What is a real apology?


Up until a few years ago most people thought Domino’s pizza was garbage. The company was losing business, closing stores, and failing fast.

Then they did something risky. They admitted how much they sucked. They ran an ad campaign that basically said “Hey, we know everyone hates our pizza! We know you think the crust tastes like cardboard! We hear you and we’re fixing it. We’ve entirely changed how we make our pizza because we don’t want to suck anymore.”

It worked. Two days after the commercial started airing their sales were already growing. By week three they were running out of pepperoni. IT WAS A HUGE HIT.

Why did this work so well?

Domino’s CEO, J. Patrick Doyle, put it this way:

If somebody is going to convince you they’re going to change it has to start with them absolutely owning the problem in the first place.

Shout out to the CHANGE AGENT podcast for telling this story about Domino's.

True repentance starts with owning the thing you’re needing to change.

Over the last several months we’ve seen a LOT of men in Hollywood giving some pretty bogus “apologies” for sexual misconduct. They deny, they downplay, they blame the culture, they point fingers. It always feels like their main goal in responding to accusations is to save their own neck.

Except for Dan Harmon, creator of Community and Rick & Morty. Everyone needs to learn from Domino’s and Dan Harmon (this is a weird sentence I never thought I’d write).

In January Harmon was accused of sexual harassing one of his employees while working on Community. He addressed it on his own podcast that week and spent 7 minutes OWNING THE PROBLEM.

Here’s an excerpt:

And I lied to myself the entire time about it. And I lost my job. I ruined my show. I betrayed the audience. I destroyed everything and I damaged her internal compass. And I moved on. I’ve never done it before and I will never do it again, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had any respect for women. On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures. I was thinking about the ones that I liked as having some special role in my life and I did it all by not thinking about it. So, I just want to say, in addition to obviously being sorry, but that’s really not the important thing, I want to say I did it by not thinking about it and I got away with it by not thinking about it. And if she hadn’t mentioned something on Twitter, I would have continued to not have to not think about it, although I did walk around with my stomach in knots about it, but I wouldn’t have had to talk about it.

Read the whole thing here

It was a real apology. It wasn’t a PR move. And it was effective. After listening to the episode, woman who accused him tweeted.

His apology brought healing and change because of Dan Harmon chose to be vulnerable.

Andy Savage is a pastor in Tennessee who addressed his own past sexual misconduct during a Sunday morning service. The New York Times did a HEARTBREAKING video with the woman Savage took advantage of back when she was just a teenager and he was her pastor. They get her reaction to his apology and it makes you realize how weak it really is. 

WATCH THE VIDEO (I’ll warn you that there’s one line in the video that is pretty graphic)

At first I just wanted to write about the church in general. I wanted to write "we need to be better at this" over and over and over. I wanted to question if we were setting a culture where people respond in church with quick PR statements to make themselves feel better or if true repentance was the norm. I wanted to write stuff like "if we understand the gospel and how crazy grace really is" and so on and so on.

But then I realized I wanted to focus on that because I didn’t want to have to examine myself. I’ve hurt people with my words and the stuff I’ve done. I’ve been selfish and stupid. I’ve sinned. BIG sins. How do I talk about them with myself, my closest friends, with God, or with the people I’ve hurt?

Have I made real apologies? Am I owning the problem so I can make a real change? Am I willing to be messy and seek forgiveness?

Do I need to be better at this? Do I need to be better at this?

Is a pizza company better at seeking forgiveness than a Christian?

Van Life Memories


Quick recap of where I’m at in life:

3 years ago I bought a minivan to live in while I performed across the country

Last week I found out the engine was ruined and I needed to get a new vehicle

I took this as a little push from God to enter a new “season of ministry” so I opened a Patreon to raise monthly financial support for my ministry

So far people have been more than generous and it’s all blown me away

I spent all day yesterday at a car dealership. I got a new vehicle and got rid of the van.

