Grudge Match Co-star Joey “Coco” Diaz Talks about Stallone’s New Film
Meet Joey “Coco” Diaz. If you’ve seen the new Sylvester Stallone/Robert De Niro movie Grudge Match, chances are you already have.
He’s a recognizable comedian and movie star, but let’s dive deeper and meet the man behind the fame. Joey was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in North Bergen, New Jersey. He lost both his parents at the age of 15. A series of families in the area took him in — including two police officers and a local funeral home director, to name a few. A total of 20 families of Italian and Irish descent attempted assisted him during his early years. The experiences with these families and their sense of humor is what ultimately shaped his career.
Diaz’s stand-up comedy career started — of all places — in a correctional facility in Denver, Colorado in the late 80’s. According to Diaz, the inmates would watch movies every Wednesday on a projector, and sometimes the screen would malfunction, so Diaz would perform stand-up to fill in the time. After his short stint, he moved to Los Angeles and began performing around the local comedy clubs honing his craft. He also started an illustrious acting career in film and television, including The Mentalist, My Name is Earl, and General Hospital. On the big screen you have seen Diaz in The Longest Yard (alongside Adam Sandler), Spider Man 2, and Taxi.
His most recent project is a film titled Grudge Match, starring Diaz as “Mickey” alongside Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, and Kim Basinger. He is also a successful podcaster who contributes to “The Church of What’s Happening Now” and “The Joe Rogan Experience.” You can learn more at http://joeydiaz.net.
He was kind enough to chat with me a little about his career, his role in Grudge Match, and how he tries to counteract the negativity of the news with the gifts that God has given him. And, ultimately, he gives God the credit for all the blessings in his career.
Rockin’ God’s House: How did you get the nickname “Coco”?
Coco: When I was a little boy my father gave me that name because I was really white like the inside of a coconut, so the name stuck!
Rockin’ God’s House: When did you know you wanted to be a comic?
Coco: I listened to a Richard Pryor album when I was young, and it always made a big impact on me. As time went on, I couldn’t go to school or get the job I wanted because of the economy. So this was the best thing. I was doing this to buy time. I had an opportunity, so I got on stage and tried it. I’m happy I did!
Rockin’ God’s House: Tell us about your podcast?
Coco: [It’s called] “The Church Of What’s Happening Now.” I get up in the morning early around 6am [to do the show], and [the show] gives you a little insight into the comedian’s brain because I wanted something different. Sometimes I turn on the news early in the morning, and all they give you is really awful news. A kid got killed, a gym teacher harmed another kid. Two people died overnight on the freeway. And in the morning was a good time for me to talk to people with what I am going through. That is what “The Church” is all about. Getting up and getting outta the house! That’s what the podcast is all about — keep on keepin’ on, brother!
Rockin’ God’s House: Can you tell us about the movie Grudge Match?
Coco: I was very fortunate because I did The Longest Yard with the same director. His name is Peter Segal. He called me in to read for this, and I ended up booking it. It was a real privilege to work with Robert De Niro, and he was asking me my thoughts on the scenes we were in and using my input. Now I am no different than you — I am not a formal actor — I am just fortunate to get to be involved with what I do. I always thought I would just be an extra. God has really blessed me with opportunities in my career and life!
Rockin’ God’s House:What will people see when they come to your show?
Coco: They should expect to laugh and hear some crazy stuff. And they will get it all in one dose!