SNL‘s James Austin Johnson Brings Bob Dylan Back to NYC’s Washington Square Park

Bob Dylan returned to the city that gave him his start this weekend—but he sure looked a lot like Saturday Night Live player James Austin Johnson.

To mark Dylan’s 83rd birthday, Johnson brought his impression of the legendary singer/songwriter to Washington Square Park.

“Made up a Theme Time Radio Hour segment for Bob Dylan’s Birthday at Washington Square park,” Johnson wrote on Instagram alongside a clip of the performance. Theme Time Radio Hour was a radio show Dylan hosted on XM Satellite Radio from 2006-2009.

In the clip, Johnson-as-Dylan waxes reflective on summer staples like baseball games, suntan lotion, and carnivals—alongside SNL writer Mike DiCenzo and accompanied by musician Matt Sucich on guitar.

It’s not Johnson’s first time playing in the Dylan sandbox. A noted Dylan fan himself, Johnson called into John Mulaney Presents: Everybody’s in L.A. as the singer earlier this month. He also booked a role in the upcoming Bob Dylan biopic from director James Mangold, A Complete Unknown.

Johnson’s choice of setting for the performance brings it all back home for Dylan. NYC’s Washington Square Park was the center of folk music in the 1950s through early 1960s. A fledgling Dylan entered that scene in 1961, changing it forever and rocketing to fame with his own career.

Beyond his pitch-perfect imitation, Johnson also has Dylan’s reclusive personality down as well. “You never ask me to come to a destination wedding,” he said during his impromptu performance. “I’m not flying to Maui for a friend of a friend.”

James Austin Johnson kicks off his summer standup tour alongside SNL castmates Andrew Dismukes and Devon Walker June 7th in Brooklyn.

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