Jo Koy’s controversial monologue at the 2024 Golden Globes
By Bella Coco, Staff Writer
On Sunday, Jan. 7, Jo Koy made history as the second Asian individual to host the Golden Globes. However, after some poorly landed jokes, the comedian has faced a remarkable amount of scrutiny and criticism since.
For many, the 81st Golden Globes was an exciting time to make awards and glamorous Hollywood events relevant again after the SAG-AFTRA strike. But Koy seemed to bury himself in a deeper hole with each joke he made. While Koy took part in the timeworn tradition of jabbing at celebrities, his opening monologue was found by viewers to be uncomfortable, dry, and misogynistic.
Shortly into his monologue, Koy sprung into action with a light-hearted joke about Oppenheimer’s runtime—which seemed to actually be a hit with the audience. However, things went downhill when Koy compared the dramatic biopic with Barbie when it came to the box office achievement award.
“Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies,” Koy said.
The joke elicited very little amusement from the audience, with some scattered laughter here and there and some unimpressed faces. Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie, only revealed an unimpressed expression, as well as cast members Issa Rae and Ryan Gosling.
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of Koy’s downhill journey at the Golden Globes.
“I watched Barbie. I loved it, I really did love it,” he continued to say. “The key moment in Barbie is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite and flat feet. Or, what casting directors call, character actor.”
The moment the joke hit the audience, the camera panned to a shot from Koy’s point of view. While laughter was heard, no audience member could be seen laughing. Selena Gomez grimaced with her head in her hands, while other stars, such as Emma Stone, Harrison Ford, and Christopher Nolan, only offered stony-faced expressions.
Viewers on social media unleashed their anger on Koy moments after the monologue was aired. Some even demanded Koy be fired immediately from the show, and that award shows need to work better at hiring comedians who don’t use offensive jokes to be funny. However, there have been videos circulating of John Mulaney, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey claiming that this type of comedian is the type of individual who should be hosting the Golden Globes.
Koy was called out for his blunt misogyny on platform after platform. Many users pointed out the fact that Koy’s jokes were the reason Barbie’s “surface level feminism” message was so loud and blatant, and others posted the script of America Ferrera’s speech in Barbie, which is a powerful monologue about the difficulty of simply being a woman and succeeding in a world built off the patriarchy.
In addition to the criticism Koy has been facing, a new TikTok trend has emerged from his speech. Many creators have overlaid Koy’s comments about Barbie with “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish. The song was written and recorded for Barbie’s original soundtrack and was also paired with clips of women at the Golden Globes or clips of Barbie. The numerous edits were made to show that Koy’s speech further proved why Barbie was made.
Koy was also accused of blaming the writers for the flat jokes. Seconds after the poor reaction to his Barbie remark, Koy was quick to the defensive, claiming that he had limited time and only wrote some of the jokes.
“Some I wrote, some other people wrote,” he quickly defended to the audience. “Yes, I got the gig 10 days ago! You want a perfect monologue? Yo, shut up. You’re kidding me right? Slow down, I wrote some of these and they are the ones you are laughing at.”
Later on, after the show, Koy told the LA Times he loves his writers, and that in the moment he was grasping for something to say. Koy also opened up about his Barbie joke to the Times.
“The reaction to the Barbie joke. The things that are being said, it’s just like, man, I don’t think you understand who I am as a person, you know what I mean?” Koy said.
“I’m telling a joke—what happened to society where we can’t even joke with each other anymore,” he continued. “I bought the movie. I supported the movie. Yes, that’s the story that that doll needed. And I’m glad because now there’s people that look like my mom that can support that.”
Koy’s lack of accountability and apology earned him even more backlash and controversy from social media platforms, and many hope to not see him host any award shows any time soon.