Laughter is the best medicine. More than likely, you’ve heard that phrase at least once in your life.
Some have taken it as a personal mantra. One of those people happens to be Muckleshoot Casino’s own Cynthia “Cece” Johnson, who will perform live at Club Galaxy’s June 14 LOL Comedy Night.
You’ve probably seen her prancing around Players Club, dancing, laughing and being an all-around helpful person. Her bubbly personality is hard to miss.
“Laughter energizes me,” says Johnson, “it’s an energy booster. You feel like the kid playing with their parents or their friends and they do something and the people around them are like, ‘ha ha, that was funny.’ And then, they keep on doing that same thing over again. So, maybe somewhere inside of me, it’s my inner child living that same moment of something I did funny as a child.”
Things weren’t always that way for Johnson (pictured above), who describes herself as a drama queen and a sulker as a child and young adult. In fact, she doesn’t really remember joking much at all.
Johnson grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the seventh of eight children. Teasing during her childhood played a part in her demeanor growing up, but laughter helped her overcome it.
“We weren’t laughing about a lot because we grew up poor,” Johnson says. “Like super poor. Like ultra poor. I think people laughed at me – when I was younger – more than with me. I think it’s perspective. You grow up and life seems short and you’re like, laugh about it; people are laughing at you, anyway.”
Johnson’s gateway to comedy was a bit different than most, considering she didn’t grow up wanting to be a comedienne. She first noticed her knack for making people laugh by telling stories to her coworkers about her three children.
She says the stories were about serious situations, but somehow people always ended up laughing.
Eventually, a friend invited her to an open mic night. She declined a few times until she moved to Washington. Even then, it was never her intention to end up on stage.
“One day, when I moved here, I went to open mic night and I wasn’t gonna perform” states Johnson. “I was gonna sit and see what it’s all about. Later they were like, ‘we’ve had everybody, does anybody else want to come up?’ and I was like ‘let me give this a try.’”
Since then, comedy has been a hobby for her. She’s performed at various comedy clubs in the area and even at Club Galaxy once before.
When you attend her set on June 14, however, don’t expect to hear any “jokes” during her routine.
“I don’t think of comedy as telling jokes,” says Johnson. “It’s telling stories. To me, some of the best comedians tell stories. Like Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart doesn’t tell jokes, he tells stories. Sinbad doesn’t tell jokes, Sinbad tells stories. Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t tell jokes, Ellen tells stories.”
Luckily, she doesn’t mix any stories about work into her comedy, so you don’t have to be wary of becoming an unwilling target.
She does like to mix comedy into her work, however, so she always brings a little lighthearted laughter. Of course, that’s after she’s done dancing. One of life’s greatest mysteries to her is how people can hear music and not want to dance.
Comedy and dancing aren’t all there is to Johnson, though. Originally her passion was baking, but after running out of funds during her last semester of culinary school, she had to give up that dream.
Another passion of hers is empowering other women and helping them understand their worth. She believes the more they have a true identity of self, the less likely they’ll be to sacrifice who they are in the name of love, career or any relationship in general.
Then, there are the real hard-hitting facts about her, like her favorite color being blue. She’s not a fan of the transit system in Washington. She’s very fond of Chicago-style pizza and popcorn (it comes with caramel and cheese.) She also loves to travel.
Johnson’s lucky number is three. She was born in the third month, was the third daughter in her family and is the mother of three kids. Although, she’s not looking for a third marriage.
“I think I’m lucky at three in a lot of other things, but not marriage,” laughs Johnson.
Though she loves making people laugh, Johnson says the one thing she really wants people to remember is that she gives out good hugs.
“People say you need to give a strong handshake,” Johnson states. “I believe you need to give a strong hug, too. Because a wimpy hug, you can keep that. If you’re gonna give a wimpy hug, just give a pat on the back. But, I hope they say I smile a lot and give good hugs.”
Johnson’s keeping her set mostly under wraps, but says she has a few ideas. She encourages everyone to come to the comedy shows at Muckleshoot Casino to get some of that “medicine.”
“I think people should go see comedy because it’s a way to release tension,” says Johnson. “I love to watch comedy. I wish I could go more often just to watch it. It’s a workout for your stomach muscles and for your mind.”
To view a complete Club Galaxy entertainment calendar, click here.