Most know that roast comedy is a fine line between fawning tribute and nasty take-down. But sometimes the best way to show you care for someone is with the perfect hard-hitting joke.
Comic Slink Johnson, best known for playing the title role on Adult Swim’s darkly comedic Black Jesus, is joining the list of comedy and music luminaries set to roast Houston’s own Trae Tha Truth at the MATCH on Friday, July 21.
For Johnson, there is no equivocating on how he feels. “For me, it’s always about love,” the actor says. “A roast is a roast, however I see a roast as a celebration. You want to celebrate your love the right way. So it’s gonna all about love, it’ll be tongue in cheek and all in good fun.”
The Grand Theft Auto V star estimates he goes back about five years with the rapper turned record producer. “I feel comfortable with Trae,” says Johnson, “The best roasting comes from good friends, and he’s a good dude and a good friend. Those are the best roasts, man. You get to just sit there and talk shit about your partner! Who knows your partner better than you do?”
Johnson cites Trae as a major influence in his love of H-town’s music scene. “One thing I want the people down in Houston to know, being a student and a fan of hip hop, I have to admit that Houston hip hop molded me. I love Houston and have such a deep reverence for the city, man.”
Happily, the LA-based comic won’t be roasting his buddy alone. Joining the ranks are a mix of joke-spitting headliners and some fresh faces. “According to the flyer, I see myself, Blaq Ron, Mojo Brookzz, and Reedo Brown,” Johnson shares. “I’m not as familiar with Will Rodgers and Dat Damn Monty as much, but I know that Reedo and Blaq Ron are personal friends, those guys are really funny. And Mojo Brookzz is so funny, I see him all the time doing his thing. Then with Will Rodgers and Rambo and Dat Damn Monty, I’m thinking they pretty ludicrous as well. Looks like its gonna an outstanding event.”
Part of the fun of these super group events, Jonson admits, is simply getting some stage time with people he admires from across the way. “I see them often but don’t see them often, if you know what I mean. Different venues, different shows, we always come across each other at the local watering holes so it’s nice to see some of these other guys who don’t live in Los Angeles.”
In addition to paying tribute the man of the hour, Johnson also hopes by flooding his social with moments from his live shows, it can encourage those who don’t often make it out to live shows to take the chance. “That’s the human experience we need. It’s the experience part. You can watch a movie and watching a movie is definitely an experience, but to really be there live and in the moment, it’s always something different. It’s always something special. Especially in the social media age, where things look so spectacular on social media — a lot of times when they look so spectacular, you can probably guess that they were! You can just imagine actually being there. People viewing it is one thing, but the people actually living in that moment is an entirely different thing.”
For fans who might get to meet Johnson while he’s in town, there’s no reason to be shy around the star. Johnson admits himself that he still has a bucket list of comedy heroes he’s still hoping to meet. “Eddie!” he exclaims, making a list of the top three funny people he’s hungry to get face time with. “Eddie [Murphy] is number 1. Then, Dave Chappelle. Mike Epps. Yeah. It’s Eddie, Dave and Mike right now, hell yeah.”
For now, Johnson has his eyes on the prize: making this year’s Trae Day into a celebration that the Lone Star State can revel in. “The whole weekend is gonna be an event,” he rallies. “I’m looking forward to it. I know it’s hot in Houston, but I’m a cool ass brother. I’m coming down there in a banana yellow tuxedo with leather, and I’m still gonna be cool – just watch. I’m just gonna immerse myself in the whole Houston experience. Gonna eat like 12 Whataburgers, it’s going down Texas style!”
This performance is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Friday, July 21 at the MATCH, 3400 Main. For more information, visit eventbrite.com/e/trae-day-tha-roast-of-trae-tha-truth-tickets-668369720827. $20-40.