My time as “Taylor Johnson, comedian who lives in his van” is over. It feels strange to say goodbye. I spent so much of the last three years in that van.

For most people “living in a van” sounds so strange and sad and horrible but it wasn’t bad at all. I got used to it real fast and it became my new normal.



Honestly the worst part of living in my van was telling people I lived in my van. I got the same questions over and over. “Why?” “Where do you shower?” “Where do you sleep?” “You live in a van….DOWN BY THE RIVER?!” I got these questions so often I started to make videos to answer them for everyone.

Here’s a playlist of all those videos



People also asked me if I had a gun in my van but no one ever really bothered me when I was parked at night. Once a cop wanted to see if I was dead or doing something horrible but when he found out I was just sleeping, he left me alone. Another time a security guard told me I couldn’t park where I was and told me to go to the bank across the street to sleep.

Besides that, I was totally left alone. But if I did need to fight for myself, I guess I did have one line of defense: a cup.



Living in my van came with all these new experiences I would have never had otherwise. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and into some weird places. 

I have a membership to Planet Fitness and that’s where I’d shower every morning while living in my van. My most popular video on youtube came from a new experience I thought I’d try while stopping at a Planet Fitness on the road.

I decided to try a tanning bed. It was weird.


My new car is a Nissan Rogue. It’s not big enough to sleep in. The more I think about it, the more I know I’m going to miss the van life. It was simple. It was fun. I could go anywhere without worrying about where I could take a nap.

I know God has a plan. I know nothing lasts forever. I know that change will always come. Goodbye, van. I pooped my pants at least 3 times while living in you. No one can ever take those memories away.


Leap of Faith

I really loved this short documentary from the New York Times where they just filmed people about to jump off a 10 meter diving board. It’s so simple but it’s FASCINATING and funny and heart warming.

Some people overcame their fears, some chickened out, and one guy kept telling his girlfriend that he wasn’t listening to a word she was saying because he was so scared.

I don’t know if I’d be able to do it.

I’m so scared of heights.

The moment I got up there I'd have to immediately jump off. No pausing, no looking over the edge first, and no hesitating. If I were to hesitate even for just a moment, I’d be stuck up there forever. End of story.

You even see this happen to a few people in the video. They’re ready to do it until that brief flash of doubt, and then it takes them a long time to work up the courage again.

A few years ago I made a video about this VERY SUBJECT.

I used it as an illustration. I was talking about how the moment you decide you need to do something, do it right then and there. Don’t hesitate. You’ll get nervous and talk yourself out of it.  Like the moment you know you need to end a relationship, confront that friend, ask for help, apply for that job, have that tough conversation, etc etc etc. I couldn’t think of anymore examples.

I hope it's obvious I'm not saying "DON'T EVER THINK ABOUT STUFF! MAKE EVERY DECISION IMMEDIATELY! FOLLOW YOUR FIRST INSTINCT NO MATTER WHAT! SET STUFF ON FIRE IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT!" I'm talking about those moments where you've already made up your mind, you've thought about it, and you're confident you know what the right thing to do is BUT it still feels scary to actually step out and do it.

My goal in life is to close the gap between when God tells me to do something and when I actually do it. I get nervous. I try to talk myself out of big steps of faith. I hesitate and then it takes a while to get that courage back and actually jump.

This week I “jumped” into a new season of ministry. I set up a Patreon to raise monthly support so I can continue performing in churches and school assemblies without having to be a huge financial burden on the churches wanting to bring me in. I’ve been standing at the edge, hesitating on this for several months now. I wasn’t going to jump but God gave me a push. I found out the van I had been traveling had a busted engine, and the whole vehicle was ruined.

That made me jump.

I’m still in the air. Don’t know where I’m landing.

But I’m glad I jumped.

A Big Scary Change for Me

Well folks, things sure have changed in my life lately.

I think God ruined my van to force me to trust Him in this next season of ministry.

