Jo Koy's Life on Wheels: All the Cars the Comedian Has Owned


In his new book called Mixed Plate, Jo Koy gets candid about his life and what he had to go through to realize his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. It’s hard enough that he and his family struggled to make ends meet, especially after his biological father skipped out on them when he was young, but he also had to contend with issues like racism and the lack of opportunities for someone like him who was just starting out. 

Today his name is known all over the world. He’s sold-out venues intimate and massive in the US and across the world. He’s won awards and filmed a bunch of stand-up specials. And now he’s even doing a movie produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg. 

When I chatted with him recently, I also asked him about his evolution through the cars that he’s owned over the years. His first “car” was actually a motorcycle, which he used to ride as a teenager, much to his mother’s consternation. He even got into a major accident once that left him in the hospital with a broken leg for weeks.


A Rabbit and a Prelude

His first “real” car, though, was a Volkswagen Rabbit, which his mother bought for him when he was 18. He got a job then at a shopping mall selling shoes in Las Vegas, and he used it to get to work.

1976-1978 Volkswagen Rabbit

Photo by Wikipedia.
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“Yeah. The Rabbit, man,” he says. “That was not a good thing. I got into a huge car accident and I hit a cop in pursuit in that Rabbit. It wasn't my fault! But it was pretty bad. It was totaled.” 

When Jo became serious about pursuing his stand-up dreams, he decided to move to Los Angeles, where there were more opportunities for entertainers. There he drove for years in a Honda Prelude with a broken taillight.

Fourth generation Honda Prelude 

Photo by Wikipedia.

“When I say ‘broken’ I mean there was a giant hole in it from when I ran into an armored cars, and you could literally stick your hand in and reach my trunk,” he says in the book. “My driving skills hadn’t improved much.”

“That's what we used to drive around in,” he tells me. “So, (that car had) a lot of memories, man. That was the car we used to drive my son around town in.”

Jo says he had that car for about five years. Until his mother found out and bought him an Acura LX to keep her grandson safe.

“That was a piece of crap,” Jo says. “I hated that car. It was always breaking down.”

When Jo started to make a name for himself and was earning decent money, he finally decided to splurge and buy a “nice” car.

Fourth generation of the BMW 5 Series

Photo by Wikipedia.


“It was a BMW 5,” he says. “Fully loaded, 22-inch rims. It had everything on it. That was pretty cool and fun. That was a good time. And then, after that, it was kind of like, I was getting a car every other year. It became an addiction.” 


Jo lists the car he’s bought after that: a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, a Mercedes-Benz 550, a Porsche Panamera, a Porsche 911, a Tesla (Roadster), and the Tesla X. 

“Man, I can keep going on,” he says.


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A post shared by Jo Koy (@jokoy)

In a podcast with actor Rob Lowe, Jo talks in detail about his love for Tesla. In fact, he says he’s had all of the Tesla models and iterations and claims he was the first to own a Tesla X in Los Angeles. 

“The salesman said I was the first and I believe him,” he said.

Jo ended up giving the car to his ex-wife.

“The ex has the X,” he says. “She’s the happiest woman alive right now.”

Current ride

So what’s Jo driving right now? He says he has a Porsche Panamera. “I love it.” 

Because he doesn’t have the greatest track record as a driver, I asked if he’s since improved.


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A post shared by Jo Koy (@jokoy)

“I'm actually better now, man,” he says. “No accidents yet, thank god.” 

The bad news is that he also got his son a car, which the younger Joseph proceeded to wreck as well.

“I bought him a Porsche, but he totaled it,” he says. “It’s gone. Yeah, he’s done. He can't drive until he's like 21 or something like that.”

Like father, like son.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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