Anjelah Johnson-Reyes doesn’t market herself as a “clean” comedian. But if you attend one of your shows, you won’t have to limit your guest list.
“Yea, bring the whole family,” she said. “Bring your grandma. Bring whoever.”
Johnson-Reyes, whose multiple recorded specials include “Not So Fancy” on Netflix and “Mahalo & Goodnight” on Amazon Prime, will perform for the third time at Salt Lake City’s Kingsbury Hall on Friday, Jan. 13. She’s in the final months of her “Who Do I Think I Am” tour and last year published a book by the same title.
Her comedy career can be traced back to a free joke-writing class that she took at a church. That’s when she wrote a routine that eventually went viral on YouTube.
Another big break came when she appeared on “Mad TV” as the character Bon Qui Qui. Her first hour-long special was filmed in 2009 and broadcast on Comedy Central.
Social media was a game-changer for her career.
“When you’re putting out all your content on social media, you’ve got to be ready for that next step because you never know. It could come tomorrow,” Johnson-Reyes said. “And now you’re headlining. Do you have the material? Do you have the character to support this stage of your life? Do you have the work ethic? Because it could happen overnight. And it could happen in 10 years. You never know.”
Most of her material focuses on what she calls “relationship stuff” — her husband, siblings, friends, mother and father — and the things “a lot of people can relate to and connect with.”
She intentionally avoids the label of clean “clean comedian” — “sometimes even that can have a stigma to it,” she said — but Johnson-Reyes doesn’t curse in her act.
“A lot of times people don’t even realize I do a clean show until after they’ve left,” she said. “And then they’re like, ‘Oh wait, she didn’t even cuss. I didn’t even notice.’
“I don’t cuss, but I do still talk about adult content, meaning my marriage and stuff like that. But it’s not going to offend your kids. But I don’t know if they’re going to relate and understand.”
There are positives, though, that come with having an act that isn’t too adult.
“You can have a wider range of people come to your show, meaning younger ones, older ones,” she said. “You’re ready for a TV set. You don’t have to clean it up because it’s already clean.”
After Salt Lake City, her tour continues through March with shows from California to Alabama.
“I’m hoping that people come out and are excited,” she said. “This is the last chance to see this hour live.”