ANJELAH JOHNSON
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ANJELAH JOHNSON

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Nail Salon went viral on You Tube and life took a whole new direction for the Mexican/Native American comic. She’s clearly an evil mimic. What else does she think makes her funny? “I don’t know; it comes back to being relatable,” she answers. “I do observational stuff. I connect with my audience. My comedy is relatable. Many people have had similar experiences. I talk about my travels, some marriage material, things I’ve learned during three years of marriage, doing jury duty, health insurance, varied things that everybody probably has experiences in.” The San Jose native finds that everyone wants to be her friend, more so in some parts of the country than others. Johnson says she has a certain market. “It depends where I am. If I go to Tulsa or Oklahoma, people say ‘if you lived here, we’d be best friends.’” For some reason her comedy has more traction in the South, she reckons. “The bible belt area, where they are church folk: I do really well in those areas. I don’t do so well in northern working class towns like Pittsburgh or Cleveland.” Without being in any way soppy or sweet, there’s a femininity and naturalness to her that comes across strongly on stage; she’s accessible, and well, nice, so perhaps that’s it. Whatever, it’s working for her.

“I had the benefit of YouTube,” she continues. “I do me; I bring my own personality and mannerisms to the stage.” Is she naturally extraverted? “No, it’s funny, but I’m a homebody. I have a circle of close friends. I get invited to a lot of events but I would rather have a low key dinner party at home.” Until she gets up with a mic in her hand, that is. “I’m a people person in front of people, I love telling jokes and travelling the country.” Johnson reckoned it took a while for her to find her comic voice. At first, she says, she played up to something of a Latina stereotype which wasn’t her real self. “Starting out I was trying to be what everybody thought I should be, be what people expected. I’ve learnt to weave my way, I’ve embraced who I am and I’m finding my own voice, I’m being myself.”

What’s life like for a female comic in the States? “I think we’ve come a long way,” she answers. “There are so many more women comics now. We still have a lot to fight through. We have more respect but still, people don’t affiliate (sic) women with ‘funny’. If a random person is going to a show and there’s a guy’s name and a woman’s name, they’ll take the chance on the guy. They’ll think ‘who’s this girl’? But we do have more respect now and more of us need to be seen and heard, for sure.”

BY LIZA DEZFOULI

           

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