José Antonio “CoCo” Diaz is a Cuban-American stand up comedian. He is an actor known for his recurring role as Joey on the TV series My Name is Earl, as well as in movies such as The Longest Yard and Taxi.
Diaz grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, a small dense neighborhood, directly across the Hudson river from Manhattan. His early childhood was affluent: his mother owned and operated a bar while running a successful numbers operation. Diaz’s was three when his father died and fifteen when his mother died.
He was taken in by a series of North Bergen families, including two police officers named Robert Bender and Carmine Balzano. Frequent run-ins with the law, including his involvement in fights, kept him moving among a total of four families. Diaz says a total of twenty Italian and Irish families attempted to assist him, such as local funeral home owner Anthony Vanieri. Diaz explains that their sense of humor greatly influenced his own career, which had its earliest beginnings as a student in North Bergen High School.