Actor and comedian Anthony “AJ” Johnson has passed away at 55 years old.
His representative confirmed Johnson’s death to multiple news outlets. However, no cause of death has been announced yet.
Shoutout to a real one.
R.I.P Anthony AJ Johnson.
Thx for the classics 👏🏽✨ pic.twitter.com/uz9ssC3KZ3
— SDOT (@Beautifulsdot) September 20, 2021
TMZ reported that Johnson’s nephew described a medical issue stemming from a month earlier. Johnson was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles and rushed to a hospital. It was at the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A Comedian’s Comedian
LyNea Bell, a representative for Johnson, confirmed the news to multiple news outlets.
“The world of comedy has truly been shaken, again,” Bell said to USA Today. “He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold.
“We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, 3 children, brother Edward ‘Peanut’ Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.”
Tears of sadness turned to tears of laughter real quick🤣🤣😂😂😂
Rest in Peace AJ Johnson, Thank You for the countless laughs and memories brother🖤
“HOT BOY HOT BOY BLING BLING”
— Mr. Brown (@Mr_Brown_Sir) September 20, 2021
Johnson had a slew of roles in movies that became underground cinematic hits for the culture.
A ’90s Cinema Star
His character Ezal in the first installment of the “Friday” movie franchise is a pillar of the culture. The minor role took center stage, responsible for the famous catchphrase, “You got knocked the &%*# out!” the minor role took center stage.
Rest In Peace to the legendary comedic actor, AJ Johnson 🕊 pic.twitter.com/ifBxrpniB5
— Black Gall Street (@NupeDeVille) September 20, 2021
That was in 1995.
However, Johnson’s body of work begins earlier than that breakout moment. Johnson appeared in 1989’s “Lethal Weapon 3,” and he played EZE in the classic 1990s movie “House Party.” He also appeared in the classic 1993 Los Angeles street movie “Menace II Society.”
Johnson also had notable characters in movies “The Players Club” and “BAPS.” However, he made his starring debut in Master P’s “I Got The Hook Up.”
This was one of the best scenes in Friday 💀
RIP AJ Johnson 🥺🕊 pic.twitter.com/fwlRBVojKQ
— September Alsina (@itscolebe) September 20, 2021
He repeated the classic cult role in 2019’s “I Got The Hook Up 2.”
The film came out in 1998 during the height of Master P and No Limit Records’ success. Johnson played “Blue,” an affable hustler moving cellphones through the hood with an always-ready “Black,” played by Master P.
The Original Small Man Self-Deprecation
Johnson’s signature small man complex comedy routine was his signature. It was well before Kevin Hart perfected it, and his facial gestures cemented his style.
— BIG MALCOLM X PLAY COUSIN (@Omowale99949437) September 13, 2021
As one of the Def Comedy Jam circuit pioneers, Johnson was part of the wave of comedians in the ‘90s that would become screen stars.
Additionally, Johnson appeared on classic crossover television shows like “Martin” and “Malcolm & Eddie.”
Johnson grew up in Compton, California, and was celebrated by Ice Cube today via Twitter.
Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday… https://t.co/gKbYZDZ4Br
— Ice Cube (@icecube) September 20, 2021
“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday.”
Johnson made the supporting character central to a movie in his way. Johnson always supported the main character as a sidekick and knew how to steal the scene with his branded shenanigans.
Damn… RIP AJ Johnson , dude killed every role he was in pic.twitter.com/IiAUChm9HI
— Super Saiyan of Savagery (@That_Boy_Javii) September 20, 2021
He trailblazed in his way, inspiring the comedy style that many take for granted today on social media. Fast, funny, and self-deprecating, Johnson was fearless and a beacon for laughter whenever he appeared on the screen.