Comedienne Anjelah Johnson talks connection with RGV audience: ‘I could feel the laughter’

BY A. COLLEEN DEGUZMAN | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR

Comedienne Anjelah Johnson wants people to experience joy.

The stand-up star, actress and former NFL cheerleader will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at the McAllen Performing Arts Center.

“I want people leaving my show feeling lighter from the weight of whatever stress they carry,” said Johnson, who became an internet sensation for her character “Bon Qui Qui” on MADtv. “Maybe from work, health problems, marriage or relationship problems, whatever it is, I want people to experience joy.

“Not just laughter, but actually experience joy.”

Johnson is known for telling bits that are relatable, but she said that she is connecting with her audience on a new level during her latest tour.

“In this specific tour, I am telling more stories about my life, my family, my relationship, my marriage,” Johnson said. “And I go a little deeper and a little more honest with people about my insecurities, fears, anxiety and the crazy thoughts that go in my head. I get more honest with people and invite them into a deeper part of my life.”

Johnson was raised in San Jose, California, and is of Mexican and Native American descent. She explained the most important part in creating her content is making it relatable — and, since her first show in McAllen three years ago, she has the strongest connection to the Rio Grande Valley audience.

“One of the best shows that I have ever had in my career was in McAllen, Texas,” Johnson said. “It was my first time performing there, and I can not explain to you what it was. The laughter in the building, the vibrations, the energy was so hot, that when I would say a joke, the audience would laugh and it was like I could feel it in my body. I could feel the laughter.”

Johnson said that she walked off the stage after her “Bon Qui Qui” tour thinking, “That was so powerful,” and hopes the same speaker-audience dynamic is carried during her return performance.

“I don’t know if its because everyone in the audience could relate to me, and I could relate to them, but I was like ‘Yeah, those are my people.’ I don’t know what was happening, but it was super magical and I hope that it happens again.”

IF YOU GO

WHO: Anjelah Johnson, the comedienne known for her “MadTV” characters Bon Qui Qui and nail salon employee Tammy.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: McAllen Performing Arts Center, 801 Convention Center Blvd., McAllen
COST: Tickets start at $39.50 at ticketmaster.com