Dubbed a ‘Comic to Watch’ by Comedy Central, a ‘New Face’ at Montreal’s Just for Laughs, the winner of ‘New York’s Funniest’ at the New York Comedy Festival, Josh Johnson is quickly becoming a stand out name in the world of comedy.
His special, ‘Josh Johnson: Up Here Killing Myself,’ premiered on Peacock to rave reviews, his YouTube is garnering millions of views, he’s been headlining clubs, colleges, and festivals around the world, appeared on late night television, has been a writer on The Daily Show for years—the list goes on.
Recently, between touring dates, Johnson joined TheGuttural for an interview to talk about his popularity on YouTube, plans for 2024, writing for late night television, and more.
Connecting With Audiences on YouTube and Tour
“Yeah, it’s been really great. I’m very thankful. I have been posting every week for a few months. And I think it’s really helped as far as people getting to know me, or people who may be watching the videos and not following right away or subscribing right away, but after they see you over time they do because it takes a little while to prove that it’s worth their time,” commented Johnson.
Often speaking on current events happening around the world and pop culture, Johnson’s commentary has been hitting home with viewers. Whether it’s questioning why he knows so much about Jada Pinket Smith without ever having to Google her, how Spotify wrapped is like an intervention, or breaking down the Alabama Brawl, there’s something on his channel for everyone. However, on tour, Johnson said he’s also giving an hour of material that best represents him.
“There could be a little bit of a current event in there, if it’s really big, but for the most part, it’s the hour of jokes that I feel like is the best representation of who I am and what I’m doing right now. So it won’t always be, you know, topical political stuff… It’s mostly going to be stories about my life. And my takes on things like just general observations,” explained Johnson.
Though this hour isn’t necessarily what he’s working into an upcoming special, as Johnson continued, “You can make the money doing it, to have a new special every year and all that stuff. And I think that it definitely makes sense for a lot of people. But for me, I’m not so much focused on the next special as much as the next show, and really building a connection with the people that come to see me for what I want that show to be. So that’s my main focus right now. Not necessarily just putting out another hour, wherever it’ll go just yet. I think that I get a lot more out of focusing on the people who are both just discovering me right now, and the people coming back to places that I haven’t been to in a long time.”
Writing for Late Night Television
Johnson’s been writing for ‘The Daily Show’ since 2017 after working on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jimmy Fallon in 2016—in total accumulating to over 900 episodes. Pairing that with performing stand up, Johnson gave us insight on what it’s like to balance the two.
“I think for the most part, you find what works best for you versus what works best for your job… there are some things that I would just never say myself, as far as the show goes. When I’m writing for the show, that’s my focus for everything, what I put all my attention and thoughts towards. Then on just stand up in general, I find that most of the things that I would write for any show I’ve worked for have not been the things that I also want to say.”
However, with Trevor Noah no longer in the hosting seat for ‘The Daily Show,’ we asked Johnson his thoughts on fans who’ve commented about petitioning him for the job, as a user commented on his recent upload saying, “Can we start a petition to get Josh as a host on the daily show… its kind of a no-brainer…”
“I don’t know anything about that. That’s a very nice rumor for someone to start, but I don’t know if that’s true at all,” replied Johnson. “I would definitely be open to doing anything with the show. I love the show so much. But yeah, as far as a petition and all that other stuff, I have not heard that.”