Sameer Rao Sameer Rao is a Philadelphia-based freelance journalist and former City Paper intern whose works predominantly focus on music, art, theatre, comedy, education, activism, arts communities, gender, race, society, and where all of those things intersect. His writing so far has appeared in City Paper, the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, APIARY Online, and the Good Men Project. Look for upcoming pieces in CRED Magazine and WXPN's The Key.
How does a comedian measure his or her own success? For Joey “CoCo” Diaz, it has little to do with his scene-stealing turns on NBC’s My Name is Earl or roles in otherwise-forgettable movies like The Longest Yard and Taxi. It probably has even less to do with his candid and profanity-saturated appearances on popular podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience and his own Beauty and Da Beast. Instead, Diaz must’ve called it a success when comedy saved his life. The Jersey-raised Cuban émigré got into the funny business while spending time behind bars, and says he stayed alive thanks to a caustic wit that served especially well when the projector malfunctioned on movie night. He carries these experiences as a foster child and petty criminal into a searing comedy routine that projects as much earnestness and humility as bravado.
Thu., July 18, 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., July 19-20, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; $16-$33, with Mike Rainey and John McKeever, Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., 215-496-9001, heliumcomedy.com.