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Conversations with Devin-Taylor Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devin-Taylor Johnson.

Devin-Taylor, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was raised in New York City. The first show ever created was “The Dumb Dumb Show” staring various guests also known as my fellow elementary school peers. Episode sessions were exclusively recorded on the morning public school yellow cheese bus. Whether it was a video or audiotape rolling, I was determined to deliver a performance. I memorized MAD tv and Key & Peele sketches and performed them for my friends with such passion that they preferred my rendition better than the original almost every time. We Are Your Pals started from sliding into DMs! I wish I was kidding!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Throughout my life, I have faced an immense amount of adversity being an African American female. One thing that I stand for, more than anything else, is the push for more diverse voices to be heard. At a very young age, I made it my life’s motto to “provoke thought and make people laugh until their stomachs hurt“. This meant killing people who wanted to watch me fail with kindness and paving a way for younger people who aspire to walk a similar path. My grandest takeaway from this collegiate journey is that the entertainment industry is a collective experience. It genuinely takes a village for any production. Creating We Are Your Pals wasn’t easy. Creating any show isn’t easy. There are bumps and walls you hit but in order to get back on track, you have to pick up the pieces, re-route or set up a whole new game plan. A lot of the struggle as an independent content creator is funds. Where to get them from? How much is needed, etc. Finding clear funding and marketing strategies can be quite difficult. What makes the hugest difference is a team fueled by passion.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a producer, I want to move people. There is a clear art to storytelling that I want to master. I specialize in guiding a vision into reality. In this industry, I’m the person who enjoys blending creativity with business. With that, I am most proud of this sketch show. I grew up watching Key and Peele and MADtv. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of comics who paved the way for people such as myself! I’m not waiting for someone to “discover” me. Now, I’m building a production company with my girls, Claire Riffle and Lauren Winters. Our goals expand beyond We Are Your Pals as we collaborate with one another to get our voices out there. For us, as performers and producers, we want our presence in this industry to mean something, to strike change, and shift how future generations visually consume entertainment.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I hope to see We Are Your Pals expand to streaming or network. I hope that this project will also provide leverage for other comics and content creators like myself. I want We Are Your Pals as the sketch show kids and young adults love to tune into and reference in casual conversation. In 5 years, I hope for there to be a flare in young comedians breaking ground in comedic culture. In 10, well, I hope a young creative like me can live comfortably making art that will change lives!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Crew Shicong Zhu – Director Christian Ruffo – Director of Photography Jake Glaviano – Camera Operator Arianna Franklin – 1st AC Jeremy Kozura – Production Sound Talent Devin Johnson Claire Riffle Lauren Winters Austin Wolfe Peyton List Mar Sudac Photo Credit: Christopher Gilstrap (who was also talent BTW) Graphic Design: Briyanna Ruff

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