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‘That’s A Tough Room’: Kevin Hart Shares Thoughts After Jo Koy’s Golden Globes Monologue Backlash And The ‘Trickery’ That Comes With Such Hosting Gigs

 Kevin Hart in What Now.
Kevin Hart in What Now.

The Golden Globe Awards have often made headlines not for the winners (see the 2024 Golden Globe winners here), but for various other events surrounding the show itself and the organization that put it on. The talk coming out of this year’s show wasn’t the potential Oscar favorites, it was the performance of host Jo Koy, which went over like a lead balloon both with the crowd of celebrities in attendance and with many watching.

Many comedians have spoken about Jo Koy’s performance in the days since the awards show. Figures like Seth Myers and Steve Martin, have come to the comedian’s defense, pointing out just how tough shows like that can be. Appearing on Watch What Happens Live, Kevin Hart, who was once tapped to host the Oscars,  has joined the chorus of those who say that Jo Koy’s lackluster performance has less to do with his own talent and more to do with the unusual room he was performing in. Hart explained…

Jo Koy is a phenomenal comedian. He sells out arenas everywhere, and that's for a reason. He has a following, he has a fan base. That's a tough room, you know, it's not like it's an easy room. It's an industry room. It's an industry room where the expectation is one of like, consequence, so everybody's on edge about what are you going to say about me. It's not one that's attached to immediate laughter.

There’s certainly no argument that doing a monologue at the Golden Globes is unlike what any stand-up comedian is used to doing. The show itself requires that jokes are made about the entertainment industry, and you’re making those jokes literally to the entertainment industry. Jo Koy took the unprecedented step of defending himself on stage, saying he had accepted the Golden Globes job only days before the show.

Hart implies that Koy’s issue was that he doesn’t have the relationship within the industry that others, that have been successful in that role, have had. He mentions Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted the Golden Globes more than once and were generally seen as succesful. Hart said...

I think the comics that have partaken and have had success, it's because they have a nice understanding of the industry and the personnel. [They] have relationships like Tina Fey, Amy [Poehler,] you go to Ricky Gervais. You can go down a list of the comics that have hosted and had success, they have relationships, they've been embedded in that environment for quite some time.

Kevin Hart thinks Jo Koy just lacked experience in that environment, and now that he has some, things could go better next time, if there is a next time. At the end of the day, Hard doesn’t think one bad night, even on that public stage, will damage the comic’s career, and it might even have been a good thing in the long run. Hard continued…

So there's a lot of trickery that goes into playing it, and I think the experience will play a big part in success, but Jo's fine. If I'm Jo, I don't let it get to me, let it slide off of your back. You're fine, you'll be fine, you're a talented successful comic. … Yes, it's a good thing you know who Jo Koy is now.

There’s no question that the awards show gigs are tough. There have been some undeniably great comedians who have faltered in hosting awards shows. When it comes to bombing on an awards show stage, Jo Koy is now in impressive company.