Ralphie May – Too Big to Ignore

| May 1, 2012

When one looks at Ralphie May, they may come to believe that telling jokes is just something he does to rest between the grueling exercise of walking on and off stage.  I feel fairly comfortable making that joke, because I’m sure the plus sized comedian would be the first to drop a similar sentiment into his act, though May’s version would probably be a bit more vulgar and of course work to make the audience at least a little embarrassed to laugh at it.  Such is the comedy style of Ralphie May – crude, obscene, controversial, self-deprecating, everyone-else-deprecating, and surprisingly relevant to the social climate.  Fans of May’s in-your-face comedy will very much enjoy this new special arriving soon on DVD.

Personally, I’ve seen other specials with Ralphie May, and I always enjoyed him, but wouldn’t list him as one of my favorite all-time comedians.  That being said, this special is by far his strongest.  It’s hilarious.  May’s material goes well beyond fat jokes (the staple of any over-weight comedian) to comment on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of Osama Bin Laden, racial tensions and equal rights for homosexuals.  By the way, the segue from talking about Bin Laden to gay rights is one of the best moments I’ve ever seen in a stand-up special.  It’s not particularly funny, but certainly makes his audience think.

Specific highlights of the DVD include May’s proposal to create a line of cookies that are all named after different racial slurs; the idea being to take away any power these words once had to hurt or belittle anyone.  He points out how benign it would be to call a black man a “Chips Ahoy” today.

Also, it has to be said that this special is much longer than the typical stand-up DVD.  Most of the time, a comedian records an hour of material, but May’s special runs for nearly 2 hours, and even more impressive: there isn’t a weak moment in there.  Every joke and routine in the special is worked and refined to be as good as it could possibly be.

The one special feature on the DVD is a behind the scenes featurette, which shows us the real Ralphie May.  When seeing him perform, it’s easy to believe that this crass, angry, loud man is simply what Ralphie May is like all the time, but after seeing him be very humble in this interview, and courteous to his fans waiting outside the theater, and a total professional leading up to this performance, one quickly sees that there is a big difference between Ralphie May and the character he plays on TV.

Available on DVD from Image Entertainment on May 1.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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