Bryan Johnson (filmmaker)

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Bryan Lee Johnson
Johnson at the 2012 New York Comic Con.
Born Highlands, New Jersey
Nationality American
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, actor, comics writer, podcaster, reality television personality
Years active 1995 - present

Bryan Lee Johnson is a writer, actor, podcaster, screenwriter and comic book writer associated with Kevin Smith and the View Askewniverse. He is best known by his local fame in New Jersey and appearances in filmmaker Smith's New Jersey films as comic book fan Steve-Dave Pulasti. He was also the basis for the Clerks character Randal Graves.[1] Through his friendship with Smith, he was often involved in his productions until Smith moved to Los Angeles. He worked briefly at the Los Angeles branch of Smith's comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash.[2] He became co-host of the Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! podcast with friend Walt Flanagan and Brian Quinn. He also stars in the AMC reality series Comic Book Men.

Johnson has collaborated with Flanagan in creating comics adapted from their screenplays, including the 2004 miniseries Karney[3] and the 2007 miniseries War of the Undead.[4] According to an April 12, 2013 posting, Johnson no longer lives in his parents' basement.[5]

Early life[edit]

Bryan Lee Johnson was born in Highlands, New Jersey. Johnson attended Highlands Elementary School there (part of the Highlands School District) and Henry Hudson Regional High School, graduating in the mid 1980s.[6]

He got a job as a lifeguard at a recreational center for young people after visiting his friend Walt Flanagan there frequently. In about 1987 or 1988 Kevin Smith began to work at the Rec, and began to associate with Walt and Bryan.[7][8] Smith credits Bryan with developing his sense of humor.[8] Johnson left his parents' house for a while to live with and help his grandmother (and also to get away from a chaotic home situation).[9]

Johnson played guitar in high school and was interested in neo-classical artists like Yngwie Malmsteen. He moved to California to go to the Guitar Institute of Los Angeles, but was disturbed by witnessing a suicide on his first day in Hollywood, and by hearing about a stabbing murder nearby where he was staying. He went back to Jersey after a few weeks.[7][8]


Johnson, at left, with the cast of Comic Book Men.

Johnson worked at a Quickstop convenience store with Kevin Smith. During that period he and Smith got into a disagreement over a joke-sign Johnson hung outside the store (reading: "Store Closed Due To Bubonic Plague") that resulted in a police visit. Johnson was fired for this. This resulted in Johnson and Smith not speaking for many months, each waiting for one to call the other. Johnson thus missed the filming of Clerks, even though the Randal Graves character was based on him. Johnson quit the store and then worked moving furniture for a short time. After that he worked in a psych ward for youth. He got written up too many times and left. Johnson and Smith made-up after Smith's sister persuaded Smith to attend a Landmark Forum self-development course that required him to contact people he had lost contact with.[9]

For some time, Johnson ran the west coast location of Smith's Secret Stash comic book store. He left to make the film Vulgar.[10]

In late 2009 Johnson began the podcast Tell 'Em Steve-Dave with his friends Walt Flanagan and Brian Quinn.

On February 12, 2012, the reality television series Comic Book Men premiered, on which both Johnson and Flanagan star.

On July 24, 2014 during the edition entitled 'Shady Acres' from his podcast Tell 'Em Steve-Dave, Johnson expressed serious intent on creating a follow-up to his 2000 film, Vulgar. He stated that he has spoken with Kevin Smith about the project with Smith replying, 'Start writing immediately.' Smith is on board as an executive producer. The script is being written by Bryan Johnson while he and the production wait for the original film's rights to go back to Johnson sometime in 2015.





  1. ^ "Ming in Charge". Comic Book Men. Season 2. Episode 4. November 4, 2012. AMC.
  2. ^ Lin, Jennifer. " Smith relocates his Secret Stash". The View Askewnierse. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Weiland, Jonah (October 19, 2004). "Sideshow Freak: Bryan Johnson Explores the World of 'Karney'". Comic Book Resources.
  4. ^ a b Ullrich, Chris (January 10, 2007). "War is Hell: Johnson and Flannigan Talk 'War of the Undead'". Comic Book Resources.
  5. ^ Johnson, Bryan. "Tell 'em Steve-Dave Twitter Account". 
  6. ^ Muir, John Kenneth. An Askew View 2: The Films of Kevin Smith, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2012. ISBN 1557837945. Accessed February 6, 2013. "Bryan Johnson, the director of Vulgar (2000) and the actor who portrays comic book snob Steve-Dave in the View Askew universe was born in Highlands and later attended Highlands Elementary and Henry Hudson regional High School (the latter named after the sea captain who first explored the area in 1609)."
  7. ^ a b SModcast 78, Kevin Smith & Bryan Johnson
  8. ^ a b c Highlands, a Peephole History. #3
  9. ^ a b Highlands, a Peephole History. #6
  10. ^ Highlands, a Peephole History. #2
  11. ^ Kehr, Dave (April 26, 2002). "FILM IN REVIEW; 'Vulgar'". The New York Times. 

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