Exclusive: Goumba Johnny on his NFL past, Derek Jeter, and more
Goumba Johnny is a New York-based comedian, actor and author who has also been listened to by millions of people as a radio host. But many people do not realize that Johnny, prior to his success within the entertainment world, was signed as a free agent by both the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets.
As a comic, Johnny has performed alongside a virtual "who's who" of famous American comics. This includes Andrew Dice Clay, George Wallace, Martin Lawrence, Dom Irrera, and Jerry Seinfeld. He also stays active supporting a variety of charitable causes, including the Bowery Rescue Mission, the Autism Foundation, and the Elizabeth Fund for Lupus.
I had the pleasure of doing a sports-centric Q&A with Johnny and a few extracts from the interview are given below:
People know you first and foremost as an entertainer, both as a stand-up comic and a radio host before becoming an author. But you were initially a professional football player. Is it true that you were signed to both the New York Giants and Jets?
Goumba Johnny: When I graduated from college I signed a contract with the Jets and the following year with the Giants. Although I did not make the final roster of either team, it was a great experience for a young man who grew up in New York.
Do you still have love for football? Is there a team you root for?
Goumba Johnny: I’ve been a Kansas City Chiefs fan my whole life. My wife and I actually go out to Kansas City to enjoy the games. It’s an amazing NFL experience.
Are there any sports or teams you are or were as passionate about as you are football?
Goumba Johnny: New York Rangers -- I believe in Blue!
What was the last football game you attended in-person?
Goumba Johnny: I usually go to one Giants game and one Jets game each year, and try to get to Kansas City for one too. Giants versus Washington [Redskins] was the last one I saw.
As someone who has interviewed the who's who of celebrities, who have been some of your favorite athletes to interact with?
Goumba Johnny: I was doing mornings on WKTU with RuPaul and Michelle Visage, and we did an interview with Derek Jeter live on the air from spring training. It was hysterical. I asked him a series of questions about the team and what the outlook for the season was, then RuPaul took over.
He asked him what his favorite food was, Derek said pizza, then he asked him if he knew Andy Pettitte, and, of course, Derek said yes. RuPaul says, "Can you do me a favor and get his phone number for me?" And it just went on like that -- it was so funny.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Goumba Johnny: The effort you put into everything will define your life more than the results.