The group was formed in the 1970s; their name comes from another a friend of theirs, journalist and writer Eddie López, who died from cancer. He attributed his quirky personality to "the effect of the gamma rays" he was being treated with (he may have been referencing the title of the novel The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marygolds too.) After his death, his friends decided to stay together and continue his work.
Their level of activity has varied over the years; at one point they had their own, weekly TV show, but recently they have limited themselves to yearly theater performances. Still, they remain beloved by the public, to the point that even some of the politicians they have mocked have guest-starred in their shows!
While the group's membership has varied over the years, the best known members include:
- Jacobo Morales: The oldest member of the group (a fact which even he makes fun of) Morales is also a well-known writer, actor, and movie director.
- Silverio Perez: Perez is a successful writer of self-help books, TV show host, and even *gasp!* ran for office himself once! The Nerd of the group, complete with glasses.
- "Sunshine" Logrono: as the hippie-sounding name indicates, Logrono is the least serious of the group, and more given to using street-wise humor, which he termed "cafreria". He left the group years ago to star in his own TV comedy show. He helped bring in more modern stand-up comedy styles to Puerto Rican television (he used to live in the United States) and was successful enough to be a TV producer these days. He's never forgotten his lower-class roots, however, and occasionally rejoins the Rayos for special performances.
- Horacio Olivo: The shortest member of the group which yes, they also make fun of. Often the Straight Man for the jokes. Olivo has been ill in recent years, which is one reason the Rayos perform less often.
Their performances usually contain:
- Stand-Up Comedy: Usually by way of two or more people casually commenting on how much things suck these days.
- Musical numbers: Surprisingly, all the Rayos are pretty good singers as well. Their songs are all parodies, of course.
- Sketch Comedy: Often featuring other celebrities as guest stars.
- Cool Old Guy: Jacobo
- Distaff Counterpart: A group called Las Centellas ("The Sparks" — it's a reference to Rayos y Centellas ["bolts and sparks!"], a mild swear) composed of local female celebrities occasionally forms to join the Rayos onstage.
- Meaningful Name: The group's.
- Nerd Glasses: Silverio.
- Satire: Of everything, but mostly Puerto Rican politics.
- Self-Deprecation: all of them.
- Shorter Means Smarter: Horacio