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About Bob & Ray

"Bob & Ray invented, dreamed up the lines for, and then played, mainly on radio and television, a surrealistic Dickensian repertory company, which chastens the fools of the world with hyperbole, slapstick, parody, verbal nonsense, non sequitur, and sheer wit, all of it clean, subtle and gentle... Bob & Ray's humor turns on their faultless timing and on their infinite sense of the ridiculous. It is also framed by that special sly, dry, wasteless vision of life perfected during the last couple of centuries by middle-class New Englanders..."

-- Whitney Balliett, writing in The New Yorker

Bob [Elliott] & Ray [Goulding], legendary American humorists, were loved by fans and by fellow humorists, comedians and broadcasters. Every humorist and comedian and humorist from 1946 to the present was influenced by Bob & Ray including Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, George Carlin, Al Franken, Garrison Keillor and Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote:

"Their jokes turn out to be universal…because much of life presents itself as the same dilemma: how to seem lusty and purposeful when less than nothing is going on."

Bob & Ray's 40-year career began at WHDH, Boston. Bob was a disc jockey, and Ray a newscaster. When the Red Sox games were delayed on account of rain, they began to amuse each other to fill the time. Soon they had a daily show of their own, "Matinee with Bob & Ray," an improvised, madcap exercise in controlled chaos. Over their long career, they created more than a hundred characters, all played by Bob or Ray. Wally Ballou, the hapless journalist, Mary McGoon, whose recipe for frozen ginger ale salad prefigures Martha Stewart; Biff Burns in the sports room, Webley Webster, Barry Campbell, a third rate actor with an ego the size of the universe, Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife whose pals travel the world in search of goofy adventure.

Their humor is subtle, dry, intelligent and clean. Bob & Ray have a keen ear for language, how it is used and misused by the con artists, hucksters and hustlers who populate radio and television. Their humor is timeless. Bob & Ray ‘s satire of soap operas, game shows, radio shrinks and other self-appointed "experts," and commercials, is as pertinent today as it was in 1946. They belong in the pantheon of American humor, alongside Mark Twain, George Ade, Will Rogers, and S. J. Pearlman.

In 1951 NBC brought them to New York for a daily 15-minute television program, and numerous radio shows. Over the next thirty years they appeared on every major network, and on three powerful New York stations. They finished their radio career on public radio with the "The Bob & Ray Public Radio Show” (1982-2004), and a farewell appearance at Carnegie Hall (1984). All of these performances have been preserved on CDs from BobandRay.com™.

Want to read LOTS more about Bob & Ray?

On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio
by John Dunning
Raised on Radio
by Gerald Nachman

Click HERE to read what your favorite comedians have to say about Bob & Ray.
Click HERE to learn about the BOBANDRAY.COM mission, archive and staff.

Bob & Ray Links On The Web:

Wikipedia's entry for Bob & Ray
Radio Hall of Fame
Page last updated: August 22, 2012 6 PM