By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
Valencia “Mrs. V” Johnson doesn’t worry about being booked for her comedy stand-up. She doesn’t have to.
“I’m always creating platforms for myself,” she said. ” My philosophy is, ‘If I’m not booked, I book myself.’”
Mrs. V’s philosophy is working. The West End native has performed across the city at many notable events, including the Birmingham Chapter of NAACP’s Women of Empowerment banquet and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women’s (NOBEL Women’s) annual gala. She also performs across the U.S., frequently visiting Florida, Georgia, Atlanta, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and California.
The versatile Mrs. V, 49—comedienne, actress, singer, playwright, minister and motivational speaker—delivers clean material and refers to her stand-up style as “unique and cutting-edge.” While she doesn’t curse in her routines, her syntax and the laughter it evokes “will make you think I cussed,” she said.
Mrs. V, also a wife and mother of seven, said comedy is “a born attribute.”
“It’s who I am and my life circumstances,” she said. “My family nurtured it.”
It wasn’t unusual for her children to be production assistants and have other roles in her plays, said Mrs. V, who has been in the business for 20 years.
“My children were my first audiences and my first cast members,” she said. “I had only one girl, [Donesha], so she was always the mother in the plays. I made time because I involved my children. My children passed out my flyers. My children were my greeters. My children were ushers at my events. Anything I ever did, they were part of it.”
Some of her children are following in her footsteps in entertainment. Her youngest son, 20-year-old Devonté, is a Spain Park High School graduate who recently graduated from the American Music Dramatics Academy in Hollywood, Calif. And another son, 28-year-old Dominque, has performed on Broadway.
“[Dominique] is even higher up in the industry now; he’s doing some writing for Broadway,” Mrs. V said. “And Devonté is furthering his acting career by easing into film and Broadway, as well.”
Mrs. V has achieved headliner status at The StarDome comedy club and has hosted several comedy nights at the popular venue, but she remembers how difficult it was to get started.
“It’s tough if you don’t know somebody,” she said, “I’m a clean comedienne, so there were no platforms for me when I started more than 20 years ago. … Once I got an opportunity, I did my thing. Now, doors are open to me.”
Mrs. V recently closed a deal on a new reality show, for which she will be able to announce details soon. And her latest theatrical production, “I’ll Be the Other Woman,” will debut in September.
“This production is comical, it’s dramatical. It’s a diverse piece without one particular story style,” she said.
Mrs. V is not starring in the play, but she is excited to co-direct with her son again.
“Dominique and I sold out four shows in 2014 for our production of ‘Bonita the Bag Lady.’ We are known as a mother-son duo,” she said.
Follow Mrs. V on Facebook @Valencia Johnson and Instagram @mrsvlive; visit her website, www.mrsvlive.com; and contact her for booking at 205-531-7078.