Punkie Johnson is one of my favorite comedian stories to watch.
Not because we have a personal relationship, but because she's a great example of just how crazy this industry can be.
If you aren't "in the comedy world," then you probably first heard Punkie's name last year when she was announced as one of the new rookie cast members on Saturday Night Live.
And she's been crushing it on there all season - including her first debut at the Weekend Update desk as "Pineapple Penelope Peters."
Before the NBC screen time, Punkie was featured on Bill Burr's The Ringers on Comedy Central:
And behind the scenes, Punkie worked at the bar of The Comedy Store for years as she honed her skill at standup and other various comedic skills.
Dave Chappelle even mentions this on his episode on The Joe Rogan Experience: "The last time I saw Punkie Johnson, she was bar-backing at The Comedy Store. And then when I showed up to do SNL this season, she was getting ready with the rest of the cast."
Comedy is weird like that. You meet people working their day job just before they get a really cool opportunity, and it kind of reminds you that beyond all the "glam" TV seems to create, we're just people.
Personally, I love Punkie's story because I got to see her perform stand-up in LA a few years back.
It was a shitty show that didn't have great turnout and I was just starting to get some short spots when I would visit LA. I did my time and was told that the later acts hadn't gotten there yet, but they were really worth staying to watch.
That was my first introduction to Punkie. Even though this show was at some random bar somewhere in LA, with an audience only half interested, she came in an brought. the. heat.
Her set was hilarious. She woke the audience up like it was the best stage she'd ever performed on and I was an instant fan.
But this isn't about about my short experience seeing her live before she got SNL.
No, this is about her latest accomplishment: Punkie Johnson just scored a starring role in season 2 of HBO Max's Love Life.
She'll be playing the role of Ida Watkins, and I'm personally stoked to check it out.
From the Big Laugh perspective, it's even cooler to hear this news because she was supposed to headline a standup show with us last month and had to reschedule due to this very audition.
We'd say that's a pretty good reason to change performance dates. ;)
The big premiere date for Love Life season 2 is October 14th, 2021 - so mark your calendars now.
And if you're not following Punkie on Instagram yet, she's worth keeping an eye on. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of a very successful comedy career and you'll be able to be a hipster fan of hers in 5 years.