Comedian Anthony “AJ” Johnson Of “Friday” Movie Fame Passes Away

Screen Shot from Friday the movie

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.