It’s a question Jay Johnson hears often, at airports, in restaurants or just walking down the street. It’s an obvious question to the millions of people who know Jay from television. In the four years Jay played the schizophrenic role of “Chuck and Bob” on the classic television comedy SOAP, Jay was seen without Bob no more than 2 minutes. After 30 years of performing and perfecting his talents Jay Johnson has truly become a one man duet.
It’s a great compliment to Jay Johnson’s artistic ability as one of the world’s greatest ventriloquists, to have people ask about his wooden partners. But if you think he’s just the straight man to a very funny stage act you’re not even half right. Jay Johnson is like a 3-D poster. The longer you look and the harder you stare the more you see. There is much more to his talents than superficially perceived. The question then is not “Where’s Bob?” but “Who’s Jay?”
Jay started performing at 11 years old when he discovered his natural ability to make a cousin’s doll come to life and began a career using his imagination. His acute dyslexia disappeared in this world of imagery where he was able to find his self esteem and compete. In high school he produced and starred in his own local television show sponsored by a car dealership. This led to summers performing in theme park shows at Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags over Georgia and Astroworld. The summer Jay graduated from high school he logged 918 performances at the Crystal Pistol theater at Six Flags over Georgia. (That’s 10 shows daily for thirteen weeks) About the experience Jay says, “After a summer like that you’re either burned out or fired up… fortunately I got fired up. “
In the mid 70’s Jay moved to Los Angeles to pursue his ideas for television. To date he has done over thirty national commercials, hosted three comedy specials, produced and performed in two network television specials, two HBO specials, hundreds of guest appearances on variety shows and starred in four television series (“Soap” was in production for 4 years and still runs in syndication all over the world).
However, nothing he has done on television can compare to the thrill of seeing Jay perform live as thousands of comedy club audiences will tell you. His particular talents are best suited for live and spontaneous interchanges. His quick wit and unbelievable technique are pure magic when witnessed first hand. The list of entertainers Jay has shared the stage with in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Tahoe and in theater venues around the United States and other countries reads like a who’s who of entertainment.
Jay’s one man show “Jay Johnson: The Two and only” opened on Broadway to rave reviews and won him the American Theatre Wing TONY Award for “Best Special Theatrical Event” for 2007. The show won the Los Angeles Ovation Award for “best Solo show” in 2006. There is more information on the Broadway show at www.thetwoandonly.com.
In addition to being a ventriloquist Jay is also a writer, comic, cartoonist, poet and puppeteer. To him these talents are fingers of the same hand, tools to communicate his unique individuality. And his inimitable array of abilities allow others access to this abstract world of creativity. In every step of the creative process Jay’s involvement makes the way clearer. Jay Johnson is a window allowing others to see their own imagination through his.
Jay’s strength is the way he understands how reverie and creativity apply to the world of business. With a college degree in Marketing, Jay understands all aspects of business and business theater. Whether he is part of a business session or the entertainment at an evening function; he always knows his audience. He has an uncanny way of relating to them. As one audience member put it, “Jay seemed to know exactly what our company was going through and had some very funny and appropriate comments.”
“My job,” Jay states, “is tour guide for a journey into the imagination. After the tour is over maybe a few will return on their own.” Where’s Bob? Don’t ask. Let Jay take you there. You won’t forget the trip.