Meet the Visayas-loving Americans behind the “Hey Joe Show”

PROVO, Utah — About two years ago, a group of five Americans launched the “Hey Joe Show,” a YouTube channel aimed at entertaining Bisaya speakers through sketch comedy.

“I think they love the fact that we actually learned the language, and we speak it and still speak it, even though we’re here in the U.S.,” Jake Mingus said.

One of the foreigners’ most-watched videos is called “Signs You Are a Filipino.” It highlights popular elements of Filipino culture, such as using a finger to measure rice and showing respect to elders.

“I think that they love to see their own culture come to life through the lenses of Americans,” Tylan Glines said.

In a way, the “Hey Joe Show” originated at the Missionary Training Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s where the group met as each of its members prepared to serve a Mormon mission in the Philippines.

“We were thinking, ‘What if we weren’t missionaries? What if we kept doing Bisaya after our mission?’ And it developed into, ‘What if we made a video of us speaking Bisaya? Do you think people would watch this?'” Sumner Mahaffey said.

Turns out, they would. The group’s 37 videos have now collected a combined 6 million views.

“When we were missionaries there was that initial shock, but it kind of came to be the status quo that, you know, those guys in short-sleeve white shirts and neckties could speak Bisaya with some fluency,” Davis Blount said. “And you take off the white shirt and name tag and people lost their minds. They couldn’t believe it.”

Last month, one of the “Joes” performed on the new ABS-CBN show “I Love OPM,” where he made it past the initial audition before getting cut in the second round.

“It was so cool,” Mahaffey said. “It was amazing to be behind the scenes of this TV network and see how they run everything.”

Last summer, the former missionaries returned to the Philippines to meet fans of their show. In a few months, they plan to visit again.

“It was amazing,” Connor Peck said. “It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life, and so we’re really hopping that we can go back again and do it again.”

In the meantime, they hope to make more videos and spotlight the Bisaya language and Filipino culture.

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  • Diana Ilagan Clifford
    3 August 2016 at 1:28 am - Reply

    These guys r great and bring much joy & laughter to Filipinos, especially Visayans who are a fun-loving, joyful people who enjoy laughter and poking fun at the lighter side of humanity. Their pronunciation of local dialect and slang is quite good and so entertaining to watch blonde, blue-eyed “Anglo-Saxons” speak and behave typically Bisaya!! I am born & raised in Hawaii but grew up speaking Bisaya and watching Pilipino comedies and can appreciate their skits and humor of our culture. Thank you for sharing your humor and our common culture only those who lived or have travelled to the Philippines or know a Pilipino can relate! Mabuhay and Daghang Salamat!!