Comedy doesn’t have a Human Resources department, so leave it to Piffany to dole out honors and/or discipline accordingly. Piffany’s Employee of the Month for October 2021 is James Austin Johnson. Congrats James!
Before October, @shrimpJAJ on Twitter and Instagram was known in Los Angeles comedy circles for co-hosting a weekly showcase called “Rod Stewart Live” on Wednesday nights at La Cuevita Bar in Highland Park, and known in social media circles for his front-facing videos walking around L.A. inserting his Donald Trump riffs into odd scenarios such as Scooby-Doo.
Then as he jokingly put it in the caption to the photo above, “Moving to Austin still the best decision i ever made for my career.”
What we didn’t quite know then but all would soon learn come October: JAJ and his wife had moved to New York City to join the featured cast of Saturday Night Live. Not only that, but he’d become the fastest rookie to make their presence known on SNL since Dana Carvey’s debut 35 seasons earlier in October 1986. He even opened SNL Season 47 COLD with a Joe Biden impersonation! Then a few weeks later, the show reinforced his status as “the guy” when he outshined the cast’s two previous Bidens while performing alongside both Alex Moffat and alum and guest host Jason Sudeikis, whom everyone thought they agreed they loved as Biden?!
In his first month on SNL, JAJ also has portrayed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (taking that over from Kate McKinnon), Ben Franklin, Adam Driver, Joe Buck, Jon Gruden, Larry the Cable Guy and Louis CK. Plus popping up in other sketches as various characters who aren’t supposed to resemble or sound like famous people throughout history.
It’s funny that my friends at Vulture proclaimed JAJ one of their “Comedians You Should and Will Know” earlier this week, when clearly so many of you know him now.
As funny as me naming him Employee of the Month? That’s for you to decide.
As he told Vulture:
“When I ask my wife what I bring up the most as a proud moment, she says it’s when I was Ed Begley Jr. on the Josh Hutcherson show Future Man. That was the first comedy acting gig I had where I let loose and goofed around, did the job but brought a little of myself to it. I felt really cool on that set, like I was actually learning how to do this job and not blowing it.”
This has been an incredible year, and October most defining month, for JAJ. Even if you didn’t know who he was or followed his social media accounts before, all you had to do was watch his SNL audition reel to see he had the right stuff.
He joked in this April mockumentary, he was moving to Austin to pursue his comedic, musical and other genius ideas. In it, he even jokes about having gotten on SNL (and them moving it to Los Angeles). A genius who can see his own future!
Can’t wait to see what JAJ does in Austin next…
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES THIS MONTH FOR EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH: We’ve received all of your comment cards on Dave Chappelle this past month and referred them here…
Let’s see who earns their kudos and ours for November!