Ray William Johnson

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Ray William Johnson
Born (1981-08-14) August 14, 1981 (age 33)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Other names RWJ
Occupation Video blogger, producer, actor
Years active 2007–present
Website
www.raywj.com

Ray William Johnson (born August 14, 1981) is an American video blogger, producer, and actor best known for his YouTube series Equals Three, in which he provided commentary on viral videos.[1][2] Many of the videos featured on Equals Three are noted to have received an additional boost of popularity.[3][4][5][6][7] In February 2011, one industry publication noted that Johnson had six of the top 20 most watched videos of the month.[8] In early September 2012, Johnson had accumulated nearly two billion video views.[9] As of December 2013, his YouTube channel had more than 10.6 million subscribers, and more than two billion video views.[10] On March 9, he announced that the last episode of Equals Three as himself the host would air on March 12, 2014. The show later returned on July 16th, 2014 hosted by Robby Motz.

Early life

Johnson was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[11][12][13] He graduated from Norman North High School in 1999.[13] In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Johnson says he studied at Columbia University as a history major,[13] while his profile adds he was preparing to study law.[11]

Career

While at Columbia, Johnson started his formatted show, Equals Three, as a way to combine two popular video styles: watching viral videos and video bloggers.[1] In Equals Three, Johnson reviewed, criticized, and added commentary to some of the internet's latest viral videos.[2] Equals Three episodes are usually uploaded to his channel every Tuesday. Equals Three is on one of the most subscribed channels on YouTube, having more than 10.6 million subscribers in December 2013, and has been recognized by Guinness World Records.[1][14][15] Episodes can consistently obtain several million views within a week. Johnson has obtained celebrity guests on Equals Three, including Robin Williams,[16] Sarah Silverman,[17] Gabriel Iglesias,[18] Kal Penn,[19] Margaret Cho,[20] Bobby Lee,[21] T.J. Miller,[22] Garfunkel and Oates,[23] John Cho,[19] Jason Biggs,[24] Andy Milonakis,[25] Timothy De La Ghetto,[26] RZA,[27] and KassemG.[28]

In January 2011, Johnson launched a collaborative YouTube channel called "YourFavoriteMartian" (YFM), which features animated music videos.[29] The songs are performed by a virtual band of four fictional cartoon characters: PuffPuff Humbert (vocals, voiced by Johnson), DeeJay (turntables), Axel Chains (drums), and Benatar (vocals, guitar/keytar/bass/piano, voiced by Jesse Cale).[30] Johnson writes lyrics, raps, sings, composes beats, and sometimes collaborates with other musicians to produce the songs.

YFM has released 31 original songs, 2 remixes of original songs, 1 remix of another artist's song, 1 mashup, and 8 covers through the channel. In August 2013 the channel had over 2.2 million subscribers.[31][32] In November 2012, Johnson announced that the YFM project "has been retired".[33]

In October 2012, Johnson moved Equals Three away from Maker Studios, a multi channel YouTube network he had hired to help produce the show. He had announced his departure in an episode of Equals Three.[34] Johnson has stated that he left Maker Studios due to the pressure the company put on him into signing a new contract. Johnson released images of the contract, which showed Maker Studios wanted a 40% share of his online channel's AdSense revenue, and 50% of the intellectual property rights of his show Equals Three. He stated that they were using "thuggish tactics" to pressure him into signing the contract, one of which was allegedly leveraging his AdSense account for the intellectual property rights to YourFavoriteMartian. Johnson also claimed that Maker Studios CEO, Danny Zappin, is a convicted felon, a charge which Zappin later publicly admitted to.[35][36][37][38][39]

In May 2013, Johnson announced he signed a deal to produce a sitcom for the American television network FX.[40][41]

On December 12, 2013, Johnson released a 5-part web series titled Riley Rewind, which he directed and starred in. It is the story of a high school student who has the ability to rewind time. After the suicide of another student at her school, she attempts to change time and save her life.[42]

Projects

Equals Three (2008–2014, 2014-present)

