NOTE TO JO KOY & OTHERS: NEVER THROW YOUR TEAM UNDER THE BUS
One of the most “SIT DOWN, SHUT UP AND LISTEN” lessons I ever received in my career was about never taking out frustrations on the air by blaming those you work with. More than once when I was a young’un in the broadcast news/sports business did something go wrong while on the set or on location, (often a mic going silent or a taped element not being played on time when called for), and I busted that cardinal sin. I said something to the effect of, “WELL, we WOULD have seen that play if someone back in Master Control has pushed the proper button!”, and you better believe I caught the verbal back end of several hands when confronted by the technical staff.
“We’re all back here busting our ass to make YOU look good, and when something screws up back here we have NO CONTROL OVER, WE’RE NOT OUT HERE PURPOSELY TRYING TO F*** YOU OVER! Maybe next time we WILL Screw you over just to make a point!”.
I was young, arrogant, and damned if I didn’t get the message loud and clear. In our business, in EVERY business, there is a team element and effort. NEVER spit on those who are out there doing their job to the best of their ability.
Which brings us to the issue of comedian Jo Koy and the massive eggs he laid on stage as host of the 2024 Golden Globes. Unfortunately, there were more than a few, and while the manner of humor was in keeping with his usual schtick, this was not the place nor the audience for what he rolled out.
Look, not every performance is perfect. Standup comedy is one of the toughest forms of entertainment anywhere, because you never really know if something is going to miss, especially in that type of crowd. Koy obviously misread the room, and there are plenty of seasoned comic performers I know who behind the scenes knew well before the telecast that the potential was there for complete disaster. That’s the current nature of these award shows. It’s a very different animal from his success on the standup stage or on podcast.
While there’s a chance for everyone to fail sometime, this is where you suck it up, absorb the blows, and take responsibility. What you DON’T DO is throw members of your team under the bus and blame them for the gaffe. Yet that’s exactly what Koy did in blaming his writers. Not once, mind you, but several times during the performance.
Jo, you screwed up. Those writers are the people who helped make you a star. They bust their ass for not a lot of money, and the last thing they want to hear is you calling them out and mocking their work. You saw the jokes, you approved them, you are thus the last line of defense in making them work OR if the bottom falls out, be professional and take the heat.
The buck stops with YOU. C’mon Jo, you’re better than this.
I learned that lesson a very long time ago, and now hopefully Jo Koy has learned it. Here’s also hoping he contacted each and every writer and personally apologizes, because they damn sure are entitled to at least that.
Take a tip in whatever your business, whatever your craft. There is a team behind you. It may not be a deep set, but there are people there busting their ass to be the best they can be at all times. Remember who helped get you where you are, and your responsibility in the final product.
Those tire tracks may fade, but rest assured there are people who still feel the sting and they won’t soon forget your mistake. Lead by example, and in cases similar to this, lead with grace and class.
That lasts a lot longer than tire marks.