FilmCourage: How did you hear about ZombieCON, what was your initial reaction to the idea?
Punkie Johnson: When I first heard about zombie con I was like ummmm these guys r weird lol no but I did think it would be impossible to create and make. Kyle and manny have a larger vision then most people I know and believe all things are possible. I knew it was a kool idea I didn’t think they would want me in it because of my lack of knowledge about cosplay and zombies. Zombie con has expanded me imagination and open me up to a whole new world. I also probably the most excited about the dressing up part.
FilmCourage: What is most exciting about ZombieCON?
Punkie: Dressing up. Lol I never had a real costume as a kid. My cape was always a towel pinned or clipped to me. I would always have the witch hat but not the full body costume. It would b witch hat then blacks tights and some kind of hand me down snap in the middle shirt thingy. Lol
FilmCourage: Was it your idea to have your character in ZombieCON be named Punkie?
Punkie: No that was Kyle Valle, all da way.
FilmCourage: Who is your character, Punkie in ZombieCON?
Punkie: PUNKIE is a bad ass. Jack of all trades. Sweet, compassionate, loyal, funny and cool as you know what. PUNKIE is ruthless and fearless and brave… PUNKIE stay ready.
FilmCourage: Is the character Punkie more heroic than you are in real life?
Punkie: HELL YES ’cause I’m not about to be out here saving nobody’s world and fight zombies. But if it was to save my family, I definitely would. So when it comes down to it I think the answer is yes.
“Stirring the pot exposes the truth about people it’s allows you to see their peoples weakness’ so you can build them up. You see who’s loyal and who can think best under pressure, who’s honest and who can take the heat. The truth must always be told.”
Actress/Comic Punkie Johnson, ZOMBIECON
FilmCourage: When watching ZombieCON, is Punkie the character that we are all going to be rooting for?
Punkie: Everybody is gonna love PUNKIE. PUNKIE will create a nice fan base and everybody will love PUNKIE but I think rocket will b the one they root for.
FilmCourage: Why (or why not) do groups of people need someone to “stir the pot” or tell the truth?
Punkie: Stirring the pot exposes the truth about people it’s allows you to see their peoples weakness’ so you can build them up. You see who’s loyal and who can think best under pressure who’s honest and who can take the heat. The truth must always be told. We can’t allow the fact that someone’s feelings can be hurt if we are honest. IF the dress is ugly imma tell you. What type of friend would I be to let you go out in that dress? If you are out of line or wrong about an issue, I will tell you. It doesn’t mean I don’t have your back or don’t support your actions. It means you wrong, I love you, but fix the problem.
FilmCourage: How does ZombieCON’s Punkie handle other would-be leaders who try to usurp her power?
Punkie: Cool calm and collective. Reverse psychology. PUNKIE doesn’t show sweat and PUNKIE works best under pressure. PUNKIE kills with kindness and smiles in the faces of those who try to tear her down then strike when it’s least expected not even causing a scene. PUNKIE keeps her enemies close because she wants to know every single move you make in order to protect the ones she love. PUNKIE is smooth. PUNKIE don’t take anybody serious. PUNKIE just like to have fun but don’t test PUNKIE her kindness is not weakness.
FilmCourage: What is it like to rehearse and shoot against a green screen?
Punkie: It great. It opens you up to use your own imagination. You have to picture the scene and live in it. It has also taught me how to be ready to do this type of thing for future roles. I wouldn’t need any guidance or direction because I’m already prepped for it and camera ready. Thanks, Kyle.
FilmCourage: When does filming begin on ZombieCON and how will you develop your character until you arrive on set?
Punkie: Filming begins the end of June. I’m stoked exited a little nervous but I know everything will work how it works and we will make it happen. I am PUNKIE in real life. It’s all a matter of when I turn her on. I just have to say to myself alright “it’s FUNKIE PUNKIE time, let’s get this work.”
FilmCourage: If you didn’t attend a high school reunion and the “group” talked about whoever didn’t show, what would you want them to say about Punkie in your absence?
Punkie: I honestly don’t care. Lol, but a couple things I know what they would say, “damn PUNKIE out there gettin’ it in Hollywood.” ” I always knew she be a comedian,” “Man PUNKIE SUPA stupid.” “PUNKIE didn’t get fat like the rest of us.” “PUNKIE always said she was going to Hollywood.” “PUNKIE is a woman of her word.” ” I wish I was doing what PUNKIE doing right now, I rather be living my dreams than sitting here at this whack ass reunion.” Just stuff like that.
“I am always about to sh*t my pants before going on stage. It is terrifying. Once I’m up there, I’m good, though. I love that feeling of nervousness. It’s in the out of my stomach and it gives me an unexplainable rush and a high that no drug can give me. I feel free…”
Actress/Comic Punkie Johnson, ZOMBIECON
FilmCourage: Were you into cosplay before being cast in ZombieCON?