Equals Three
Equals Three title.png
Title card used since 2013
Genre Comedy
Created by Ray William Johnson
Presented by Ray William Johnson (2008-2014)
Robby Motz (2014-present)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Spanish (Igual a Tres; 2011-2012)
Broadcast
Original channel RayWilliamJohnson
Original run 2008 (2008) – present
Chronology
Related shows Breaking
Your Favorite Martian (2011-2012)
Igual a Tres (2011-2012)
YFMTS (2011-2012)
External links
Website
Title card used from 2008-2012

In Equals Three (stylized as "=3"), Ray William Johnson reviews, criticizes, and adds commentary to some of the internet's latest viral videos.[2] Equals Three episodes are usually uploaded to his channel every Tuesday. Equals Three is on one of the most subscribed channels on YouTube, having over 8 million subscribers in April 2013, and has been recognized by Guinness World Records.[1][43][44] Because of his popularity, Equals Three episodes can consistently obtain several million views within a week. Johnson has been able to leverage his popularity to secure several celebrity guests on Equals Three, including Robin Williams,[16] Gabriel Iglesias,[18] Kal Penn,[19] Margaret Cho,[20] Bobby Lee,[45] T.J. Miller,[22] Garfunkel and Oates,[23] John Cho,[19] Jason Biggs,[46] Andy Milonakis,[47] Timothy De La Ghetto,[48] RZA,[27] and KassemG.[49]

On December 30, 2013, Johnson announced that he would be retiring Equals Three in 2014.[50][51] On March 12, however, in the last episode of the series hosted by him, Johnson announced that he would be taking one to two months to instead find a new host to replace himself and continue the show's legacy. He stated that this decision was due to the support of the show by fans. After several months of auditions, Ray announced Robby Motz as the new host and the shows continuation starting from July 16th, 2014 .

Maker Studios controversy

In October 2012, Johnson moved Equals Three away from Maker Studios. He had announced his departure in an episode of Equals Three.[52] This started a controversy with Maker. Johnson has stated that he left Maker Studios due to the pressure the company put on him into signing a contract which gives Maker a 40% share of his channel's AdSense revenue, and 50% of his show's intellectual property rights. He stated that they were using "thuggish tactics" to pressure him into signing the contract, one of which was allegedly leveraging his AdSense account for the intellectual property rights to YourFavoriteMartian. Johnson also claimed that Maker Studios CEO, Danny Zappin, is a convicted felon, a charge which Zappin later publicly admitted to.[53][54][55][56][57]

Your Favorite Martian (2011–2012)

"Your Favorite Martian" redirects here. For the American sitcom, see My Favorite Martian.

In January 2011, Johnson launched a collaborative YouTube channel called "YourFavoriteMartian" (YFM), which features animated music videos.[29] The songs are performed by a virtual band of four fictional cartoon characters: PuffPuff Humbert (vocals, voiced by Johnson), DeeJay (turntables), Axel Chains (drums), and Benatar (vocals, guitar/keytar/bass/piano, voiced by Jesse Cale).[58] Johnson writes lyrics, raps, sings, composes beats, and sometimes collaborates with other musicians to produce the songs.

YFM has released 31 original songs, 2 remixes of original songs, 1 remix of another artist's song, 1 mashup, and 8 covers through the channel. As of March 2013, the channel has over 2.0 million subscribers, and over 482 million video views.[59][32] In November 2012, Ray announced that the YFM project "has been retired".[60]

Breaking (2009–2012)

BreakingNYC is a former daily video blog or vlog that Johnson started in December 2009 while living in New York City.[61] He made the vlogs almost daily until June 2010. After nearly a year-long hiatus, Johnson resumed contributing to the video blog channel, creating a new higher quality series with a similar format. The new series titled, Breaking Los Angeles and the Adventures of Puff Puff, was released every Friday and is filmed in Los Angeles. Johnson often featured notable guests in his new series, including rappers Wax, Hoodie Allen and Dumbfoundead, slam poet George Watsky, comedian Gabriel Iglesias, and actor/director Bobcat Goldthwait. After Johnson took a three-month hiatus from making videos for the channel, a third season of Breaking Los Angeles (retitled to Breaking: Season 3), posted from December 14, 2011, to March 1, 2012.

