The trajectory of my momentum was going through the roof. My Just Kidding World Tour made it to the list of Top 10 World Tours along with Elton John and Celine Dion. I couldn’t believe it. Elton John and Celine Dion. I mean, I was just Joseph, a kid who dreamt of doing stand-up 30 years ago. The next thing I know, I’m in this list of Top 10 Global Concert Tours.
Then all of a sudden, everything shuts down. All my shows were postponed. Everything that I’ve been dreaming about was already happening, but for it to just come to a complete stop was heartbreaking. I became very emotional.
Thankfully, I’m in a position to afford the time off, but I feel sorry for the up-and-coming comics who aren’t as privileged as I am. I mean, performing in front of crowds is our livelihood. We need people in front of us. I need people in the seats, to make them laugh. It’s just sad to see that that may not happen anymore. Performing stand-up is my everything. This is all I know how to do.
Although I miss being in those big venues, I will say that this pandemic has taught me to take a step back. To enjoy this time that I’m having with my family, and most importantly, with my son. Before all this happened, I was going a hundred-and-fifty percent into my work — nonstop, but I didn’t realize that I was losing the little moments I could have had with my son. Recently, I’m seeing the talent that he has. I see him acting on it and honing his skills, which is so fun to watch. He likes making music and being funny, so we create funny videos together. We’re being creative in that way, and that’s what I’m enjoying the most now that I finally have the time to.
“ I don’t see the entertainment industry changing because from my perspective, we are the ones changing it. Although, there is one thing that is irreplaceable — the live audience. ”
Redirecting my creativity
I had to find another outlet for my creativity because I could no longer perform in front of crowds. Luckily, I was able to tap into another talent that I didn’t know I had, which was being creative on social media platforms. Before the coronavirus, I was only using these platforms to let people know where I’m at, or to show people what I’ve done, but now I’m using those tools to my advantage. To keep myself going, you know?
I know I can’t be on stage, but nobody can stop me from being funny and creative in other ways. That’s another good thing that came out of this pandemic for me, finding alternative ways to be more creative.
Taking a Step Back
I don’t see the entertainment industry changing because from my perspective, we are the ones changing it. Although, there is one thing that is irreplaceable — the live audience. There’s something special about the energy inside a room, like in a real meeting where a group of people can sit around a table and talk, as opposed to a Zoom call with people talking through a camera. It’s just not the same. The energy isn’t the same. And you can’t be creative.
Comedy will always strive, but the art of stand-up needs the live audience. It will only thrive in the presence of the people, who give you energy and real emotions. It’s a completely different vibe that I just can’t let go of.
This pandemic has shown me that we are all connected, one way or another. When we’re all in the same room, laughing together, we’re connected through energy — through everything. And that will never be duplicated no matter how hard we try, because there’s nothing like being in a room with a bunch of strangers and then, all of a sudden, becoming one and laughing and enjoying life together, connected with the same energy.
“ Comedy will always strive, but the art of stand-up needs the live audience. It will only thrive in the presence of the people, who give you energy and real emotions. It’s a completely different vibe that I just can’t let go of. ”
I see us going back to how it was before all this came to a stop. I don’t know when that will happen, but I’m looking forward to the time I can return to the stage because we’re going to come back. Things are going to come back to where it was. We just need to heal and be safe, in the meantime.
During this entire lockdown, I’ve learned not to neglect time. Like, I’ll really cherish time and be more careful with it now. I’ll appreciate the ones I love around me more, no matter how crazy my life is. Yeah, I go one-hundred-and-fifty percent, but maybe it’s time that I take a little bit back now and understand that life is precious.
Life is very short and can be taken away at any given time. I just want to be able to say that if this were to ever happen again, while I hope that it doesn’t, at least I could be like, “Hey, I was really good with my time. I gave as much love to my audience, my fans, and most importantly, to my family, that I could.” So moving forward, that’s how it’s going to be.
Photos courtesy of Netflix and Jo Koy Entertainment
Edited by Nathalie Tomada