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Courtney Johnson: Pace’s Woman of All Trades

Hailing+from+Severna+Park%2C+Maryland%2C+senior+Courtney+Johnson+is+Pace%27s+resident+stand-up+comedian%2C+who%27s+also+heavily+involved+on+campus.+
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Courtney Johnson: Pace’s Woman of All Trades

Hailing from Severna Park, Maryland, senior Courtney Johnson is Pace's resident stand-up comedian, who's also heavily involved on campus.

Hailing from Severna Park, Maryland, senior Courtney Johnson is Pace's resident stand-up comedian, who's also heavily involved on campus.

Courtesy of Courtney Johnson

Hailing from Severna Park, Maryland, senior Courtney Johnson is Pace's resident stand-up comedian, who's also heavily involved on campus.

Courtesy of Courtney Johnson

Courtesy of Courtney Johnson

Hailing from Severna Park, Maryland, senior Courtney Johnson is Pace's resident stand-up comedian, who's also heavily involved on campus.

Callie Anderson, Contributing Writer

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This semester, Courtney Johnson, a senior communications major, hosted and performed stand-up comedy at Pace’s Got Talent, but she has not always been the comedian the Pace community knows her as today.

Johnson grew up in Severna Park, Maryland, where she played field hockey throughout elementary, middle, and high school for both school teams and the club team her mom runs.

Although, she was recruited to play field hockey at Pace, she was also attracted to the school because of its close location to New York City and her home. Johnson no longer plays field hockey but has found other ways to get involved on campus.

After I stopped playing field hockey, I struggled a little bit finding a sense of a team,” Johnson said. That’s when I joined a sorority, and it kind of gave me my sense of a team that I was missing. I grew up on a team my whole life, so when I stopped, I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I guess that setback was finding a new version of something to love.”

Along with her sorority, Johnson is also involved on campus as a tour guide at the Welcome Center, an RA in Elm Hall, and a volunteer at the nature center.

The senior came to Pace as a biology major thinking about going into nursing, but decided that she did not want to go to school for eight more years. Instead, she chose a major that could help her break into stand-up comedy. 

“That’s when I started doing stand-up comedy, and I was like, ‘Oh what can I do with stand-up comedy?’ And that’s when I found communications, Johnson explained. “I’m doing so much different stuff with it, like I can do digital media, PR [public relations], digital cinema and filmmaking.”

Johnson’s family supports her stand-up aspirations, even with the difficulty of getting into the industry. Her father did stand-up comedy in hotels and other venues, so he likes seeing Johnson share his passion for making people laugh.

He tells me some of his jokes, but I’ve never used any of them. My mom is super supportive too. My sister doesn’t think I’m funny but, laughed Johnson, who’s performed stand-up at many Pace events during her time at the university.

Johnson does not rely on a script when performing because that feels too rehearsed. Instead, she has a basic outline of ideas and stories she wants to talk about. Johnson gets most of her material from situations she has experienced throughout life that she thinks an audience would find relatable and funny.

Every so often I’ll remember something that happened and be like, ‘Oh that was really funny,’ and that’s how I build on my writing because I remember experiences that were funny,” she said. “Stand-up has taught me to be more social. I definitely wasn’t this social in high school, and it’s taught me a lot more about myself and how to be a better public speaker. It’s taught me how to make better connections with people because people think I’m funny and then I can continue that into friendships and relationships. It’s taught me a lot of different things.”

Before a performance, Johnson usually gets nervous. She puts on a positive attitude, and her beloved crocs, and once she is on stage, all of her nerves go away.

Stand-up comedy is not the only thing Pace has brought into Johnson’s life. From June 2018 through January 2019, Johnson participated in the Disney College Program where she worked in Magic Kingdom doing park entry and parade audience control at the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Even though she missed Pace, Johnson did not feel like she was missing out on anything because of how busy she was at Disney.

“Working the parades every day is amazing because you get to see everyone that comes to the park and talk to so many amazing guests,” explained Johnson. I met a family from Maryland, which is where I’m from. It was their first trip to Disney, and they were staying at the Wilderness Lodge, which is the place that I first stayed at when I came when I was little.”

Johnson also worked with people from all over the world and the U.S., including New Zealand, France, Brazil, and Connecticut. Her Brazilian coworkers taught her some Portuguese, which was useful for connecting with the many guests who visited Disney from Brazil. Johnson also got to use her sign language skills a few times with guests at Disney.

With so much going on in her life, Johnson believes it is important for her to focus on the present moment she is in without looking too far into the future.

“I always say to live life in the moment,” said Johnson. “With whatever I’m doing, I focus on what I’m doing. I try not to think too far ahead or think in the past. Just focus on what you’re doing. Be in that moment right now.”

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About the Writer
Callie Anderson, Contributing Writer

My name is Callie Anderson, and I am a first year Global Studies major with a concentration in political science. I enjoy covering news stories and connecting...

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