Our Stories: 7 Kathy Shaner Johansen

KJ FINAL VERSIONThe comedienne Kathy Shaner Johansen is best known in CT as “KJ” and her popular “Off the Cuff with KJ” radio program is on the air at WAPJ in Torrington (and online).  With signature red hair and a big smile, KJ delights audiences in NY and CT and is using her opportunities to open them up for other comedians to showcase their talent through comedy workshops and performances.

There were a number of ways I could go with this Crayon Diary Our Stories depiction. I considered drawing KJ as Lucille Ball or Joan Rivers (two of her comedic inspirations). I even thought of trying to depict her in a “glamour shot” like a Golden Age of Television head shot of a classic comedian. All of those ideas could have worked if I could pull it off but none of those would have hit the nail on the head exactly right.

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The stage was important. She goes on stage and she gives the stage to others. So I decided I would depict the stage and she’s not looking at the audience, she’s looking at folks back stage like the other comedians/comediennes.  She’s dropped the mic (which if she had another comedian coming on next she wouldn’t so this is obviously the end of the night and it represents that everyone “killed” their sets). And the stool is tipped over. Something happened here during the show that was full of energy. That’s a KJ comedy night alright!



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And then it hit me about her peeking out from the side. I could have drawn her onstage doing a bit but peeking out is much, much better here. It’s a different idea unlike any of the other drawings.  By necessity the eye is drawn to the side. There is mystery. We want to know what happened and what were the jokes that happened on this stage. The mind can fill in any story we want. We don’t know what she’s wearing except for one half of “hand cuffs” with the other half is on the stage floor (hence Off the Cuff).

Off the Cuff Radio program is on Sunday nights at 9pm on WAPJ 105.1 and 89.9 FM on the local radio dial, streamed from http://wapjfm.com/  If all works well, I may be visiting the program tonight to discuss this work!



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