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It’s A Pirate, It’s A Cowboy, It’s…Jo Koy
When asked what he would be for Halloween if he could be anything, comedian and “Chelsea Lately” regular Jo Koy says, “If I could look good in the outfit, Superman. But I would look ridiculous in that outfit…I think most people would—it takes a special person to slip into that outfit.” In the spirit of the Halloween season and his upcoming performance at Treasure Island Nov. 1, the personable comic took us on a tour of the resort’s hotspots as well as played a bit of dress-up for the camera.
Working the Box Office
For our first stop, Koy puts on a button-down shirt and name tag and attempts to sell tickets to his show—familiar territory for the former Las Vegas resident.
“I used to book my own shows,” he recalls. “I would rent theaters, one was the Huntridge Theater. …It’s a historical landmark. …Back in the day [Las Vegas] didn’t have comedy clubs—they still don’t; you have to be a headliner out here—so I had to literally rent out theaters and make my own tickets. This is before Photoshop. I was going to Kinko’s and Xeroxing copies of the tickets I made and selling them myself. Making my own fliers. Getting sponsors for the show…that’s how I got my stage time. Did that for almost eight years out here.”
The Bull Ship
Moving on to the Bull Ship that floats in Sirens’ Cove in front of Treasure Island for the Sirens of TI show (currently on hiatus through Dec. 25), Koy dons pirate attire and goofs around with a toy parrot. As he takes on the pirate persona, we ask him about Halloween memories.
“I was never into Halloween when I was a kid, because we couldn’t afford costumes. All my other friends had cool costumes,” Koy says. “I had to make my costume—had to be the hobo because that was easy, just wear old clothes. I hated it, so I never participated. …Now, my son is at the age where he trick-or-treats and now I’m into it. And I want to get him all the cool outfits that I couldn’t get when I was kid—and he’s not into it! It drives me nuts. I’m like, ‘You want to go as Iron Man? Let’s go. I’m going to buy Robert Downey Jr.’s outfit right now.’ He says, ‘I don’t want to do it, Daddy.’
Should Have Been a Cowboy
We continue on to Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que for some cowboy antics. Wearing a cowboy hat, Koy drinks a glass of courage in the form of a frosty milkshake at the bar before climbing atop the stationary, mechanical bull. He’s a good sport hamming it up, but a true daredevil he is not.
“I can’t [ride the bull]. One, I have a bad back, but two, I can’t see myself trying it,” Koy admits. “I think the worst, like my teeth are all paid for, and all I can see is my face hitting the front of that bull and falling out. I don’t see any good outcome at riding the bull. I don’t see staying on for eight seconds and then people applauding. I see my face bashing up against the head of the bull, blood everywhere, and the paramedics.”
Koy will keep up appearances for his son, though.
“My son is 10 now, the age of being fearless because he doesn’t known what pain really is. He hasn’t broken a limb yet, hasn’t been in his first fist fight yet. …So when we go to a theme park like Magic Mountain [in California], of course, he picks the biggest and most dangerous ride. As the father, I have to be the one who’s fearless, too, because I’m his dad. …We went on the Skycoaster [the Dive Devil]. You get into this parachute harness, they have a cable that goes on your back and then they pull you 300 feet [up]—slowly, because they want you to cry on the way up—and then this guy on the loudspeaker says, ‘Pull the cord.’ So they tell you to go ahead and kill yourself. …And then you freefall for two seconds. I hated my life up there, but I had to act like I was the tough one. My son is like screaming and I’m like, ‘It’s going to be all right,’ but in my head I’m like, ‘No, it’s not, we’re both dying.’”
Under the Sea
Our journey through Treasure Island ends at colorful, nautical-themed restaurant Seafood Shack, where Koy is given a kiddie hat, a bib and a lobster companion. Ready to feast on some clam chowder, we ask Koy what he liked to eat as a kid.
“Tomato soup. It was Campbell’s Tomato Soup, ’cause that’s poor man’s soup, 30 cents a can,” Koy says, “and you complement that with a grilled cheese sandwich. That was gourmet at my house. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and we would always throw two slices of American cheese in there to give it that extra cheesy taste. On a good day we’d add hot dogs, throw them in and, of course, when my Mom would make Filipino food—that was always great.”
Jo Koy | Nov. 1, 9 p.m. | From $49.95 | Treasure Island | 702-894-7722
Story photos by Kyle Cooper