Who is Jo Koy? An American actor and stand-up comedian who hosted the 2024-edition of The Golden Globes (and 2023 as well, which was pretty much his first big break as an emcee for an important film and television awards ceremony). Why do you need to know him? Because like many other stand-up comedians (most of course, get washed out by the incessant uploads on social media), he decided to drop in a ‘funny’ sexist comment during the opening set at this year’s Golden Globes. Reportedly, that ‘joke’ was not part of the script. And this is what he said: “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.” Koy also made digs at Taylor Swift’s NFL appearances.
If you aren’t caught up yet, here’s the snippet.
It’s not the first time that a comedian has resorted to cracking gender-based jokes. Remember the Chris Rock situation during the Oscars when Will Smith went on stage and slapped the comedian because he had taken a jab at Jada Pinkett-Smith?
In 2013, actor Seth McFarlane’s set at The Oscars left a bad taste in plenty of mouths when he did a routine called “We Saw Your B***S”, to which The New Yorker wrote, “….the evening’s misogyny involved a specific hostility to women in the workplace, which raises broader questions than whether the Academy can possibly get Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host next year.”
Yes, this was nearly 11 years ago, and you’d think over time, things would change. It’s not unnatural for comedians to be snarky, caustic, sarcastic, cynical etc – it’s their job. But when did sexism become cool again?
The corporate world is no better. In 2017, at The Digital Entrepreneur Awards, which happens to be UK's only national awards for internet entrepreneurialism, had women in corsets welcoming guests and showcased sexists jokes as part of the frolic. The Guardian, in an article, said: “No high-tech displays or feats of ingenuity here: instead, guests were greeted by corset-wearing showgirls and regaled with offensive jokes from Love Island voiceover star Iain Stirling. Apple keynote this was not.” (This is the article)
Here’s the thing. Sexism and misogyny never really went out of fashion. As more women across the world fight for their dignity, that many people (both men and women) clamber all over each other to tell the same world how a woman ‘be’. Body shaming, behaviour shaming, lifestyle shaming – women live with it every single day, be it in the form of a subtle reference or in the form of ‘friendly advice’.
Koy’s so-called jokes at The Golden Globes 2024 has caused a bit of a stir on the internet. While most said it was in poor taste, many just called it ‘bad’.
American broadcaster and media personality, Howard Stern, during his SiriusXM show, said that the fact that Koy was given only 10 days to prepare for Golden Globes should have probably been the highlight of the whole event because no one wanted to host the Golden Globes, going on to say that it’s tough because you can’t make fun of people anymore.
Sure, you can make fun of people. But here’s the thing. Women have been dealing with misogyny for generations and at some point, got used to it and then decided not to take it anymore. The fight is uphill and most of us aren’t giving up but is being sensitive to certain things too much to ask for?