Most of us have a friend or know someone who is “comedic” level funny, and most of us know or have a friend by the nickname of “Maine, or maine maine.” We want to introduce you to our homeboy who is not only a comedian, but also goes by the name of Funnymaine. We sat down with him to discuss life and laughs.
A proud native of Opelika, Alabama comedian and radio personality Jermaine bka Funnymaine Johnson graduated from J.O high school and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Stillman College in English and Communication.
How did you get your comedic start?
Funny Maine: I was actually a late bloomer. It all started at Stillman. They would have always have these shows and programs and since i was the only person who could read and talk they would use me to host. That helped me to get comfortable in front of crowd and I didn’t incorporate jokes until later on. I was still trying to decide what i wanted to do with my life because i was working at Stillman for 3 years after i graduated, like i said, i was doing so much for the school they couldn’t let me go. The cool thing is while I was a student there they paid for me to go to Alabama to pursue my Master’s but then i got fired. Now I’m like “oh shit, what am i gonna do now?” I’m like 25 at the time and deciding if i wanted to get another job or not, I was like well everybody always said i was funny so if I’m gonna get serious about this now is the time and that was the birth of Funny Maine.
Who are your influences?
FM: Off top Chris Rock, Chapelle, Roy Wood Jr. Those would be my top 3 influences. I watched and studied the classics like Eddie Murphy and Pryor but my main influence is Chris Rock.
Because everybody has at least one, Who’s your funny family member(s)?
FM: My uncle June. After I got fired and was evicted, He’s who I had to go stay with so it was non stop jokes with us all day. He’s the uncle everybody says I look and act like. Last week at a show in Tuscaloosa I finally got a chance to bring him out on stage and let him tell a joke and he was the happiest person on earth. Floyd Ruffin Jr, that’s my dude.
(yes, because i know you’re wondering, David Ruffin is his cousin)
Besides Birmingham, What city has been your favorite to perform?
FM: It’s not even a city, Id have to say the whole state of Mississippi. That’s the first state that legit treated me like a celebrity and I definitely know i wasn’t anybody. When i go to Mississippi they want to take pictures and get autographs. It’s top to bottom too. From Tupelo down to the coast.
Worst on stage moment?
FM: Oh shit now i gotta rehash this. It’s 2 “worsts”. I’ve never been legitly just boo’ed off stage but around 2007 i was performing at Uptown Comedy Corner in Atlanta and that night all the crowd for some reason if you weren’t from Atlanta they were giving you a hard time. I get on stage and it started off great then i told a joke that was just “aight” and the whole crowd turned on me. Then i heard “Get yo ass of the stage”. I’m already on edge because of everybody who was in front of me, i grabbed the stool and I say “Who the fuck are y’all talking to?” not thinking about the kinda crowd it. Before i knew it the host had to come out and grab the stool and get me off stage because they were threatening to shoot me. That was the worst show of my life.
FM: The other one that still bugs me today, In 2011 I went back to do a show at Stillman because i wanted to do something for my alma mater. The football team was terrible that year I know because I went to damn near every game. So we get into the show and it was packed and half way through I’m making all these football jokes and the crowd is eating it up but a few of the football players are pissed. A group of them wouldn’t shut up and ended up throwing a drink at me. I couldn’t believe they did that but i still put the show on. My relationship with Stillman hasn’t been the same since.
Best on stage moment?
FM: 2007 Camille Armstrong step show at UAB. I was in the zone the entire. Everything was going right. Brighthouse replayed the show for the 3 months so now people are recognizing me on the street. From that Mary Kay from 95.7 Jamz got me on the radio. So I would have to say that show was monumental.
I remember at one point you were on the radio station then you left but came back,is that right? Tell us about that and how its testament to never giving up?
FM: I wasn’t ready. Everybody thinks they’re ready to be in the light. They stuck me in a room with 3 other veterans and i wasn’t contributing. It was Buckwild, Ebony Steele and BMoney and i gotta be funny in front of these people who i grew up listening to. It ended up turning on me and i became the butt of the jokes. So I dipped before my career got ended before it even started. It got another chance in 2012 and from then I knew what to do and took advantage of it. Don’t go into anything cocky because I’m telling you you’re probably not ready.
When you get the opportunity to film you own 30 or hour long special, what will you name it?
FM: Funny you say that, thinking ahead, I’ve written down a couple. “Late Bloomer” because of how I got started. “5th Year Senior” or either “Trust Issues”. Trust Issues because of my life experiences being paranoid.
You’re approached to Produce, Write and star in comedy, what 2 other comedians would you like to work with?
FM: Roy Wood first and my boy Terry T. Gotta stick with Birmingham. I’m actually writing a couple movies now and they aren’t comedies.
You are advocate for lupus research and treatment, how did that come about?
FM: My Mom passed from Lupus when I was 7. My brother as well as a few other family members deal with lupus and i don’t if i have the trait. So I try to promote research and raise money for the cure.
What’s in store/new/upcoming with your career?
FM: I’m on my tour right now and I’ve also been working on a show on Facebook called “Over 30 Under 50” to keep the people of my age group informed on the latest things that they don’t have time to keep up with. I also have my videos on IG. I do these things to build my fan base so I can travel and keep doing shows. If a potential venue sees that you have a good following they’ll book you just to get those fans in their spot.
Future Hive or BeyHive?
FM: Neither hive. I enjoy Future’s new album. Beyonce is the standard for today’s generation. Never bought either of their albums.
The saints are, for lack of better words, terrible. What’s your prediction for this upcoming season?
FM: Getting rid of Jimmy Graham was good because it helps us involve the running game and add years to Drew Brees career. At best 10-6 at worst 8-8.
Iron Bowl prediction:
FM: Its tough to call and it’s gonna pain me to say this but I think Auburn will edge it out because we don’t have an answer for their offense. I don’t have confidence in our secondary. Im gonna give it to Auburn.
This interview is a testament to how success can be attained at any point in your life and to always strive to be better. Thanks FunnyMaine for taking out time to chop it up with us and give us a little insight into your life. Currently, FunnyMaine is wrapping up his comedy tour but if you’re in one of the cities listed please go check this funny young brother out.
Also for any questions you have about lupus or to donate money to the cause visit: Lupus.org or FunnyMaineComedy.com