Saturday, March 8, 2008

Too pretty to be funny?

Messing around on the Web, I stumbled on a young female comic I’d never heard of: Anjelah Johnson.

Her “Nail Salon” routine has been seen 5 million times on YouTube.

But here’s the thing: Anjelah Johnson is not, like, super funny. But she is super good-looking. I mean stop-and-stare pretty. With a charming personality to boot.

And that’s why her career is happening. Because her standup ain’t much. (Before getting into comedy, Anjelah was an Oakland Raiders cheerleader, according to Wikipedia).

She joined the cast of “MADtv” this season.

I’ve embedded below an 8½-minute clip of Anjelah Johnson’s standup act... including her big nail-salon piece. Focus on that nail-salon piece, since that’s her claim to Internet fame.

To me, her Vietnamese accent is mediocre. (Anjelah’s Latina.) But the crowd goes nuts... as if just making fun of an Asian accent is hilarious. Also, for as long as this routine lasts, it doesn’t say anything fresh or interesting about the nail-salon experience.

Or maybe I just don’t get it, having never had my nails did. Maybe women will think it’s genius. Anyway... just thought I’d say a few words about Anjelah Johnson. (Easy on the peepers, good Lawd...)

25 comments:

Dan Coyle said...

You say "joined the cast of MADtv" like that's a GOOD thing. ;-) Then again, MADtv's most popular character was a really, really awful Asian stereotype played by a Jewish woman, so maybe they're looking to replicate success.

Well, I think she's very charming, and delivers her material well, but yeah, I failed to see what was so blockbuster about that nail salon piece. It was amusing, but it wasn't spectacular.

Still, I think with the right material she has a future as an actress.

tAnYeTTa said...

yawn.

tAnYeTTa said...

p.s. do you have the link to the SNL or MadTv skit of the asian dude portraying Obama? i was in the car listening to talk radio (not my idea) anyways...the talk show host was LIVID. His name was Correll or something like. anyways...do you have the link of what he is so pissed off about?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Hey Tanyetta. You must be talking about this skit. I think it's pretty stupid, but it didn't make me angry. I'd like to know what you think of it.

The guy playing Obama, by the way, isn't Asian. That's Keegan Michael-Key, and he's biracial. The Obama makeup is not good, though... he does look kinda Asian-ish...

Kellybelle said...

I thought she was funny. I think her beauty is distracting; odd-looking women just seem funnier. But I can see her doing some character stuff in a skit.

SJ said...

Awful. I would like to see more funny female stand-up comics. Lisa Lampanelli is the only one I find funny (I would like to hug that woman, even though she would call me all sorts of nasty names).

Undercover Black Man said...

I think her beauty is distracting; odd-looking women just seem funnier.

That's the tricky thing, Kellybelle. It's distracting for men and (I assume) for women. The funniest female comics I can name off the top of my head -- Lisa Lampanelli, Maria Bamford, Wanda Sykes, Judy Tenuta -- are not conventionally beautiful.

I can't name one successful female comic who was. Then again, I can't think of any male standup comics who looked like George Clooney.

Des said...

Sheeeeeeiiiiiit...just call me the New UMB...Unconventional Black Man. I'd take Wanda over her, on looks alone...in a NY minute....Hell, I'd take Ben Affleck (once he's done with Jimmy)over her...and it most def ain't the skin color.

As for her comedy....Her delivery doesn't cut it for me....timings seems a little off on the set-up and punch lines.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Aw wait a minute now... you saying she ain't pretty??

Alan Sepinwall said...

I can't name one successful female comic who was.

Sara Silverman? Some might argue that she's (to use Jennifer Coolidge's term) "comedy pretty," but it seems like ever profile of her has to begin with the (usually male, middle-aged) author talking about what a babe she is, and how surprising it is that she's funny in spite of that.

Bklyn6 said...

Okay. I'm a little slow. I don't think I've ever given much thought to the idea that most female comedians aren't typically drop dead gorgeous.

Watching Johnson I am immediately reminded of Fanshen Cox of the Mixed Chicks. Both begin their standup routines by clarifying their racial identities. And both are pretty.

Maybe pretty is the new funny? :P

Undercover Black Man said...

Hey, Alan. I would grant you that about Sarah Silverman. She skipped my mind. But, yeah.

I wonder to what degree her outrageousness is designed to supersede her own looks, if that makes sense.

Undercover Black Man said...

Bklyn6: Fanshen Cox is new to me. Interesting. I won't comment on her looks... but the jokes need work.

GenevaGirl said...

Yeah, she's cute, just not funny.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I wonder to what degree her outrageousness is designed to supersede her own looks, if that makes sense.

Well, the prevailing theory seems to be that the looks make the outrageousness possible -- a more average-looking woman wouldn't be able to get away with most of what she says. Of course, the aforementioned Lisa Lampanelli gets away with what Silverman says and worse, but she also isn't as popular.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I should've clarified my thoughts.

I think the thing about very attractive people trying to be funny is... the looks get in the way. Your same-sex audience is envious; your opposite-sex audience is turned on.

So I don't think Silverman's outrageousness is designed to capitalize on her good looks... it's designed to mitigate them.

dez said...

I saw Johnson do a briefer version of her nail salon bit on MADtv and thought it was kinda funny, but a went on a little too long. I think it does help if you've been to a salon like the one she describes (I have and the stuff that goes on there is funnier than what's in Johnson's piece).

Anonymous said...

Silverman. Pretty. Funny. But not pretty funny. Too one-note: I get it, you're a woman and you're shocking me. So I'm shocked. Laughed a couple times. Gets old. IMO.

Dan Coyle said...

The only other MAD tv bit of hers available online is Bon Qui Qui:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=jZkdcYlOn5M

Bklyn6 said...

^I thought it was funny. :-D
"Complicated order!" :p

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks for that, Dan. Interesting comments too... as one might expect.

NunaOni said...

Awww cut her some slack. She is funny and the nail salon skit is not funny because if her accent. It is funny because of the constant upsell and "you so pretty" comments. OMG I think they train them before they leave Vietnam. Oh and as an ESL professional ah-hem (lol), I must say her accent is dead on. She doesn't mix Chinese or Japanese like other comics do. This has been going around my group of girlfriends for a year and it's still funny...you got boyfriend lol!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I bow to your linguistic expertise, Nunaoni. And I'll cut her some slack comedy-wise. After all, she's only 25.

NunaOni said...

Ahh how wise you are. Bow low and deep grasshopper.

Anonymous said...

i THOUGHT she was funnier in the beginning talking about her family. The nail thing was not as funny until the end when the nail person started speaking trash about her customer in her native lounge to other nail people...that has happened to several friends of mine, including some friends who happen to speak Vietnamese who are aghast at what is being said about them!