Comedian Jo Koy and film producer Dan Lin wrapped the inaugural Rise for Comedy festival on Thursday with a $75,000 donation to the nonprofit Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA).
Koy hosted the event, in support of his upcoming film “Easter Sunday,” spread over two nights at Historic Filipinotown’s Rideback Ranch.
The shenanigans kicked off with a panel on representation moderated by Kathy K. Im, director of journalism and media at the MacArthur Foundation. Among the panelists were Los Angeles Times TV critic Lorraine Ali, CNN reporter Lisa Ling, Panda Express Chief Brand Officer Andrea Cherng and UTA’s Jacqueline Kim.
Discussing representation in broadcast journalism, Ling told the 200-person crowd that she would not have pursued a career in journalism had it not been for news anchor Connie Chung. “When I was growing up, Connie was the only Asian person on a national stage delivering the news. She allowed me to know what was possible.”
Following the panel, Koy returned to the stage with Lin to present a check to SIPA board officers Edward Malicdem, Jennifer Taylor, Rachel Buenviaje and Rita Garcia for $25,000. During the presentation, Koy announced a matching donation of $25,000. He turned to Lin and encouraged the CEO of production company Rideback to donate an additional $25,000, raising the total to $75,000. Koy laughed at putting Lin on the spot for donation funds. “You should have seen him sweat, I have never heard the sound of sweat until now,” he joked.
SIPA seeks to assist with the development of small and micro businesses in Los Angeles, with a focus on Asian American business communities, especially those of low-income immigrants.
The night ended with a stand-up comedy routine from AAPI comedians that included Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Fahim Anwar and Andrew Lopez.
Koy, who also has a Netflix special coming in September, didn’t want to spoil any jokes from the show so he delivered a new routine that included quips about finding inappropriate items in his son’s travel bag and being sold a nylon Prada jumpsuit.