(CBS Local)– Creating a one hour comedy special is the dream for stand-up comedians and comic and writer Josh Johnson is getting the chance to make that dream a reality. His first comedy special called “Trevor Noah Presents Josh Johnson: # (Hashtag)” premieres Friday, June 18 at 11pm EST/PST. The special will also be available on Paramount+ in August.
Johnson is currently a writer on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and also performs stand-up around the country. CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Johnson to preview his very first comedy special and discuss how his friendship with Noah has shaped his career and life.
“It’s the dream. A big part of what went into it was trying to be present,” said Johnson. “I talked a little bit about the pandemic, but also talked about my relationship to social media and how that sort of shifted through the pandemic. It got blown all the way up because there was no where to go and nothing to do and you couldn’t really talk to anybody.”
“My life just kind of became screens. I was either on my phone on social or on my computer or watching TV,” said Johnson. “A lot of the special is about how I took a little bit of a break and what that was like and what that felt like and how weird it was and some of the experiences I had trying to be out in the world and present. It doesn’t always go well. People act like if you just put down your phone and are present in the moment, life is just going to immediately be better and that’s not the case at all.”
One of Johnson’s favorite experiences without a phone was seeing a public proposal on a walk where a man asked a woman to marry him and he got hit in the head with a rock by the woman he proposed to. Stories just like these will be peppered throughout Johnson’s stand-up special. In addition to his stand-up spots, Johnson has also hones his craft as a comedian through his work on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” The writer and comedian is really grateful for this experience.
“I look to him [Trevor Noah] like a mentor,” said Johnson. “He’s handled so many things beautifully. He’s so smart and I just watch his moves as a blueprint and think that’s probably what I should be doing. It is amazing to have someone pave the way in that way. I think with this endeavor especially, it’s not just a testament to how much he loves comedy and support other comedians, but also how far I’ve come since we first met.”
“I’ve been working at The Daily Show and writing there for a few years,” said Johnson. “I was definitely a different comic when we first met than I am now and that’s through working with different people at The Daily Show and learning how to write for TV. Also, it’s learning how to write compelling stories and getting your message across clearly. It’s also about being in the presence of people who love what they are doing.”