Nurse Josep

Josep aka Joseph aka Jo Koy, the stand-up comic. Facebook photo

In the ABC pilot, “Josep,” stand-up comic Jo Koy plays:

  • A divorced dad with a frizzy-haired teen son  
  • A loving son with a mother who can’t leave well enough alone
  • A registered nurse

Josep, an RN?   Imagine him in scrubs navigating a hospital. Are you laughing already? Imagine him as a single dad going out on dates.  Throw in a Pinay mother who looms large in his post-divorce life.  Endless possibilities for Asian-centric, cross-cultural humor.

Finally, 15 years after “Desperate Housewives” made a punchline of Philippine-educated doctors, ABC is acknowledging the brilliance and brand-potential of Filipino comedy. Jo Koy paved the way.

“Josep” has announced the Filipino members of the cast: Mia Katigbak, Kaden Alejandro, Kimee Balmilero, and Tess Paras.

Portraying Jo Koy’s mother Lorna is Mia Katigbak, a stage and television actress. She is the hilarious mother who mispronounces her Ps and her Fs. She is protective of her family and proud of her cooking. Her weapon of discipline: a pair of slippers. Katigbak co-founded the National Asian American Theatre Company. Her TV credits include “Chicago P.D.” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Tess Paras plays Cheryl, Josep’s ex-wife. The actress had a recurring role in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” She graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media, Culture, and Communication and a minor in Journalism. 

Kaden Alejandro plays Miles, the son; Mia Katigbak the mother, Lorna.

Kaden Alejandro plays Miles, the son of Josep and Cheryl. According to Deadline, “Miles is comfortable with the idea of his parents’ divorce — in fact, he appears to be the most well-adjusted member of the entire family. Miles has very little interest in traditional Filipino culture; his dad raised him on hip-hop, and he prefers orange chicken to any Filipino dish.” The young actor has appeared in television series such as “Bel-Air,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” and “The Rookie.” 

Kimee Balmilero portrays Geraldine, Josep’s married sister who runs a Filipino restaurant with her white husband, Seth, played by actor Rory O’Malley.   The Hawaii-born Balmilero left her hometown so she could pursue acting.  She joined the national touring company of “Miss Saigon.” In New York, she was cast in Broadway’s “Mamma Mia.”

The pilot is usually how top-rated sitcoms make their mark. It introduces the plot as well as the characters to the network decision-makers and advertisers. In cases where some characters need more fleshing out that’s when refinements to storyline and roles are made.  In “Two and a Half Men,” for instance, the role of Evelyn Harper went from Blythe Danner to Holland Taylor after the pilot. The producers felt the role was “not a good fit” for Danner. When a network greenlights the project, it will “order” a certain number of episodes good to last from half a season to a full season. In a worst-case scenario, a show can get canceled after a dismal first episode. It’s important to have a pilot that holds the viewers’ interest whether the show is a drama or a comedy.

“Josep” is a half-hour comedy with the following notables as executive producers: Jo Koy, his manager Joe Meloche, Steve Joe (“Doogie Kameāloha M.D.” and “Young Sheldon”), Randall Park and Kourtney Kang (“Fresh Off the Boat”), screen writer Michael Golamco, The Detective Agency’s Jake Kasdan, and Melvin Mar (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”). – Cristina D.C. Pastor

© The FilAm 2022

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