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Once a Vegas club comic, Jo Koy sells out T-Mobile Arena

Updated November 22, 2022 - 7:57 pm

We often post notes under the header, “What Works In Vegas.” We’ll lead this column that way, and what works in Vegas is comedian Jo Koy at T-Mobile Arena.

Koy sold out the arena on Saturday night. That’s 14,000 tickets, as he said from the stage. Koy attended UNLV for a time. He dropped out to pursue comedy, landing his first bookings in 1994. He was initially featured at the late-great Catch a Rising Star at MGM Grand.

In a piece of Vegas entertainment lore, Koy sold tickets, on foot and door-to-door, for a show at Huntridge Theater. He had actually rented the venue — one of the earliest variations of “four-walling” in Vegas I’ve ever heard of.

Massively popular in among Filipino-Americans across the country, Koy went on to become a national figure. He vaulted from his appearances as a panelist on “Chelsea Lately,” alongside his now-ex, Chelsea Handler to movie stardom. His latest, “Easter Sunday,” was released this summer. The film was produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Sunday night, a night after Koy packed T-Mobile Arena, I ran into the first comic for whom Koy ever opened, Geechy Guy. That was in 1997. Guy, a veteran club and cruise-ship headliner, was the guest star in “The Sit In” with Kelly Clinton-Holmes at the Copa Room at Tuscany Suites.

Guy visited Koy backstage at T-Mobile on Saturday, remembering the Huntridge days, blown away that the same kid who hustled his own shows was now playing to thousands in an arena on the Strip.

“I was so impressed, the whole crowd lit up their cell phones for him. It looked like a rock concert,” Guy said. “But I wouldn’t want to be that famous. Could you imagine me in the middle of that crowd?”

Not really. Guy is a different kind of comic, cagey, quirky, throwing his “joke grenades” that you might not get until they detonate hours later. Koy is now a long way from the Huntridge days, and Guy is a long way from T-Mobile. But regardless of the venue’s size, they still work in Vegas.

The Maniscalco show

“Is it It Me?” Sebastian Maniscalco’s concert special taped at Encore Theater in September, premieres Dec. 6 on Netflix. Then we will know if the moment when Maniscalco split his pants will make the final version. He looked great, regardless, in a Rat Pack-ian tux.

Maniscalco, as is customary, turned in a fantastic performance. Loved the bit where he describes the challenges of “going to the pool” in Las Vegas. It’s a long line to a $10K investment.

This is Maniscalco’s fourth Netflix special, following “What’s Wrong With People?,” “Why Would You Do That?,” and “Stay Hungry.” He’s back Jan. 6-7, May 27-28, and worth a night out.

Donny’s at it

Donny Osmond continues to put himself out there. A week after jumping into Piff the Magic Dragon’s show at Flamingo Showroom, Osmond has announced, “Donny Osmond’s High School Reunion” from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 26 at a Linq Hotel banquet room. “I never went to a traditional high school,” he says. “But that ain’t stopping me, baby.”

Osmond has set up music, food, games, a yearbook, free merchandise, photos with the superstar, and a contest with “huge prizes, I mean huge prizes, it’s going to blow your mind.” The listed ticket price point at Ticketmaster.com is $350 for the full VIP treatment. Start saving now, Osmond fans. And go to Donny.com and sign up for the newsletter to keep updated.

Gaga in 2023

We anticipate Lady Gaga to return to Dolby Live next fall, before her work on “Joker: Folie à Deux” is to begin. The shooting scheduled is reported to start in November. We hope mostly for a “Jazz + Piano” revival, and would welcome an updated pop show. And Brian Newman’s “After Dark” show at NoMad Library should be back, too, if the numbers work out (as they say).

Meanwhile at V Theater

The long-awaited “Tiger King” parody premiere at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood has been pushed to January. Producer David Saxe says cast commitments through the holidays have moved the show back.

No worries. Saxe’s company is accustomed to what we call the “floating deadline.” “Vegas! The Show” plowed through at least a half-dozen opening targets before opening at Saxe Theater.

The latest shows to enter the V Theater domain, “Newsical The Musical” and “A Musical About Star Wars” have opened. These are both spoof shows from off-Broadway devotees Tom and Michael D’Angora. And, Kyle Martin’s heartfelt “Piano Man,” a tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel, has picked up some mo’ at the theater. Tasos Peltekis is on guitar, Rob Mader on sax, Anthony “A.J.” James on bass and Alex Papa on drums. Brave the parking at the mall and get there.

Great Moments in Social Media

See Carrot Top get taken down by a fan on his @CarrotTopLive Instagram Reels feed. This happened as he delivered Crown Royal shots to his crowd at Atrium Showroom. The overeager guest was apparently from Saskatchewan (he called her by that name), and simply bulldogged the prop comic to the floor. Sort of like Nick Bosa tying up Matthew Stafford.

This type of scene can only be enhanced by the presence of pop icon Tony Orlando, and by fluke he was seated right in front of the incident.

Cool Hang Alert

Calling our own number here. Yours truly is hosting what, I believe, is the final American Cancer Society Real Men Wear Pink event of the 2022 campaign at 9 p.m. Friday at Tuscany’s Piazza lounge. The effort raises funds in the fight against breast cancer. It’s a bunch o’ singers backed by our trusted band leader, Kenny Davidsen. Theme is, “By The Numbers,” songs and artists somehow related to numerical figures. No cover, but we ask for donations to main.acsevents.org/goto/jkats. Or, bring some USD to the show.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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