This week I opened a Patreon as a way for people to support me and my ministry. I’d love to get to a place where I can speak in as many churches and schools as possible without having to be a huge financial burden.

Patreon is almost like an ongoing Kickstarter.

You can pledge at different amounts ($2, $5, $10, $15, $25, $50) and at each level there are different rewards.

With monthly support I’ll be able to reach more audiences, make more free resources, and increase the quality of all my projects.

Please pray for me, check out the video, look over my Patreon page, and reach out to me if you have any questions.

Thank you.

In Person vs. Through a Screen: A HUGE Problem Facing our Culture


It’s not the same when it’s through a screen.

No one who watched the Super Bowl in their living room would claim they had the same experience as the people who were in the arena.

I still don’t understand why people at concerts record a million videos to post on instagram. Who is that for? You can’t tell what’s happening and the audio is so blown out and terrible. I’m not getting anything out of this. Why? Because it’s not the same when it’s through a screen.

Ever seen a video of a soldier coming home and surprising their loved ones? The family goes nuts. They’re so emotional and excited and overwhelmed. But why, though? The majority of these soldiers have had internet access while overseas. They’ve been able to text, e-mail, and FaceTime. They’ve been able to stay connected. 

But it’s not the same when it’s through a screen.

Nothing beats the live the experience. It’s true for the Super Bowl and it’s true for relationships.

This is becoming a serious issue in America. Back in November the Washington Post shared an article from Jean Twenge called “Teenage depression and suicide are way up — and so is smartphone use.”

Here’s what she says:

Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide. We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online).

This is not just a youth problem. They’re not the only ones with their heads down, staring at phones all day. They’re not the only ones living out relationships through a screen.

It’s hurting us. We’re missing out on genuine connection.

The greatest way to love someone and give them what they need today is to look them in the eye.

Call someone up, make plans, sit across from them, and look them in the eye.

A Great Book for Young Adult Ministries

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Over the last 6 months I’ve been reading as much as I can to prepare for my new tour. I want this comedy show to act as an outreach for the church or ministry hosting. I want to talk about confession, and why we need to be open and honest about what we’re going through. AND on top of all that I want to be able to train leaders and volunteers on how to handle those tough conversations when someone is opening up for the first time.

One of the books that has been the most help is When Your Twenties are Darker than You Expected by Paul C. Maxwell. Each chapter walks through difficulties we can face like depression, regret, loneliness, anxiety, lust, doubt, and suicide. Maxwell does such a great job unpacking what these experiences look like specifically in your 20s.

It’s a great combination of thorough academic research and personal vulnerability.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says “shame hates when we reach out to tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it —it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy.”

That quote helped me realize one of Maxwell’s greatest strengths in writing. He is so good at wrapping the perfect words around the darkness. He articulates what the experience feels like and takes the shame out of it so you can begin to deal with it.

“Depression is an entire arsenal of concrete shoes, fixing you to the ground, letting you witness the world but not participate.”

“Regret is the closest emotional synonym we have for the word ‘scar.’”

I think everyone ministering to young adults should have this book in their office. It gives a ton of insight, wisdom, and points you to a lot of other great resources in the footnotes.

I don’t know how to transition here but I just want to share one of my other favorite quotes from the book.

In the chapter on dealing with lust Maxwell says, “There is no higher way to value a human being than to regard their relationship with God as your highest priority.” And I think that’s just a beautiful mindset to have when it comes to lust.

I’m giving away 10 free copies of this book to young adult pastors and ministry directors who fill out a quick survey. DO IT!

Not Used to Altar Music

7 years ago I was still getting used to ending my stand-up with a message. I had never had altar music play while I closed. It really freaked me out.

The first time a woman yelled "amen" while I was on stage it scared me even worse. I stopped in the middle of my sentence and said "oh, thank you" because I didn't know what else to do.

I have come a long way.


Reading Gave My Brain a 6 Pack



My brain is so much bigger and stronger. My frontal lobe probably has a six pack. They say some of the greatest leaders read a book a week, well I guess I’m a double leader and then some.