Punkie: Never knew what cosplay was. Heard about it never understood it. Now I have more of a understanding of what it is. Initially I was like really grown ass adults in a costume really? But when I tell you I out a costume on and was a child again. I just can’t explain it. I love acting a damn fool. I know I sound crazy but I just like to roll with the punches.
FilmCourage: Have you ever had a case of stage fright or nerves before performing stand up? Any hecklers?
Punkie: Yep. I am always about to sh*t my pants before going on stage. It is terrifying. Once I’m up there, I’m good, though. I love that feeling of nervousness. It’s in the out of my stomach and it gives me a unexplainable rush and a high that no drug can give me. I feel free and in a space that there is a world out there that I create for myself when I am on that stage. I unveil myself and become totally naked and can still be in my own comfort zone. I have never had a heckler yet.
FilmCourage: What’s harder, doing stand-up comedy or acting?
Punkie: Acting. GOSH I HATE ACTING. I feel so goofy. The stage is where I can be me and I like being me acting I have to tune into the character. I am still learning that but soon enough hopefully with practice and direction my skills will sharpen and I will love it.
FilmCourage: What has acting taught you about stand-up comedy and vice-versa?
Punkie: Acting has taught me that maybe I should develop some characters for my act. Acting has also taught me that I love writing sketches. Comedy has taught me that you have to not be afraid to take yourself to the most intense vulnerable emotion while acting. Just say “eff” it, get naked and go.
FilmCourage: What is #uncensored Punkie versus censored like?
Punkie: PUNKIE is not censored at all I’ll tell you that. PUNKIE love to cuss and act a fool. Censored PUNKIE unexcited.
FilmCourage: What is your favorite episode of MewNowTV.com‘s Talkin’ Points?
Punkie: My favorite one has to be about Beyoncé. DO NOT COME FOR THE BEE HIVE BABY.
FilmCourage: In your opinion, what’s the best platform for comedians to reach their audience?
Punkie: Never listen to anyone but yourself. Perform with authenticity and in your most passionate form. Express yourself with nothing but truth and honestly.
FilmCourage: Punkie we understand you tend bar in the LA area. What’s the funniest thing a drunk or sober patron has said to you?
Punkie: Well this one guy came up to me and he was upset that he gave his credit card to a waitress on the inside and he wanted me to help him find it. I said “I’m sorry man I can’t leave this bar to find your card for you, but if you go back inside to where you were seated, I’m sure you will see the waitress and you can get your credit card back.” Out of the blue he said “F*ck you.” I said “man f*ck yo mama.” Lol! Security arrived, helped find his card and asked him to leave because they don’t allow anybody to talk to us like that. I turned my head for one second and looked up. He came up to me, this “GROWN ASS MAN” came up to me and said “nah you better take that back what you said about my mama.” I busted out laughing. I could not for the life of me take him serious. I said “what nah?” He said “take that back right now. You said f*ck my mama.” I swear I was being punk’d. I said “dawg, you a grown man. Go home. This ain’t recess. This ain’t no play ground and we not children. I’m not taking that sh*t back.” It killed me that his old ass really started sh*t with me, then couldn’t take the heat. Dumb ass.
FilmCourage: Had any real life out of control or super LA diva at the bar situation inspired a character or skit?
Punkie: Yep. This lady owns a business with her partner and he is trying to take it away from her, so she comes to the bar every night and tries to spend all of the company’s money by giving away all their money. Buying double scotches, paying 30 bucks a piece for them and tips like a hundred bucks a drink. Then he sends this buddies to spy on her and she run and hides. It gets weird around there, but I’m enjoying the view.
FilmCourage: If you could chose a comedy mentor who would help you with the business side of comedy who would it be?
Punkie: Kat Williams. The most reckless, rawest, toughest, talent I have ever seen do comedy. I can wait to be strong enough and brave enough to tell the ultimate truth and not worry about people feeling or the consequences. I can’t wait ’til the day that I do not give a flying F**K. He the realest in the game. That’s gonna be me one day.
FilmCourage: Where you would like to be in the next 5 years with your comedy and acting?
Punkie: I would like to be touring the world. THAT’S IT. I want my talent to take me to see every piece of this land, every continent, every sea, every culture. I just wanna see everything and appreciate and respect it thru much more than the Internet or tv screen.
Jessica Williams (best known as Punkie Johnson) born April 29, is an aspiring comedian.
She was raised by her mother Mary Johnson in New Orleans, Louisiana where she attended catholic and public schools, graduating in May, 2003 from McDonough 35 High School. Punkie went on to Nicholl’s State University in Thibodeaux, Louisiana where she graduated in May, 2008 receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies.
In February, 2011 she moved to Los Angeles, California where she attended The Acting Core. Soon after, she began working at the Comedy Store as a waitress. While there, Punkie decided to embark on a career of stand-up comedy.
She spreads her “southernality” all over Los Angeles with a big smile, a bear hug and a “have a good one my baby.” Check out Punkie’s prior FilmCourage interview here.
Talkin’ Points on MewNowTV.com