A two-time HBO Def Poet and Emmy Award-Winner, Joe Hernández-Kolski is an actor/poet/comedian who is constantly in demand, known for his live performances that are hard-hitting, truthful and incredibly funny. Originally from Chicago, Joe now lives in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Princeton University where he worked closely with respected academics Dr. Cornel West and Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison.
As an actor, Joe stays balanced between film, television and stage. He can be seen in the Netflix reboot of Gilmore Girls in a role that was written for Lin-Manuel Miranda. He recently spent the summer in Chicago studying at the famed School at Steppenwolf. Joe writes a lot of his own material, from award-winning short films to numerous solo shows. His work has received glowing reviews in the LA Weekly and The New York Times. Joe’s first solo hip-hop theater piece, You Wanna Piece of Me? was recently published by the University of Michigan press in a hip-hop theater anthology, Say Word: Voices from Hip Hop Theater.
As a spoken word poet/comedian, Joe has performed with everyone from comedian Carlos Mencia to Saul Williams to Grammy award-winning band Ozomatli to legendary musician John Mellencamp. He performed on both season four and season six of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. He was asked to warm up the crowd for Hillary Clinton’s speech at the National Council of La Raza annual conference. He currently tours around the country with his performances titled, “Refried Latino Pride” and “Cultural Collisions: Commentary for a Changing America.” His blend of comedy, social commentary and personal stories attracts fans from all different backgrounds.
He was the host/co-writer of Sí TV’s Not So Foreign Filmmakers Showcase, where he was able to combine his comedic writing & performing with his passion for Latino film. Other hosting highlights include the annual NALIP Awards which he hosted for four years in a row and the 2009 NCLR Conference where he kept the packed house laughing at the House of Blues in Chicago.
As a teacher, Joe continues to work with several organizations throughout Los Angeles teaching Hip-Hop Culture and Spoken Word Workshops. He currently hosts Downbeat 720, an open-mic for high school youth sponsored by the City of Santa Monica. The televised version, Downbeat Showdown, that Joe hosted and produced, received the LA Emmy for “Outstanding Youth Programming.”