American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2010 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.† Page 7

Jay Johnson

Johnson and his wooden sidekick, Bob, became the most famous ventriloquist pair in show business during his stint on the ground-breaking TV show, Soap. His television appearances go well beyond his four years with Soap. He has appeared on most of the talk shows of the past two decades, hosted three comedy specials, produced and performed in two network specials and two HBO specials.

Jay began his career as a teenager growing up in Dallas, where he and Bob made television commercials for local businesses. He continued with ventriloquism and comedy through college, where he earned a degree in marketing. As a result of both his gift as an entertainer and his background in business, Jay Johnson is in demand for corporate functions.

In the late 1990ís, an agent approached Johnson with an offer to work on a cruise ship. With the influx of mega ships, cruise lines, however, the professional standards and the pay attracted top flight performers. Performing on cruise ships give Jay the opportunity to enjoy the company of fellow professionals, and he muses that it must be similar to the camaraderie that old-time vaudevillians enjoyed.

Jay Johnson recently began to perform in a new venue, the legitimate theater. He has written and performed a one man show called The One and Only, a carefully crafted deconstruction of ventriloquism that examines its history. It opened on May 13, 2004 for a limited run at the Atlantic Theater Company, an Off-Broadway house in New York.