Runaway Thoughts (2013–2014)

Runaway Thoughts was a podcast hosted by Johnson and his then-girlfriend, Anna Akana. They also had guest stars, such as Harley Morenstein, Natasha Leggero, Carlos Santos, Big Rob, and more. The original intention of the podcast was supposed to be the continuation of the RayWilliamJohnson YouTube Channel, as Equals Three was ending. However, in May 2014, due to Ray and Anna's breakup, the podcast discontinued and Ray began his focus on the Equals Three reboot in order to keep his channel going.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Humphrey, Michael (June 28, 2011). Ray William Johnson: =3 Adds Up To Most-Subscribed On YouTube, Forbes
  2. ^ a b c Gasch, David (February 7, 2011). Pop!shots: ‘Equals Three’ goes viral, Boise State Arbiter
  3. ^ (March 4, 2011). Lo más visto del mes en YouTube Argentina, Canal-AR (in Spanish, Argentine technology publication)
  4. ^ Vnouček, Petr (March 5, 2001).Nejlepší videa: Bowling s kočkou a polský Pat a Mat, Týden (in Czech)
  5. ^ Hathaway, Jay (March 2, 2011). Co Za Asy – What Is It, and Why Is Everyone Posting It in YouTube, Urlesque (AOL) ("Superstar YouTuber Ray William Johnson")
  6. ^ (December 12, 2010). Reinangrep på NRK-reporter sees av millioner på YouTube-kanal, NRK (in Norwegian) (noting rise in popularity of video about a reindeer attack due to Johnson's coverage; notes that Johnson is one of YouTube's biggest celebrities, "en av YouTubes aller største kjendiser," with more than two million subscribers, with the largest comedy channel on YouTube with more than 373 million views)
  7. ^ (May 22, 2010). Türkiye'den YouTube'tan en popüler kişi kim?, Beyaz Gazette (in Turkish)
  8. ^ Balleck, Matt (February 14, 2011). Three Ways Brands Can Act More Like Partners On YouTube, MediaPost Publications
  9. ^ Kiran Karnik (September 4, 2012). "Given the double-edged sword social media has become, self-regulation by platforms is the best option". The Economic Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Ray William Johnson". YouTube. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "RayWilliamJohnson's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ Ray William Johnson (August 14, 2012). "Birthday Episode". YouTube. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Glazer, Emily (February 2, 2012). "Who Is RayWJ? YouTube's Top Star". My Fox Phoenix. Wall Street Journal. 
  14. ^ "Comedian Ray William Johnson sets new record for YouTube subscribers". Guinness World Records. Retrieved October 6, 2012. [dead link]
  15. ^ Marc Hustvedt (June 28, 2011). "Ray William Johnson Now #1 Most Subscribed on YouTube". Tubefilter. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Ray William Johnson (November 8, 2011). "SHORT HAIRY GUYS - Ray William Johnson video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ Ray William Johnson (March 26, 2013). "The Meaning of Life - Ray William Johnson Video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Ray William Johnson (November 22, 2011). "SURPRISE? - Ray William Johnson Video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d Ray William Johnson (November 3, 2011). "CHICKEN LADY - Ray William Johnson video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Goosing (Nov. 18, 2011)
  21. ^ World's Biggest Condom (March 16, 2012)
  22. ^ a b Chicken Lady (Jan. 20, 2012)
  23. ^ a b Zebra Hickey (Jan. 17, 2012)
  24. ^ You're So Metal (Apr. 6, 2012)
  25. ^ Drunk Chick Proof (May 18, 2012)
  26. ^ Timothy Chantarangsu (May 22, 2012). "HOOTER HULA HOOPS - Timothy DeLaGhetto Video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (September 28, 2012). "UNCLE WANG - RZA". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  28. ^ Kassem Gharaibeh (January 13, 2012). "HOLE PEOPLE - Kassem G video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Bradshaw (January 24, 2011). Ray William Johnson's New Project "Yourfavoritemartian" Finally Rolls Out January 26, 2011, www.zimbio.com
  30. ^ SINGER= "PuffPuff Humbert , DJ= TJ the DeeJay , KEYTARIST= Benatar , DRUMMER= Axel Chains", Twitter, Retrieved June 22, 2011
