Although from New Jersey, Johnny Watson has been all over the United States, working clubs, privates, corporate, and televised events in all fifty states. He is the host of the WATSON N WATSON show, has been on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and GOOD MORNING AMERICA. Watson is a comedian, a teacher, and writer.
When I was able to catch him on the phone for this Question and Answer session about what it means to be Johnny Watson, it was not what you may be expecting. Of course we talked about stand up, screen writing, and the radio show, but when it comes to being Watson, well…
Q: What exactly do you do?
A: I’m a stand up Comic. Above all else, I’m a stand up comedian first.
Q: What else do you do?
A: I’m an actor. I’m a writer, mostly screenplays. I’m a mentor, and here’s the thing, when I was being mentored, there was always this thing about giving back. I try to keep that legacy of guys trying to help out comics. Try to help out with out expecting anything in return. So without sounding full of myself, I try to mentor people without mentoring with others.
I still feel there is there is always so much to learn, to discover. Knowledge is the only thing you can give away without losing it yourself.
Q: How did you get into the business of trading jokes for cash?
A: I don’t know that I trade jokes for money…but I remember in 2nd grade… I came from a real rough upbringing…you have different facets of your persona. We have a personal persona and a public one. I had a lot of tragedy in my personal life, so I dealt with it in a funny way, telling stories, which was a public face. Just like love and hate, tragedy and comedy, I would spend my public life having fun, being funny. That’s how I dealt with it.
Q: Most comedians doing a radio show, a television show, or a podcast look for another entertainer to work with them. You started the Watson n Watson show in 2011 as a debate with your mother. How does that dynamic work, since she is not in the business of being cast as talent, like you are? (Since she isn’t a comedian, singer, actress, or sports star)
A: It just works. My mother and I are very different. Not better, nor worse. I don’t hold back. We have some respect for my mother. As a respect to my mother, we do keep the show clean. She knows of language though. There is volatility to the show about the show, between us. I’m very open.
When my mother gets me upset, I lay it on her, and she goes with it, and that gets me going even more. Now its not just about me and my mother just going after each other, we do talk about very serious topics.
I don’t think there is much of a difference between my mother and performer, she used to be a model and she has been in sales most of her life. When you do sales, you have to be personable, likeable, and usually sales people use humor to get the sales.
There is not a lot of difference between a salesman and a comedian. They have a product to sell and they usually do it through humor. A salesperson has a product they need to sell you, in order to do that they need to make you like the product and like them. I wouldn’t buy a car from a guy who seemed angry.
She is likeable and funny. Now I’m don’t think most sales people are funny enough to do what we do, but if you want to be successful in sales, there has to be a likeability about you and you need to, and she does that.
There is chemistry between my mother and I that works very well. It’s interesting and different. It’s very hard to replicate that chemistry or that relationship.
Q: Johnny, is there anyone you were just super excited to get to work with?
A: I loved working with that SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast. That was a great experience. Christopher Titus is a great guy to talk to, great to work with. I really got him, because we have such a similar background. He told me how much he thought I was going to take off in the future. Just a great guy who I wish I had more time with.
Rich Shydner and Tommy Koenig, they were great to meet with. I love that older guard. They paved the way for us. I’m a historian of it. I just wanted to give them the respect they disserve. And they continue to give back. It’s amazing.
Q: What is your goal in the next year, five years, or ten years?
A: I would like to do one or more of the late night shows, to be in a couple of major films with a significant movie roll, and get few commercials under my belts. And for someone to pick up the one of the screenplays we are working on.
Q: Can we talk about that? Or are you under lock and key about the screenplays?
A: No, I can talk about this. I have a few done.
John McGurck, one of the most talented writers I’ve met in my life. One of the films we wrote together is about my ex-wife, the flight attendant, and another is about me being a compulsive gamble, since I had a problem with that for a while. We are writing about real life.
I would also like to see the radio show get picked up within the next twelve months.
– Johnny Watson will be at WAVES OF LAUGHTER COMEDY CLUB at the Princess Royal in Ocean City, Maryland for the summer. He is also, in preproduction of a documentary about his next step.