Jo Koy’s ‘Easter Sunday’


Jo Koy’s ‘Easter Sunday’ film may be a comedy, but it reminds Pinoys of what should matter most

Easter Sunday is a 2022 comedy film starring standup Jo Koy (Joseph Glenn Herbert). Written by Filams Ken Cheng and Kate Angelo, the story revolves around what being Filipino is all about and the quirks that go with it. The movie centers on Jo Koy as a struggling actor, comedian, and single father.

The movie highlight

The film’s highlight is when Joseph (Jo Koy) attends his loud and dysfunctional “Filam family” on Easter Sunday for a gathering.

There was also a debate over the pasalubong and petty quarreling between the aunties. The funniest was the ‘Balikbayan Box‘ scene which bares the idiosyncratic Pinoys.


The Chinese ethnicity is strong among many Filipinos. Perhaps, it’s one reason that, like them, Pinoy gatherings are filled with huge food portions (bandejados)—eight dishes are usual.

Jo Koy makes history

Easter Sunday was the first all-Filipino-American cast filmed and produced in the USA. The story may not be as glamorous as the Rich Crazy Asians, but it is something Filams can be proud of—including quirks.

“Jo Koy’s Daly City set puts Filipinos Front and Center. Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians, Love Hard), who has a cameo on Easter Sunday, also served as a producer.” [KQED]

Opening weekend

The movie was expected to gross $5–7 million from 3,175 theaters. It debuted at $6 million and grossed $13 million worldwide. It finished seventh at the box office, which was not bad.

It was seen by about 37% Asians, with 31% Caucasian, 15% Latino/Hispanic, and 11% African-American. [Deadline] 

Interestingly, the rom-com movie ‘Bros’ that opened the same weekend flopped with only $4.8 million. It had a $22 million budget with $30 million on marketing.

Lead actor and atheist Billy Eichner tweeted, “Straight people just didn’t show up for Bros’ at the box office.” Earlier in June, he mocked Bible believers by saying the Holy book “Fictional hateful Bible Stories.


The Santo Niño (Holy Child) is a Catholic practice of venerating Jesus as a child. Most Catholic homes in the Philippines are filled with statues of Mary, and like in this movie, the Niño.

Church means a great deal to Jo Koy’s family.

Although the movie is not about religion, the Christian tradition featured in the film is embedded in the conservative culture of Filipinos, at least for most Filipinos. Hence, Easter for Jo Koy holds an immediate value.

That was the biggest holiday that we all shared as a family. It was bigger than Christmas; it was bigger than Thanksgiving,” Koy told the Deseret News in an interview.


Jo Koy’s speech

On Easter Sunday, the family was preparing dinner, and chaos ensued. Jo gives a speech about family and brings everyone together to karaoke as the dinner grows tenser.

It changed the mood, and bickering was set aside. After all, what matters most is family, united in God’s love.

Jo Koy’s claim on Easter Sunday is true to history

Before the dawn of the internet, the Easter fiesta has been a huge celebration since the mid-17th century. It coincided with local fiestas that honored the beloved saints and Jesus on resurrection day.

The Salubong (meeting) is when Jesus and His mother, Mary, met after His Resurrection. A day-long feasting and community celebration follow it.


After attending church to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, Jo Koy’s family and relatives gather for a feast. In this YouTube screengrab of the movie trailer, Pinoys pray before every meal.

Critical response

The film had mixed reviews where polled audiences by CinemaScore gave it an average grade of “B+.” PostTrak gave it a 71%, with 49% saying they would recommend it. Of course, the respondents were also mixed race.

On Social Media, Pinoy’s “Talangka mentality” (crab mentality) was criticized, with some saying it was corny. At the same time, some claimed Easter Sunday was not the most important holiday in the country, though it used to be.


US-based legendary standup comedian Rex Navarrete quipped how the fog in Daly City is caused by Filipinos cooking rice. The same line came out in the movie, but according to Navarrete, he wasn’t credited for it, and neither did producers ask his permission for the line.

In another scene, the priest says, “Peace be with you…” and the congregation replies, “And also with you.” However, the response used is outdated.

In 2011, the “and also with you” response was reverted to the Latin text. Hence, the congregation should have responded with “Et cum spiritu tuo,” which is “And with your spirit.”

The Balikbayan scene is one of the funniest moments in the movie.

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