I’ve been so impressed with my own self control the last few weeks. The old me wouldn’t have been able to shut up about my new lifestyle as “guy who reads a lot.” The old me would have crammed a brag into every conversation. Even with strangers. Especially with strangers.


You: Welcome to fast food, can I take your order?

Me: I’d like a number 1 with a Dr. Pepper and I’d like you to know I READ OF MICE AND MEN FOR FUN LAST WEEKEND AND IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.

You: Oh…ok. My pleasure?



Luckily all these books have made me a new man and only a few people have had to deal with Taylor “I read 10 books last month” Johnson. And to them I offer my deepest apologies.

I feel really stupid talking about how reading is good for you because it just sounds so obvious. Of course reading a lot is better for you then binge watching tv nonstop for years and years and years. I feel dumb saying it out loud, though. Like I’m writing about how I just discovered smoking is actually bad for you because I just smoked 10 books last month.

But let’s get serious for a moment. Reading is making me a happier and healthier human being.



The more time I spend with a book in my hands means less time I spending on my phone. I didn’t even realize this was happening until one Saturday I spent all day reading and I didn’t even think about my phone until I took a break for dinner. That never happens. I’ve checked my phone 5 times since I started writing this sentence. You want spend less time on your phone? Replace it with a book.

I have been learning so much. On my new tour I want to train leaders and parents on how to be there for people opening up and confessing for the first time. So much great advice from these books are now living in my brain and I feel so much better equipped to help people.

I’m communicating with greater ease than ever. I thought that would sound nicer than “I be talking and writing gooder.” It’s like when you read you’re stockpiling words and ideas like ammo to use the next time you need to express yourself. It’s a workout for your brain. If you want to write, you need to read. If you want to lead, you need to read.



I could not stay this excited about reading without some help. If I was left on my own I probably would have lost interest a few weeks in and this post would be me bragging about taking a nap so intense it was technically a coma.

GOODREADS is the greatest resource (become my friend on there!). It’s social media for the books you’re reading. Keep track of what you’ve finished, what you’re currently reading, and the huge list of what you want to read next. You can rate, review, and see what your friends are reading too.

That last one is the biggest help. At the beginning of the month I deleted all social media except Goodreads so any time I felt the need to check my phone, all I had was an app that showed me how much fun my friends were having reading. “Oh shoot I should just go read” is all I could think.

Speaking of which…

Austin Kleon is one of my favorite authors to follow on Twitter. He’s always posting about his love of reading and even made this image I set as the lock screen for my phone. It’s a nice reminder.


Ever feeling like reading is too expensive? You don’t want to spend all this money on books you’re not sure you’ll ever read again? I know how you feel. That’s why I got a library card. Like a freaking nerd. It’s crazy that the government just has the buildings all over the country where you can go borrow books for free. What a world.



Out on the Wire: Uncovering the Secrets to Radio’s New Masters of Story with Ira Glass by Jessica Abel

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Why Suicide? by Eric Marcus

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Scandalabra by Derrick Brown

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach


*I’m saying “finished” instead of “read” because STIFF by Mary Roach was an audiobook I listened on my drive from Chicago to San Antonio and I’d feel like a real dirty liar if I claimed to have read it.



Are you feeling down and out? Did your hopes rise while the ball dropped on New Year's because you thought this year would be different but now you're not so sure? You're in a rut, a slump, stuck? Pick up a book. Any book you think would be fun to read. Don't start with one you feel like you're supposed to read. Read for you. Get in that book and don't leave until it's over. Put down your phone. Absorb the lives and thoughts of others. 

“Reading is thinking with someone else's head instead of ones own.” -Arthur Schopenhauer

Go. Read. Read slowly. Read all day. Read on the toilet. Whatever you need to do. Just don't read while driving. And then one day you'll be able to brag about feeling better and smarter and healthier just like I did for the last thousand words.

See you then.