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Robby Motz talks about trying to fill Ray William Johnson’s =3 shoes

Many fans doubted that anyone on YouTube could fill RWJ's shoes. Turns out, they were right—no one already on the platform could.


Carly Lanning


Posted on Jul 22, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 10:18 pm CDT

When Ray William Johnson announced in March that he would be leaving his popular show, =3 (“Equals Three“), many fans doubted that anyone on YouTube could fill his shoes. Turns out, they were right—no one already on the platform could.

Enter Robby Motz, the new face of =3.

With 10.6 million subscribers, Johnson made a name for himself on YouTube through his biweekly show that featured the craziest and best viral videos of the week. But when Motz first auditioned against a thousand others for the hosting gig, the 20-year-old admits that he wasn’t an active follower of the show and was unaware of its magnitude on the platform. With no prior YouTube experience, Motz made his big debut last week and was met with overwhelming delight and support from fans, including Miss YouTube herself, Jenna Marbles.

“We were editing the show today, and it looks better than I blew it up in my head, of course,” laughs Robby about his first-day jitters. “I think yesterday my nerves were at their highest because I wanted to do a really good job on the show.”

A Burbank, Calif., native, Motz was previous attending college in Pennsylvania when he got the call that he would be the new face of one of YouTube’s most popular shows. In a matter of weeks, Motz was on a plane and sitting down with Johnson to talk viral videos, preparing for the Internet hype, and becoming a host.

“Ray’s a very, very smart guy,” Motz says of his executive producer. “He knows down to a science how to make the show, and he’s one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet. I would say that’s his biggest policy whenever—he’s not about bullshit at all. He will give it to you straight.”

With Motz in front of the camera, Johnson can now be found behind the scenes directing, writing, and executive producing along with Kaja Martin. But with each passing video, fans have to wonder, will =3 stay the same?

“I’m not Ray,” Motz says simply. “He’s done this for five years; I haven’t done it at all. Once it gets going, I’m sure I’ll have a different voice than he does, but it will still be fun and entertaining! The clips are going to be great as usual, [and] the jokes are great! He’s still writing the show and directing it, so it still has essentially the same feel.”

=3 airs twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays on Johnson’s original channel. But the big question is, will you be tuning in?

Screengrab via Ray William Johnson/YouTube

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*First Published: Jul 22, 2014, 8:00 am CDT