De Leon was the second child of Jose Seoane de Leon (1918–2008), of Filipino-Spanish descent, and Emma Manahan Ramos. His paternal grandfather was the first mayor of Malolos, Bulacan. At the age of three, his parents divorced. His father then moved to Madrid, Spain and eventually remarried.
Prior to being an entertainer, de Leon earned his architecture degree from the National University in Manila. He was also a disc jockey for 12 radio stations when he was starting out.
Joey de Leon has five children. With first wife actress Daria Ramirez, he has two children, Joseph Joachim (Keempee) and Jacinda Myrtle (Cheenee). Through his second wife Eileen Macapagal, he has three children, Jocas Eightria, Jako Raphaelle and Jio Sebastiean. De Leon also has four grandchildren from eldest daughter Cheenee and one granddaughter from Keempee.
De Leon started out his showbiz career in the 1960s as a radio disc jockey and announcer. He worked for 12 radio stations, including all seven radio stations owned by ABS-CBN Corporation as well as other broadcasters like KBS. His first big break on TV was IBC 13's gag show OK Lang.
In 1975, de Leon became a co-host of GMA Network's early afternoon variety show Discorama hosted by Bobby Ledesma. He invited his former co-stars at OK Lang, brothers Tito, Vic and Val Sotto, to join him at Discorama. Only Tito and Vic accepted Joey's invitation. The newly formed trio started to do comedy newscast segments interspersed with Top 40 hit-song parodies. The trio was soon invited to become part of the show Student Canteen as they released 12 albums based on their Discorama Tough Hits segment.
Although Tito, Vic and Joey started their trio via Discorama and Student Canteen, it was the sitcom Iskul Bukol that gave them nationwide fame as comedians. Soon after, other TV and movie producers came knocking on the trio's door. In 1979, Tito, Vic and Joey started hosting for the noontime show Eat Bulaga! which was pitted against the more established Student Canteen hosted by their former colleague (and now competitor) Bobby Ledesma. Not long after, Eat Bulaga! toppled Student Canteen from the ratings.
Although de Leon continued to do movies alongside his showbiz teammates Tito and Vic, he started doing solo performances for other TV shows. He top billed Joey and Son in 1982, a sitcom on RPN where he played father to a young boy named "Jeffrey Laperal" played back then by Ian Veneracion. He was also one of the gag performers on TODAS where his co-stars included Jimmy Santos and Val Sotto. Other TV shows included Apple Pie, Patis, Atbp., The Sharon Cuneta Show, and Let's Go Crazy. He was launched by Viva Films as a solo comedian in She-Man: Mistress of the Universe. He also tried his hand at directing movies like Romeo Loves Juliet and Small, Medium, Large.
de Leon's films include Starzan'.
de Leon did several TV shows for GMA Network and ABC. In 1995, he made a movie comeback via the comedy Bangers for Viva Films as well as Pipti-pipti, Ang Tipo kong Lalake and Takot ako sa Darling Ko. He hosts Eat Bulaga which is now the longest-running TV program in the Philippines, and appears in other shows like Mel and Joey, Startalk, Nuts Entertainment and started a new show for ABC, the now-defunct Teka Mona, which replaced Wow Mali, his long-running TV show on the same network. Another show is in the works for Joey this time on GMA's sister station Q Network. He started hosting Takeshi's Castle with Ryan Yllana. He is also the resident judge of the annual reality-based star search StarStruck and writes the entertainment column De Leon's Den once a week in the Philippine broadsheet Manila Bulletin.
In December 2006, Joey returned to recording with a novelty single he wrote entitled "Itaktak Mo" (Shake it off). Unlike most of his previously recorded songs where the melodies were based on past and contemporary hits, Itaktak Mo had a unique melody that can pass off as either a pop dance hit or a ballroom song. Seen by critics as his answer to the other wildly popular hit, Boom Tarat Tarat (written by Lito Camo and sung by Joey's rival host Willie Revillame), Itaktak Mo was softly launched on Eat Bulaga! shortly before the Christmas season. On January 2007, the song was launched in Joey's album, Joey to the World 2 and gained airplay in most FM stations in a short span of time. Itaktak Mo has also become part of Eat Bulaga!'s segment "Taktak Mo o Tatakbo" that replaced "Laban o Bawi", and is also one of the official dances of the 4th batch of the reality talent search StarStruck.
After "Itaktak Mo" became one of the most requested dance tunes of 2007, Joey followed it up with "Kagat Labi Song", which was launched on "Eat Bulaga" on September 22, 2007. The "Kagat Labi" dance craze was already sweeping the whole country by storm before Joey wrote it. On February 24, 2008, Joey released a single entitled "Walang Daya" (No Cheating) with lyrics comparing his love to his rival host Willie Revillame's misfortunes (Wilyonaryo, Ferrari and Ultra stampede). He first sang it at his own program "Mel and Joey". "Walang Daya" will be included in the album version of "Kagat Labi" will be released under EMI Philippines.
In late 2009, he wrote another top hit Eat Bulaga song entitled "Ba Ba Boom". Then in early 2010, he wrote another single "Aalog-Alog" which is now rising to fame. He also wrote the themesong for Diz Iz It.
On July 31, 2008, de Leon tendered his irrevocable resignation as columnist (De Leon's Den) for Manila Bulletin, he is currently with The Philippine Star, and has a column, "Me, Starzan".Kagat Labi (2008)- PolyEast Records (formerly OctoArts International, Inc. & EMI Philippines)
Joey to the World 2 (2007)- Sony BMG Music (featuring "Itaktak Mo")
Joey to the World (2004)- Sony BMG Music
Halukay Ube (2004)- Duet with Sexbomb Girls from the album: Bomb Thr3at (Sony BMG)
Ispageti (2003)- Duet with Sexbomb Girls from the album: Round 2 (Sony BMG)
Mga Pakyuuuut ni Joey de Leon (1999)- PolyEast Records (formerly OctoArts International, Inc. & EMI Philippines)
JoeyRassic (1993)- MCA Music, Inc.
Joey De Leon Tough Hits 1990 (1990) - PolyEast Records (formerly OctoArts International, Inc. & EMI Philippines)
TVJ Tough Hits series (12 albums)- Vicor Music Corp.