Jay Johnson: The Two and Only

Today is the birthday of ventriloquist Jay Johnson , best known for his role on the ABC sitcom Soap. I had the honor of meeting him a couple of times in 2006, interviewing him for a Time Out New York piece, and then meeting him again at a benefit for the Theatre Museum. (This was when he was in heavy plugging mode for his Broadway show The Two and Only. That cool show is available to watch right now on BroadwayHD). Johnson’s just like you think he might be: mild-mannered, a little shy, funny, and very philosophical on the subject of ventriloquism. A Texas native, he started performing as a child, becoming professional in his teenager years, performing at amusement parks and even fronting his own local tv show. He moved to LA in the mid 70s and almost immediately got the role on Soap (1977-1981) and it’s been fueling his career ever since. In addition to his aforementioned Broadway show, he performs at clubs and resorts all over the country and does occasional television guest spots. But the one I really want to see? Broken Badges, the short lived tv series (1990) on which he was a regular, concerning a squadron of police officers with mental problems. Jay played the ventriloquist.

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