Joe Jo is an Asian-American comedian, vlogger, entrepreneur and YouTube star who, along with his friend Barton Kwan (Bart), co-founded the YouTube channel 'JustKiddingFilms', in 2007. What initially started out as two bored friends making goofy videos, has grown into a full blown business with a bunch of related channels like 'JustKiddingGamer', 'JustKiddingParty', and 'JustKiddingNews'. They also have an internship program which seeks out the best talents primarily from the Asian-American community to work on their videos. While their content was initially focused on the Asian-American community, they now have fans from all over the world who enjoy their blend of humor. Joe has a separate personal channel titled 'Joe Jo', in which he posts vlogs, music and random videos. Among these channels, 'JustKiddingFilms' and 'JustKiddingNews' are most popular with their fans, each amassing 1.6 million subscribers. Joe has over 4 million subscribers on all his channels combined.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Joe Jo, who was brought up in an unusual Asian household, was open to music and different kinds of arts since a very early age, thanks to his musician father. He met Bart at their Mixed Martial Arts gym. Despite the combative and serious environment, they would always goof around and get into trouble for that. The two would often copy and mimic their friends and other people around them, imitating their walk style or voices. They eventually decided to record some of these moments on camera.
They created the YouTube Channel 'JustKiddingFilms' on August 18, 2007. Initially, they thought of YouTube as a video sharing medium which only works by sharing links with friends and acquaintances. However, as the view count rose over 100 and they started to get comments requesting more such content, they realized that their videos can be seen by everyone. At that time, they did not have any skills in acting or film making, and often uploaded the videos without proper editing. Soon after, they were invited to YouTube's then new monetization program and were able to make good amount of money. As their fan base grew to reach an international audience, they made YouTube their fulltime job.
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While he was in community college, Joe Jo read the book 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki and was inspired to start his own business. Along with his friends, he organized yard sales to gather funds and started an eBay business, selling car parts. He also did a shipping job and went into logistics. However, during this time Bart convinced him to go back to college to finish studies. According to Joe Jo, he was surrounded by disgruntled old people at that time, and went to college to be around people of his own age, rather than to earn a degree. After his graduation, he applied for a number of jobs in vain, and eventually started teaching kids. He also went back into logistics. He even started to regret going to college at all, thinking he would have been in a better position if he had continued with the job.
What Makes His Content Different
Back in 2007, Joe and Bart realized that there is a whole lot of segregation between different Asian-American communities coming from different countries and language groups. There was also a lot of competition between such communities. The two thought that they should look over their petty differences and simply identify themselves as Asian Americans, as that is how the outside world looks at them. When they started creating comedic content, they saw that most Asian-American entertainers were creating content for mainstream audience. They decided to cater to specifically the Asian-American community, promoting cultural unity using their comedy. Also, they were frustrated with the portrayal of Asian characters in Hollywood movies, as they could not relate to them. As a result, they decided to fill in the void by telling their own stories in a humorous way that the audience can enjoy. As such, their initial fan base was largely Asian, who could get their inside jokes, even though they were eventually able to reach fans outside their own community.
Joe Jo, real name Joseph Masato Jitsukawa, was born on April 13, 1985, in California. His parents moved to America to pursue music as back in their home country people did not respect classical music in the same way. Joe Jo went to East LA Community College, and was later transferred off to Kansas LA. Since 2015, he is dating Jessica Michelle Caldwell, and the couple currently lives together in Los Angeles. She joined 'JustKiddingFilms' as a producer after they started dating. He has had a number of dogs which featured on his channels regularly. He loves to travel and has visited many countries around the world.