Anjelah Johnson: "Pretty Don't Sell Funny Tickets"
When it came time for comedian/actor Anjelah Johnson to tape her comedy special, the San Jose native came to Houston to do it. Her reason? Houston has always treated her like a hometown girl and Johnson wanted an enthusiastic audience for the taping. "Even before my hometown San Jose got behind me, Houston was already on board. I get love from all over Texas, from the rest of the country, really, but Houston treats me like a hometown girl. It always has. I don't know how to explain it, except that maybe Houston is just smarter than the rest of the world," she deadpans.
Johnson's comedy is character-based, usually female characters with lots of attitude, like the infamous Bon Qui Qui, a ghetto-fabulous cutie with the tendency to stab her philandering boyfriends. Bon Qui Qui has become so popular that Johnson has recorded a music video as the character. It's called (what else?) "I'm A Cut You."
Over the course of her career, Johnson has seen the demographics of her audience change. "Straight guys are new to me. In the beginning I had a lot of women and gay guys. I feel like my audience has always been diverse, in that I've always seen young, old, gay, straight people. But now I've started to see straight guys that aren't there just because their girlfriends dragged them to the show."
Her lack of a straight male audience might seem surprising given that Johnson, a former NFL cheerleader, is extremely attractive.
"Pretty don't sell funny tickets," she tells us. "Just because you're pretty, that doesn't mean people will come see you tell jokes. It's the jokes people are interested in."
Johnson says the latest addition to her routine is her husband of two years, Manwell Reyes from Group 1 Crew (he has a cameo in the "I'm A Cut You" video). "I talk a lot about getting used to married life, about my husband. He gives me plenty of material."
Do take your cell phone to Johnson's show and feel free to send her a message via Twitter during the show (@anjelahjohnson).
As the size of her audiences has grown, Johnson's found it almost impossible to do a traditional meet-and-greet after each performance. "It's exhausting to shake hands and take a picture with 400 people. People end up getting rushed through, 'One, two, three, cheese! One, two, three, cheese!' Now I have people Twitter me from the audience, and on stage I pick ten winners who get to come backstage and do a private meet-and-greet."
Anjelah Johnson performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9:15 p.m. Sunday. Improv Comedy Showcase, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, visit the club's Web site or call 713‑333-8800. $35 to $45.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events