It’s a homecoming of sorts for Jo Koy when he comes back to the FICA

Jo Koy was born and raised in Tacoma, but the comics insists he feels the same vibe performing in Spokane as he does around Puget Sound.

“It really is like coming home when I perform in Spokane,” Koy said from his Los Angeles home. “I just feel that way whenever I’m back in Washington. That’s so whether I’m in Tacoma, Seattle or Spokane. The culture in the state of Washington brings me back to my childhood.”

Koy will perform two nights at the First Interstate Center for the Arts next week. His show on Feb. 3 has a handful of single seats available. Thursday’s show has good availability.

Koy, 51, felt nostalgic when he sold out the Tacoma Dome two months ago. “That was so special,” Koy said. “To be able to play a venue of that size. It was incredible.”

The show reminded Koy of the night, which changed his life, when he caught Eddie Murphy in Seattle a generation ago.

“That was the greatest moment of my life to that point,” Koy said. “I saw my hero on stage at what was then known as the Seattle Coliseum, which is now Climate Pledge Arena. I was blown away by Eddie. His stand up was amazing and he was incredible on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ People forget that he was just 20 years old when he was on ‘SNL.’ He saved that show. If Eddie Murphy didn’t join ‘SNL,’ I think the show would have been canceled. I loved his stand-up but what he did on television was so powerful.”

Koy tried to go the conventional route and attended the University of Nevada, but he ultimately received his education across the street from campus. When not drifting into daydreams during classes, Koy popped into comedy clubs. It was during open mic nights that he found direction.

“College for me was just horrible,” Koy said. “I’m just not a student. I enrolled for one reason, to make my mother happy. I wasn’t having the best experience in college, but when I discovered the clubs, that’s when I went to work.”

Koy’s Filipino mother failed to understand. “When I told her what I wanted to do, she said, ‘What is comedian?’ ” Koy said while laughing. “You don’t want to do that. You need a job with insurance and benefits.”

But Koy avoided life in a cubicle and is one of the most successful comics in the country.

“You have to go for it,” Koy said. “I’m glad I followed through.”

Koy is at his best when he’s spinning humorous yarns about his family.

“I like talking about what I know because it’s authentic,” Koy said. “I really love it when people come up to me after a show and tell me how much they relate to what I go through. They tell me they have the same experience with their kids.”

Now that Koy’s son is 19, their relationship is changing and it’s difficult for him. “This is very hard on me,” Koy said.”I’m getting emotional again since he’s going to go out and get a job. I’m going to miss spending so much time with him.”

Many stand-ups don’t have children or don’t spend much time with their children, but Koy is an outlier.

“I’m aware of that,” Koy said. “Most comics are self-involved, but I can focus on comedy and still have time for family. My son is where I was years ago when I was trying to find myself. I hope he finds what he loves like I did. Comedy is my passion and we should work at what we’re passionate about.”

Lockdown was difficult for Koy, but he made the most of his time by writing his memoir, “Mixed Plate: Chronicles of An All-American Combo,” which hit shelves in 2021.

The book was cathartic for Koy. “It was an amazing release for me,” Koy said. “The process of writing the book was great,” Koy said. “What was weird was the impact the audio version had on me. That was like boot camp. Oh my god, dude, it was rough. When I read aloud the chapter on my brother, it took me three days to read it.”

Koy’s brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “It was just so heavy and it reminds me of how important therapy is for people. I needed therapy to deal with what went on with me and my brother.”

Stand-up is therapeutic for Koy.

“I always feel better when I get up there on the stage and connect with the audience,” Koy said. “It was what I was meant to do and I’ll be doing it again in Spokane where the fans have just been so amazing. It’s been a great last few months. I got to play the Tacoma Dome. I got to play the forum here in Los Angeles. 2022 was special but I’m all about where I’m at in 2023. I’m looking forward to the next special and the future.”