Jo Valencia, played by Koy in his first feature film starring role, begins Easter Sunday hesitant to spend time with his loving but overbearing family. But over the course of the film, he learns to respect them again and feel cared for by them - just as the audience enjoys relating to different characters and their dynamics. It also stars Lydia Gaston, Brandon Wardell, and Eugene Cordero.
Screen Rant spoke to Koy about his experience being on billboards in Los Angeles, his desire to share his culture with the world, and one of his favorite moment in Easter Sunday.
Screen Rant: Dude, congrats on this movie.
Jo Koy: Thank you.
Even driving here, seeing it on the billboards all over the place and on buses, what does that feel like?
Jo Koy: What does it feel like? Okay. I live in Studio City; the mountain right there off Ventura. I make a right, and I'm going to Universal and - legit, I swear, I forgot my ID to get into the gate. I pull into the gate and, of course, it's the billboard at Universal Gate 3. I mean, how cool is that? It's like, "ID?"
Please tell me you used the billboard as your ID.
Jo Koy: "ID? That's my ID." There was four of them on the same street. I keep pinching myself.
There's so many staples in Hollywood. I have the Minion looking over me, and I have Jo Koy overlooking me on the billboard. You're somebody that I feel a lot of people really feel like they know. I feel like you've been on our screens forever; I've always connected with you. What is your favorite part of this movie that feels so authentically Jo Koy? Is there a scene where you're like, "This is straight out of my life?"
Jo Koy: I would have to say the karaoke scene. Karaoke is such a... I say it on stage all the time. I talk about it. It's a part of our culture. It's always been that way, even before the expensive Magic Mics. My mom's had every stage of Magic Mic Karaoke from the tape cassette to the laser disc; the big laser disc to the mini disc to the CD to now this. That scene right there, I was just like, "Oh man."
And your go-to song is?
Jo Koy: Mine is always an R&B song. It's always a Brian McKnight or a Boyz II Men song.
This movie really highlights what I think everyone knows about their family. We all have the quirkiest family. I always have this lesson when I'm dating someone, I'm like, "Okay, you're going to meet my family. This, this, and this is going to happen." What are three things you would say to somebody you're bringing around your family for the first time?
Jo Koy: It's going to be extremely loud. It's louder than loud; for no reason loud. Everyone's talking on top of each other, and that's how we communicate. It's three people, they're talking to each other at the same time, and you can only hear the one that's the loudest. That's how it is at my house.
Lastly, what does it mean to just have this coming out in theaters?
Jo Koy: It's everything. It's not just me; this movie isn't about me. My standup's not even about me. My standup is about getting my culture out there and our voice out there. That's what this is. Before representation was even a thing, I was always trying to explain to people, "This is just a family, man. This is my mom. Come on. How can you not know this mom? This mom is your mom."
We all know your mom.
Jo Koy: Yeah, she's your mom. Your mom is just like my mom. There's no difference. It's just that my mom's from the Philippines, but she's doing everything your mom does. That's what this movie's about. The more movies that we can make like this, where it's just about culture, we're all going to realize that we're all relatable.
I want the series to happen.
Jo Koy: It's going to happen. I'm not stopping.
Jo Koy: I'm not stopping. We're going, right? The door's finally open. I ain't closing it. I want more people just like me to go through it, and they create. Let's get more creators; more minds in there.
A man returns home to celebrate Easter with his riotous, bickering, eating, drinking, laughing, loving family.
Check back soon for more interviews with the cast and crew of Easter Sunday.