Comedian’s film sheds light on Daly City, Filipino culture

DALY CITY — Seattle comedian Jo Koy spoke on Friday about the importance of Filipino representation in movies as he received the key to his character’s hometown ahead of the release of his new movie set in Daly City.

“I’m going to put this on my key ring,” comedian Jo Koy said as he received the keys to the town of Daly City for filming his new movie ‘Easter Sunday’ there and bringing an almost entirely cast to the big screen. Filipino-American.

“When my mother came to this country, there was absolutely no representation. There was no Google, there was no Facebook, there was no Instagram – she had to find his community,” he said.

Councilor Juslyn Manalo stood next to Jo on the Daly Town Council dais. She was the first Filipino-American mayor of Daly City. “For so long, I’ve never seen a full ensemble cast of Filipino American actors on TV. I’m thrilled,” she said.

Popular comedian Jo Koy talks to KPIX about his new movie


“Easter Sunday” is an experience of performance she and other Filipinos didn’t have growing up – even in Daly City where 37% of the population can trace their heritage to the Philippines. “My three-year-old son and my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter can literally walk into a movie theater and see a reflection of themselves, as well as the reflection of their grandmother, their father, their uncle and their aunt.”

These experiences that until now have only been seen in the homes of Filipino Americans are getting the silver screen treatment. “It touches on so many intergenerational levels – that this moment is huge not only for the young people, but also for the elders,” Manalo told KPIX5.

Jo Koy says the film is not just about Filipinos but all families.

“I wanted to tell my family’s story, but more importantly, I wanted people to know that not only Filipinos can have this. When you leave, you’ll be like ‘This mom is like my mom, and this kid is like my child.'”

Koy then sat down with KPIX 5’s Betty Yu at Century 20 Daly City. He grew up in Seattle in the 1980s. He said he first visited Daly City when he performed at the comedy club.

Popular comedian Jo Koy talks to KPIX about his new movie


“Daly City is like responsible for letting me know that there are Filipino restaurants, there is a Filipino community, there are things that I didn’t see in my childhood that happened here,” said Koi. “I was always like, ‘Yo, where are all these Filipinos from?’ And they’re like, ‘Daly City.’ I’m like, ‘What?!'”

When asked what the responsibility of showcasing his community was like, Koy replied, “I love it, the idea behind it is to be able to tell a story without being too specific, right? I didn’t want that the whole movie is just, ‘Hey, Filipinos do this and Filipinos do that.’ I didn’t want to do this just for fun, I didn’t want people to laugh at us, I wanted people to laugh with us.

He says the film, which Steven Spielberg helped make, shines a light on Filipinos in the Bay Area.

Koy worked on a song by Filipino rapper P-Lo. In the film, his cousin Eugene also wears a Warriors jersey. The number belongs to the NBA’s first Filipino American player, Raymond Townsend.

“I want this door to say open to everyone, I want this to be the model for everyone, let’s hear everyone’s family story,” Koy said.

“Easter Sunday” opens August 5 in theaters.

Betty Yu contributed to this story.

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