The comedian who famously played Bon Qui Qui on "MADtv" tells TooFab she still gets recognized for the character "probably every day."
Comedian Anjelah Johnson will be debuting her fourth stand-up special on EPIX Friday, without the help of Donald Trump jokes.
"It makes me uncomfortable," Johnson told TooFab ahead of the "Anjelah Johnson: Mahalo and Goodnight" premiere. "I kind of want my show to be an escape from all the politics."
Instead, expect her to find humor in being married, buying a house and maintaining a solid relationship with her mother. The material is a departure from what rocketed her to fame almost a decade ago when her oh-so-relatable nail salon standup video went viral.
You may also recognize her from her "MADtv" days as impatient fast-food worker Bon Qui Qui, a character Johnson told TooFab she gets reminded of "probably every day." While we imagine that could get old pretty fast, she's still grateful.
"People usually want to show me their impression of me, which is always awkward. But the videos helped my career completely," she said. "I am one lucky girl that I have this joke that resonated with so many people across the world that it's caused people to know about me, for one -- it's what put me on the map -- and then come to my shows. People pay their hard-earned money to come and watch me perform live. That's a blessing."
Johnson hopes her new material will be provide an escape from today's feisty political climate. See the rest of TooFab's interview with the funnylady below.
How is your comedy special different from your previous work?
Each special is kind of like the evolution of me. In special No. 1, I talk about the way guys hit on me and flirting and I talk about my family. I'm very relational, so I'm always gonna talk about relationships, whether it's boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife or mom-daughter and siblings. In my first special, and now, I'm a married old hag -- just kidding. It's about buying my first home, my relationship with my mom, stuff like that.
What's your favorite bit of the special?
There's a joke that I do where I make fun of myself for being bow-legged, and I compare myself to a camel and how a camel walks and sits, and that has become a joke that people -- when I deliver that joke, people are in tears. It's one of those moments where nobody was expecting where it was gonna go, and so it just hits that much harder. It's the one people tweet me about after the show. I get excited about those moments that I get to have with people. We're laughing throughout the whole show, but then there's those moments where you're just like, 'Oh, my gosh, we need to pause for a second.'
A lot of comedians use today's political climate for material. Do you incorporate politics into the special?
I don't because it makes me unconformable, and also I kind of want my show to be an escape from all the politics, from everything on the news, from everything in their Twitter feed, from everything on Facebook, from their racist family members, from whoever it may be. I want my show to be a break from all of that, and I want people to come relax and have a good time. And then as soon as the show's over, I'm sure they'll check their Twitter and be right back in it, but at least for an hour and a half, they got to get a break from all of that.
Do you think it's harder for women to succeed in comedy?
Generally, yes, but also in life. It goes deeper to gender equality in the workplace, life in general . We're constantly one step behind. We didn't get to vote right away, so we're a little bit behind and we have to work a little bit harder to get ahead. But that's not to say all women are beneath men in life because there are a lot of bangin', powerful, women CEOs out there -- I'm just saying they had to work a lot harder to get there. It's the same thing in standup, but more and more females are starting to get into it, which I love. That's a lot of thanks to Chelsea Handler and females like Chelsea Handler -- Joan Rivers and Ellen DeGeneres and Kathy Griffin -- those who have gone and paved the way.
Why do you think there's a stigma that attractive women can't be funny?
When people didn't really know who I was and I would get on stage, they would be distracted by what I looked like so I would have to dumb myself down, in a way, for people to feel safe to laugh. Earlier in my career, I was headlining in Miami, Florida, and the first show did not go very well. And the club manager told me, 'The next show, I want you to put your hoodie on, throw your hair in a ponytail, take your lipstick off.' And it was a night and day difference.
"Anjelah Johnson: Mahalo and Goodnight" premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on EPIX. If you haven't seen them yet, or want a reminder of how funny Johnson is, watch her nail salon and Bon Qui Qui videos below.