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Comedian Punkie Johnson Becomes 'Saturday Night Live's' First Out Black Lesbian Cast Member

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic for Clusterfest file

Saturday Night Live is back for its 46th season starting Oct. 3, and of course, there are new cast members joining this legendary sketch comedy series. Along with Lauren Holt and Andrew Dismukes, SNL has added its first out Black LGBTQ cast member, and second out lesbian cast member: Punkie Johnson.

While Johnson will be the first out Black lesbian cast member of “Saturday Night Live”, she won’t be the first overall. Danitra Vance, who was on the show in 1985 and 1986, has that distinction, though she was not out publicly at the time. Nonetheless, this is a huge accomplishment for Johnson and the LGBT community as a whole!

Johnson is a New Orleans native and a self-described “brutally honest Southern lesbian”. Punkie Johnson’s show business history includes standup comedy, acting, and writing. She has performed regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles and was featured as a new face at last year’s “Just for Laughs Festival” in Montreal.

Johnson has appeared in a variety of TV shows, web series and short films, including the Netflix series “Space Force”, the feature film “The Ride,” which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and she also played a supernatural lesbian in the 2019 “Dance Biter” sketch in HBO’s comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”

In a 2016 interview with Film Courage, Johnson stated, “Everything is a joke to me. I was and still is the person that jokes and laughs in the midst of despair. I would always make up these crazy, wild funny stories and other kids at school would actually believe me. I had and still have a big imagination. I am still a child.” Johnson added that as a child she would always get in trouble while attending Catholic school for telling inappropriate knock-knock jokes to nuns and recalled “mooning a member of the usher board at the church.”

Looks like sometimes it pays to be forever young! Gayes, please help us congratulate this rising star!


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