Comedian and music artist Anjelah Johnson will be logging a lot of frequent flier miles this year. Earlier this month, the California native was announced as one of the headliners for the second annual Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Festival this April – and before she gets to Nashville, she’s setting out on a one of a kind national tour. We spoke with Anjelah last week to learn about what she’s got planned for the road.
What made her join the lineup at Wild West? “It’s a great opportunity,” she told us. “I’ve performed in Nashville like five times now and I love it. I love the people, I love the environment, I love everything about it.”
If you haven’t seen her at a comedy club near you, Anjelah explained what you can expect when you come to her set at the Ryman Auditorium. “I talk a lot about my family, my life experiences, my marriage, myself,” she continued. “I like to relate with my audience. I love to connect with people. Everything that I talk about is something that I feel is relatable in some way.”
She’s part of a star-studded lineup at the festival, full of comedians who will be recognizable to comedy fans and TV audiences alike – and so we asked her if there’s anybody she’s excited to see in Nashville. “[John] Mulaney, I’m excited about him. I think he’s very talented and very funny,” she said. “Eric Andre, I believe, is on the lineup as well. He’s a good friend and I hope I get a chance to go see his show as well. Doug Benson is hilarious.”
Before she gets to Wild West, though, Anjelah already has a busy tour schedule with big plans for this summer. “My character that I did on MadTV years ago, Bon Qui Qui, has come out with her own album. We did a whole hip-hop comedic album,” she told us. “We’re going to be taking Bon Qui Qui on tour this summer.
“This is the first time I’ve toured as a music artist. This is the first time I’ll actually be performing with a live band and doing music,” she continued. “The way it looks like right now, it looks like Anjelah Johnson will be opening the evening with some stand-up, but Bon Qui Qui is the headliner.”
That album is called Gold Plated Dreams, and it is now available on iTunes. You can learn more about Anjelah’s musical alter ego at Bon Qui Qui’s website, or check out the videos for “I’m A Cut You” (which we’ve included at the top of this article), “No Boyfren,” and her take on the Montell Jordan hit “This Is How We Do It.”
Naturally, with so much time spent on the road, Anjelah has had no shortage of hilarious gigs – both because of the jokes and because of those times when things just haven’t gone according to plan. “There’s been so many different stories,” she laughed. “There was a time where I had laryngitis one weekend and I was like I’m not canceling my shows, I’ll just power through.
“I was on stage and in the middle of my set the power went out. I had to then yell my jokes to everyone. I’d just finished talking about how I had laryngitis and I could barely talk and now I don’t have a microphone.
“I remember one time I was performing in Guam and we did a couple shows, we ended up adding a show, but the way it worked out my body thought it was like four in the morning,” she added. “My body wanted so bad to be asleep…I was doing like the slow blinks in between jokes!”
Are there favorite places she loves to book a show? “You enjoy the destination cities,” she said, “like I love when I have a show in New York or Miami, and Hawaii and stuff like that.
“I’d say my favorite cities to perform in are the ones that just show me the most love and they come out in the thousands and their energy is just on fire and they treat me like a hometown girl,” she continued. “Like Houston, Austin, a lot of Texas cities treat me like a hometown girl. That’s why I shot my first hour special in Houston in 2009 for Comedy Central.”
By April, she may just be adding Nashville to that list.
Anjelah Johnson takes the stage at Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Festival on Sunday, April 19 at 7 PM in the Ryman Auditorium; tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the festival’s website. For more information on Anjelah or her other 2015 tour dates, visit her official website.