“Clean Ryheem” joins SweetSpill.com in discussing his humble beginnings of being from a small town, a clear career path steered by spirituality, and the overall pursuit of a lifelong dream in entertainment. Get acquainted with this rising young comedian/actor as we spill into the background of his craft and his insight into the future!
1. Introduce yourself… My name is Ryheem “Clean Ryheem” Johnson. I’m a comedian and actor, but being a Business Manager at Boys Town in Washington D.C. is what pays a bulk of the bills.
2. Where are you from? I was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of VA (Accomac county). I attended Goldey Beacom College in Wilmington, DE which led to an 8 year stay. Now I reside in Largo, MD (DMV) with my wife Breonna.
3. How did your passions in entertainment develop? Well, I’ve always been a ball of energy. When I used to watch TV or look at magazines around the age of 8, I thought, “I can do that!” So, in college I pursed a modeling career which opened doors to acting opportunities. While trying to balance work and a new life as a husband, I found less time for acting gigs and comedy became an outlet.
4. What led you to following your dreams without looking back? While living in DE I was an accountant full time and I reached a point where I was just tired of missing opportunities to grow and reach my full potential. Since I was single and childless I eventually decided that it was time to take that leap of faith. I found a lot of success, but then I also found a wife. So I eventually had to change a few things, but I’ve been making preparations to make that leap once more.
5. As far as being a comedian and actor, which do you love the most? They both really give me two totally different rewarding feelings. Comedy gives me an opportunity to make people feel happy, give them a chance to forget the worries of life and just have a good time. Acting gives me an opportunity to do that same thing, but for myself. Now that I’ve said that, I hope it doesn’t seem selfish of me to say that I prefer acting… doing BOTH is simply the best of both worlds.
6. What’s the hardest part about living (and pursuing) a dream in entertainment? The hard part is that EVERYONE wants to do it. You’re constantly competing for a “spot”, but that’s a part of the reward for me. I love competing and I embrace challenges. I love getting those opportunities to prove myself, and when I don’t get the “spot” I appreciate the chance to improve my craft.
7. What makes you different among your peers and why is it important to be in your own lane? What makes me different from my peers is simply my relationship with Christ. I’m not saying that others DON’T have one, but I allow mine to reflect on the stage. Clean comedy doesn’t just mean I don’t curse; it also means my subject matter isn’t vulgar, belligerent or explicit. When you stay true to yourself you end up owning your own lane, meaning when you try to switch up you only put whatever situation, Faith, and values you have at risk.
8. When did you receive your first break? That’s so hard to put in short form, besides, I don’t even know if I’ve ever had a “break” to be honest. As soon as I entered into both of these categories of entertainment things just took off! To ME, I’ve just been consistent, so it seems as if I’ve really been on the same level. That “first break” will be what sends me to more of a national status I believe.
9. Where has your career taken you so far? So far I’ve been on TV about 7 or 8 times on TVOne, ID, Reelz, and I was also in a commercial that was aired locally (MD). My biggest accomplishment was a Civil Rights video for the “Green Book” in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. I’ve also recently become a client of Charles Kane, so I know that list will soon grow longer. That name will ring the bell for anyone that has ever been on Comic View or Def Jam.
10. What are you currently working on? I’ve actually been invited to audition for a couple films in the DMV area so it’s a little too early to speak on those. I’m hosting an Enduring Conference in VA Beach in June which sold out in less than 2 weeks and later that month I’m hosting “An Evening with Earnest Pugh” which is definitely going to be fun. It’s cool working with people that you would have never thought you’d actually meet, let alone share the stage with. I have a bunch of other shows lined up, but those are the most anticipated.
11. What do you hope to accomplish in the future? The ideal situation would be to share the same stages as those big name comedians, and sell out a stadium or two. That’s every comedians dream. I also want to find myself in a consistent rotation as an actor … and then I’d come out of nowhere and drop a rap album with J. Cole and Cyhi The Prynce called Trifecta.
12. Outside of comedy and acting, is there anything additional fans can expect from your brand? I’ve recently been working on a clothing line, but I don’t have a title for it. I’ve thought of all these designs and have the first one in the works. How did I forget the name?! I’m out here hustlin backwards…smh
13. How can the audience find you and your work? I’m Ryheem Johnson on FB, and @CleanRyheem on IG and Twitter. If anyone wants to contact me about work you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve recently completed my website as well. www.cleanryheem.com I’m accessible right now, don’t wait too long though!
14. Last but not least, what impression do you hope your fans will always keep in connecting your craft to who you are as a person? At the end of the day, I just want people to leave my presence feeling better than they did prior. Whether I did that by making them laugh or by making them think about something and seeing the better side. I want them to see the God in me, notice the professionalism, and feel the energy I’m exuding on stage. Furthermore, at some point I want them to desire to find their better selves, and then do something with it the way I did.