You Can Call Me Ray, Or You Can Call Me J…

Your first thought when you see “Ray J. Johnson” is probably Krusty the Klown from the “Gabbo!” episode of The Simpsons talking about the the worst episodes they’d ever done was the one with Ray J. Johnson. “You can call me Ray, and you can call me J,” Krusty recites in a saracstic sing-songy voice. “That was funny for about two seconds.

But who exactly was Ray J. Johnson? It was a character, almost vaudevillian in its simplicity and corniness, portrayed by comedian Bill Saluga. The shtick was pretty simple. Ray J. Johnson hated to be called “Mr. Johnson” and would go on a comical rant whenever that would happen (and it would happen often, because that was the deal).

It went something like this: “Now you can call me Ray, or you can call me J, or you can call me Johnny, or you call me Ray J, or RJ, or RJJ, or RJJ Jr., but you don’t hasta call me Mr. Johnson!”

Saluga as Ray J. Johnson – kind of a less clever take on the living alter ego concept perpetuated by Paul Reubens/Pee-Wee Herman and Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton – appeared on a bunch of sitcoms and talk shows, but was most famously in a series of ads for Natural Light Beer.

Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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