  31. ^ "YourFavoriteMartian's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b YouTube spotlight: "The Stereotypes Song". The Independent. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
  33. ^ YFM Channel, Retrieved November 24, 2011
  34. ^ Ray William Johnson (October 16, 2012). "http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Rur_5gFq3bg". Equals Three. YouTube. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  35. ^ Ray William Johnson (December 11, 2012). "RAY WILLIAM JOHNSON: Why I Left Maker Studios [EXCLUSIVE]". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  36. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 11, 2012). "BREAKING: Maker Studios CEO Sends Company-Wide Letter Addressing Ray William Johnson Allegations". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  37. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 11, 2012). "Maker and Ray William Johnson Still Feuding As Backstory Is Revealed". TubeFilter. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  38. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 12, 2012). "Maker Studios CEO Sends Letter to Employees, Addresses Past and Ray William Johnson". TubeFilter. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  39. ^ Maker Studios PR (January 10, 2013). "YouTube Stars Fight Back". LA Weekly. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  40. ^ Glodberg, Lesley (May 17, 2013). YouTube Breakout Ray William Johnson Sells Comedy to FX
  41. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (May 17, 2013).Comic nabs script deal at FX
  42. ^ Riley Rewind on IMDB
  43. ^ "Comedian Ray William Johnson sets new record for YouTube subscribers". Guinness World Records. Retrieved October 6, 2012. [dead link]
  44. ^ Marc Hustvedt (June 28, 2011). "Ray William Johnson Now #1 Most Subscribed on YouTube". Tubefilter. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  45. ^ World's Biggest Condom (March 16, 2012)
  46. ^ You're So Metal (Apr. 6, 2012)
  47. ^ Drunk Chick Proof (May 18, 2012)
  48. ^ Timothy Chantarangsu (May 22, 2012). "HOOTER HULA HOOPS - Timothy DeLaGhetto Video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  49. ^ Kassem Gharaibeh (January 13, 2012). "HOLE PEOPLE - Kassem G video". YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  50. ^ Ray William Johnson (December 30, 2013). "Ray William Johnson announces Equals Three retirement". Twitter. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  51. ^ Gutelle, Sam (December 30, 2013). "Ray William Johnson To End ‘=3′ Sometime In 2014". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  52. ^ Ray William Johnson (October 16, 2012). "http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Rur_5gFq3bg". Equals Three. YouTube. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  53. ^ Ray William Johnson (December 11, 2012). "RAY WILLIAM JOHNSON: Why I Left Maker Studios [EXCLUSIVE]". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  54. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 11, 2012). "BREAKING: Maker Studios CEO Sends Company-Wide Letter Addressing Ray William Johnson Allegations". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  55. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 11, 2012). "Maker and Ray William Johnson Still Feuding As Backstory Is Revealed". TubeFilter. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  56. ^ Maker Studios PR (December 12, 2012). "Maker Studios CEO Sends Letter to Employees, Addresses Past and Ray William Johnson". TubeFilter. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  57. ^ Maker Studios PR (January 10, 2013). "YouTube Stars Fight Back". LA Weekly. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  58. ^ SINGER= "PuffPuff Humbert , DJ= TJ the DeeJay , KEYTARIST= Benatar , DRUMMER= Axel Chains", Twitter, Retrieved June 22, 2011
  59. ^ "YourFavoriteMartian's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  60. ^ YFM Channel, Retrieved November 24, 2011
  61. ^ http://www.youtube.com/user/BreakingNYC/videos?flow=grid&sort=da&view=0