Jo Koy

Twenty-five years ago, Jo Koy was a wannabe comic in Las Vegas. It was a tough city for a young performer, and Koy spent lots of his time in those days booking himself. “I did everything,” he recalls, laughing. “I’d rent a hall for $600. I’d sell advertising on the back of the tickets and in the programs. I’d go around and sell tickets. They were always two-for-one; I didn’t sell full-price tickets back then. I’d do the show and then keep the money from the door. I spent years shaking people’s hands and saying, ‘Please come see my show.’ It was crazy, but that’s what I had to do.”

These days, Koy, one of only a handful of comedians ever to receive a standing ovation on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, still spends lots of time shaking people’s hands. Now it’s with hundreds of fans during after-show meet-and-greets. Some other comedians limit their meet-and-greets to VIP ticketholders or are available for only a limited time, rushing fans through. “I will never do that,” Koy says earnestly. “Are you kidding? Shaking hands got me my start. I’ll stand there for hours if there’s somebody waiting after a show. Believe me, I would so much rather do that than have to go around renting halls and selling ads. Shaking hands? That’s the easy part.”

8 p.m. Thursday; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Improv Comedy Showcase, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit houston.improv.com. $25 to $55.
Thu., Feb. 5, 8 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 6, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 7, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2015

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Olivia Flores Alvarez