“I’m glad I lost the contest very publicly and very shockingly to the public, because of that it’s helped my career out so much more than if I won,” said May, calling from Los Angeles. “It was great. That’s the day I learned that comedy isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
That marathon started more than two decades ago when the Arkansas native won a contest to open for his idol, Sam Kinison. He spent the next decade honing his material before finally receiving national attention on “Last Comic Standing.” From there, May became a household name performing on “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” **Want to win tickets to the Ralphie May show? Text FUN to 41948 for your chance to win!** Despite all of his success, May admits he’s still not viewed in comedy circles as a heavy hitter, even though his record-setting fourth one-hour special for Comedy Central “Too Big To Ignore” was released last month and is already platinum.
“I didn’t get into it for critical acclaim,” May said. “What’s so strange is there are guys who sell less than me. And we’ll do the same topic and their bit is two minutes long and mine is seven. I cover every angle. I did it first and their bit bites on mine and they get the acclaim for it because they’re a hip guy from New York City or something like that.
“I don’t get the respect because I’m fat. And even though I don’t mention that I’m fat in the joke, I don’t get the credit. But you know, whatever man. I’ve been shortchanged and overlooked my whole life. And if you boo hoo about everything, that’s all you’re going to do your whole life is boo hoo.”
Invariably, May is laughing his way to the bank having sold more than 1.6 million tickets over the last four years. Now the funnyman returns to the area for a July 25 show at the Sandusky State Theatre.
It turns out America loves his material, which he promises will be politically incorrect, racially insensitive and culturally controversial.
Part of May’s appeal stems from the fact he’s one of the hardest working comedians touring, regularly turning in two-hour sets when he’s only contracted for 45 minutes on stage. He believes it’s his honesty – often painting him as the fool – that keeps audiences coming back.
“None of my stories make me look good,” May said. “I wish I had Mr. [Bill] Cosby’s stories as a parent. I just don’t. I have stories about just really they should call CPS [Children’s Protective Services] on me sometimes. Now that I don’t smoke weed anymore, it’s not as bad. But it’s still not all that great. None of my stories are printable.”
He added, “OK, I’m making my own religion. People say you can’t make your own religion. And I say, ‘Oh yeah, L. Ron Hubbard did and he was a crappy sci-fi writer.’”
Comedian Ralphie May is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. July 25 at the Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Tickets are $34 to $54. Call 419-626-1950 or 877-626-1950, or visit sanduskystate.com. May will donate to the Huron County Humane Society ONLY when a ticket buyer mentions Huron County Humane Society at the time of purchase.