A two-time HBO Def Poet, 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 is a graduate of Princeton University where he worked closely with such luminaries as Dr. Cornel West and Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison.
As an actor, he stays balanced between film, television and the stage. His new solo show, Awake, closed to glowing reviews: “Hernandez-Kolski’s performance couldn’t be sleeker; it’s perfectly timed and delivered with a ferocity that careens from satirical to indignant.” (LA Weekly) He was on ABC’s “Mr. Sunshine” playing alongside Matthew Perry and Allison Janney. He recently shot an independent film entitled Guido, where he acted alongside legendary actor Armand Assante as his FBI partner. Joe’s short film Afterschool’d, which he wrote, produced and acted in, was chosen as one of seven finalists in NBC’s Comedy Short Cuts Festival. Joe’s first hip-hop theater piece, You Wanna Piece of Me? was just 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 opened for everyone from comedian Carlos Mencia to legendary musician John Mellencamp. He performed on both season four and season six of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. He currently tours around the country with his performances entitled, “Refried Latino Pride” and his latest, “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 2009 NALIP Awards where he was joined on stage by Kenny Ortega in a li’l impromptu dance number 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.”