He Said What?

Elephants in the room, beware!

A comedian named Ralphie May is coming to Spokane, and unless you follow Comedy Central on a regular basis, an introduction is probably in order.

By Hollywood standards, May is kind of a big deal — not a “Dane Cook” big deal, but he did come in second on Season One of Last Comic Standing. And these days, “runner-up” is way more rogue — and usually garners juicier post-show publicity — than first place. Just ask Carrie Prejean or Adam Lambert.

That was all back in 2003. May’s been a busy guy since then, racking up three of his own Comedy Central specials, including Girth of a Nation in 2006, Prime Cut in 2007 and Austin-Tatious in 2008.

Like many of his comedic peers, May is funny, fat and Caucasian, so be careful not to confuse him with Jonah Hill (Superbad star; makes a lot of penis jokes), Larry the Cable guy (“Git’er done!”) or the late Chris Farley (“Well, lah-dee-frickin’ dah”).

May is verbal faucet of unabashed racial profiling.

A major part of his material deconstructs and scoffs at society’s insistence on being politically correct. Hence his assertion that Mexicans love Chiclets and are great at fixing cars.

But he gets away with it, partly because he validates stereotypes as things to be celebrated and enjoyed instead of glossed over with a cookie-cutter approach.

May’s specialty is ’hood Ebonics (“I live in a dangerous part of Las Angeles — called Los Angeles,” he says in one of his sketches) but the kicker is that he’s from Houston, Texas — so his accent is a Southern/ghetto hybrid of sorts.

May fearlessly assumes his street cred, spewing stereotypes across the board — no one is safe — and bulldozing social, cultural and ethnic barriers like he’s doing society a favor by relieving its constipated propriety.

“A lot of white folks from the South have flavor,” he reasons. “They just suppress it sometimes, with country music.”

The ability to be funny without the obscene stuff, however, is the best testament of May’s talent, like his rant about Denver International Airport being too huge.

“You need some cross-trainers in the Denver airport,” he says. “But I’m fat. I wore slippers so I wouldn’t have to bend over at security. Bend? or blister? … I’ll take the blister.”

May’s goofy affinity for cataloguing and re-living his favorite accounts of spotting strangers with mullets (“mulletcollecting,” as he refers to it) is true personality at its best, as is his three-minute charade synopsis of the movie Open Water.

You don’t have to possess a potty mouth to be entertaining.

Ralphie May gets “Austin-tatious” at the Bing on Sunday, May 16, at 7:30 pm. Tickets $30. Visit ticketswest.com or call (800) 325-SEAT.

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About The Author

Blair Tellers

Blair Tellers is a freelance writer and a former Inlander intern.