entire cast of "Easter Sunday" to be Filipino. What does that mean to you?"
KOY: "If you just see our story, you'll realize we're all relatable. You'll realize that just because my mom's Filipino and your mom's black and your mom's white, you're going to realize that all three of those moms are the same moms. They all want the same thing. They're going to nag you, they're going to piss you off, but then you're going to fall in love with them. We need more movies like this, we need to hear more stories. The more we hear, the more we learn. My mom's been living in this country for 51 years. She moved here in '69, she's never seen anything that looked like her or talked like her on the big screen or the small screen. Now in 2022, she finally gets to see it."
HOLCOMB: "Do you feel like the movie is a love letter to your mom?”
KOY: “Oh, 100%. I wanted to shoot a movie that takes place in one day and the one day I always remembered growing up was Easter, and how much food my mom would cook, all my cousins and aunts would come. And there would always be a fight, there was always karaoke, and there was always laughter."
HOLCOMB: "What is the greatest karaoke performance you have ever given?"
KOY: "My greatest karaoke moment was at a Korean karaoke bar in Seattle. My friend was going to U-Dub and I sang Elvis Presley, "Can't Help Falling In Love" and I crushed it and the owner of the bar bought all of our drinks and food at the table. There was 10 of us deep and he paid for all of it."
HOLCOMB: "Food obviously is a huge part of this film. When you come back to western Washington, is there a place where you have to go grab a bite to eat?"
KOY: "It’s Ivar's. Because it brings me back to my childhood. I left Tacoma when I was 18 years old, so all I ate was fast food. You know what I mean? And Ivar's was always my favorite."
"Easter Sunday" is rated PG-13 and opens in theaters Aug. 5.
Koy will also bring his stand-up act back to Tacoma on Dec. 10 at the Tacoma Dome.