By Erin Crowell
Do you know what theyre going to call the merger between Munson and
Spectrum Health? Martha Johnson asks.
Of course, Marti (as her friends call her) isnt being serious
actually, the account executive at ABC TV 29&8 is always joking around
and making people laughso much so, that friends and family have
encouraged her to take on stand-up comedy.
It was something Johnson took seriously.
The Traverse City resident has already performed in front of two
sold-out crowds at Lil Bo Pub and Grille in town and anticipates an
additional mob at her next performance on Thursday, July 1, at the
So, what does this 47-year-old single gal, living in Northern Michigan
have to say? Well, its all part of her routine titled The Brass
Ovaries Comedy Tour, the bit covers everything from career to pap
Ever notice that everything that starts with the word men has to do
with women? Johnson asks. Menopause, mental illness, menses what is
up with that?
On stage, Johnson recalls her experiences as a single career gal in
the world of online dating.
I once got a marriage proposal from a guy in L.A., she laughs.
Never even met him before. I was like, For real, how did you find
Marti Johnson in the pinkie of Michigan?!
Not that she would have said yes, because as Johnson points out, her
Im looking for a guy with teeth and a job.
Johnsons routine is also about everyday life, particularly in
You know, there are two seasons in this area, Johnson says. Winter
and no left turn.
MUCH NEEDED LAUGHS
As a TC Chamber Ambassador, Film Festival volunteer, NMC College
Scholarship Golf Outing Committee member and board member for
Michaels Place, it was only a matter of time before this career girl
added something else to the platter.
Johnson has over 23 years experience in sales, which serves as part
material, part reason she is so comfortable on stage.
I used to be a pharmaceuticals rep. Ive sold everything from drugs
to radio and newspaper sales.
With her type of career, Johnson knows that these are the times when
laughter is needed the most.
Its the most challenging time that Ive seen, she says. People
need to laugh now more than ever. I love to make people smile.
Johnson says she developed that ability through her father and grandfather.
Im a lot like them. I always have these one liners, plus I have a
great memory so its easy for me to recall a joke, she says.
Johnson also draws her inspiration from comedians like Robin Williams,
but she says her style is all her own.
My comedy is about life, its tragedy plus time, she says. Plus, my
routine is pretty clean; but, I might drop an F-bomb here or there.
Friends have always encouraged her to get on stage, friends like John
Sohacki. He pursued his own hobby and now plays bass in a local band,
performing across the region.
She has always made people laugh and I really encouraged her to get
out and try it, Sohacki says. All you can do is encourage and tell
them its going to happen. I give her credit because it took a lot of
courage. Ive at least got some band mates to share the spotlight
But Johnson says she doesnt mind being up there alone.
It seriously goes by in a second. Of course, the shot of liquid
courage probably helped, she laughs.
Her dream would ultimately involve performing at Traverse Citys
My goal is to be the hometown humor girl to perform onstage at the
Traverse City Comedy Festival, she says. I talked to a lot of
comedians at last years festival and they all told me that this is
how they started. You just have to decide to do it.
Catch TCs funny lady, Martha Marti Johnson and her Brass Ovaries
Comedy Tour at Lil Bo Pub and Grille, in Traverse City, on Thursday,
July 1. Show starts at 8 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge.