Making people laugh is not always easy, but Annie “McFunny” McKnight doesn’t have that problem. In fact, the Los Angeles comedienne has garnered lots of success, along with big hoots and loud giggles, from audiences responding to her routines.
A professional performer for 25 years, McKnight has shared her comedy on stages across the nation as well as in television, movie and theatre productions. Her resume includes co-starring in TV shows such as “Friends With Benefits,” “Southland” and “Brothers and Sisters.”
McKnight also appeared in the several movies such as “Crimes of the Heart,” “The Soloist” and “Hair Show,” and the many plays including “The Vagina Monologues,” “Sty of the Blind Pig,” and “Mary McLeod Bethune.”
Last month, she starred in the comedy stage play, “Grieving Widows’ Auxiliary II: The Engagement” and was nominated by the Hollywood and African Prestigious Awards (HAPA) as Best Stand-Up Female Comedian. Considering her extensive body of work, McKnight has made a steady livelihood inspiring others to laughter.
Explaining how comedy became a career for her, McKnight said, “People have always thought that I was funny. As a child, I was able to make my Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother laugh and my aunt nicknamed me, ‘Bozo.’ So, I guess getting comfortable with people laughing at me didn’t matter. I always thought it was a good thing.
“My comedy has brought plenty of joy and happiness to people and I’ve been able to transform it into a medicated non-capsule /non-liquid concoction for my special needs group. They laugh and learn,” she joked.
And McKnight learned a lot during her journey to comedy success. The mother of two adult daughters, she left her home in Georgia to pursue her dream when her children were young. After arriving in Hollywood, they boarded with her friend, J Anthony Brown, who was on the road performing.
“Living in a different city and with money running out, I had to rely on my talent,” recalled McKnight. Fortunately, she landed an audition for “The Gong Show” and won. With the $700 grand prize, she bought a sofa bed because “we were sleeping on the floor until I won,” she laughed.
“I knew Cali would accept me after that win and I continued to shine. A few years later, I won $10,000 on “America’s Funniest People” doing an impersonation of Tina Turner called ‘Tina in Lamaze class.’ I was blessed and continued to grow in the biz.”
Being a single mother with a career required careful balancing, said McKnight, and to ensure that her children’s needs were met, she followed a strict schedule. “I stopped touring on the road when they were younger and God blessed me in Cali. I’ve learned that He will bless you where you are.”
Her calendar also listed preparing healthy meals, attending teacher’s meetings and following up on her daughters’ activities. “Things were crazy, but I have good energy. I’m happy that they are adults now and have done well in their lives. Now I’m able to tour again and stay out a little later,” said McKnight with a smile.
Learn more about McKnight at anniemcknight.com, Twitter: @McFunny, and on Facebook at Annie McKnight, IG.