There are commercials you can’t get out of your head, and then there’s Ray J. Johnson, who took earworms to a whole new level with his “You can call me Ray, you can call me Jay, but ya doesn’t has to call me Johnson” schtick. The comedian –- real name: Bill Saluga -- elbowed his way into the pop culture consciousness in Anheuser Busch Natural Light commercials of the late ‘70s, with Norm Crosby. Woe to you if your name was Ray, Jay or Johnson -- you got an earful of catchphrase every time you introduced yourself.
Over the years, Ray J. has popped up as a frequent punchline on “The Simpsons,” and no barb was more perfectly served up than when Krusty the Clown mentioned that the only bad show he put on was the one Ray J. co-hosted. “That thing was funny for about three seconds,” Krusty said. Amen, clown. Amen. Still, Saluga rode the Ray J. wave for years – even putting out a disco song (“Dancin’ Johnson”) in 1979.