Interview with Danny Johnson
What got you interested in doing comedy?
- The first time I made someone laugh.
- Seeing comedians on late night TV.
- Growing up the oldest of 5 children.
The first time I made someone laugh I couldn’t have been more than 10 years old. I just remember how good it felt, how powerful it was that I was able to change someone’s mood. It was fun. It’s what drives me to this day.
I was blown away the first time I saw a comedian on late night TV. Seinfeld, Rickles, Carlin, etc. It was the first time I’d seen someone make a large group of people laugh, I was mesmerized.
I am the oldest child in my family. Eventually, growing up the oldest of 5. Add in various half and step siblings, and I am the oldest of roughly 12 – give-or-take a few, I stopped counting. I used to imitate relatives at family gatherings, put on sketches with my friends, all in an effort to get laughs – or attention.
Looking back, I often wonder if me starting to try and make people laugh is related to the fact that as our family grew, the attention that was on me was now shared with my siblings. Perhaps this was my effort to hog more of the limelight. I could be overanalyzing. I do however, remember how great it felt going from making my best friend laugh to making a larger group of people laugh – even if they were my family.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenge I’ve overcome is my fear of public speaking. Like most comedians, I’m an introvert. I’ve yet to meet a good comedian who is also the “life of the party,” hamming it up off stage. I had been performing for my family for years as a child and kept notebooks full of jokes, sketches, ideas, etc. into my early 20’s, but had never stepped on stage due to my fear of public speaking.
Shortly after graduating from the University of South Florida, I unknowingly moved less than 10 miles from the largest comedy club in that area of the country. The club offered a workshop for aspiring comedians. I joined and was immediately hooked. I made great friends, had plenty of stage time, and learned so much about myself and the world of comedy. What was my biggest fear, has now become the only place I feel comfortable in life, on stage.
In your talks you use comedy to relieve stress. What are some other things you do/would recommend to avoid stress?
I don’t know if I’d advise people to avoid stress. Stress or friction in your life often leads to growth. I think you should always look to reduce stress, remove stressful things from your life, and learn how to handle stressful situations that may come up. I believe it is all in how we look at situations and to truly take ownership of how we feel about any given thing that may come up in life. Never stress over things you cannot control. Remove toxic things from your life. Take care of yourself. Most importantly, never underestimate the positive physical, chemical, emotional, and spiritual impact of laughter.
Who or what inspires you most?
I love my giant, crazy family. Each of whom inspire me in a different way. My son inspires me every day. Lastly, anyone who loves what they do for a living is an inspiration.
What kinds of clients have you worked with in the past?
I’ve had the privilege of working with such a wide variety of clients. Comedy clubs, churches, charity events, fundraisers. Specific clients include Toyota, Whole Foods, MLB’s Atlanta Braves, Mitsubishi, and a host of others.