The Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor will be hosting stand-up comic Ralphie May on June 3. Perhaps best known for his appearance on Last Comic Standing (where he placed second), May has been busy performing, filming stand-up specials and co-hosting a podcast with his wife, Lahna Turner. I was happy to sit down with the ridiculously funny comic and chat about his career, his life and his upcoming appearance at Bay Street Theatre.
“I’ve been doing this now for 24 years. At some time, I should started influencing others,” May said, laughing a bit at my question regarding who influenced him, in addition to Sam Kinison. “I don’t know, brother, that’s a very good question. I’m an amalgamation, I’m just me.”
May appeared alongside fellow comics Jay Phillips, Vince Morris and host Mo’nique on The Big Black Comedy Show. “That was funny. I thought it was funny that I was the only white one in the group. The title has ‘big’ before ‘black’ so, based on that, there should’ve been at least another fat guy on the show,” May said. “But hey, you can’t have everything in life.”
I was curious to learn a bit more about May’s experience on Last Comic Standing. “It was phenomenal. Totally changed my life. I went from being in the business 14 years to being a success, you know? It was crazy,” May said. “I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to ride the wave ever since. A lot of people didn’t. I can’t say enough good things about life.
“I talk to Rich Vos a lot still,” May said, referring to his fellow Last Comic Standing alum. Vos, a New Jersey native, continues to perform, as well. “Dave Mordal is another guy I keep in touch with from the show. He’s on the radio in Minneapolis.”
So often you hear about stand-up comics forging lifelong friendships, either from time spent on the road, touring the country or from night after night in the clubs, honing their craft. I was curious to know if there’s a sense of competition between comics. “No, no, the smart ones realize that they need to focus on their own material and not worry about what everyone else is doing,” May said. “If you worry about what everyone else is doing, you’re not doing what you need to be doing, you know? You’re not progressing yourself if you’re wasting all your time and energy looking at someone else.
“There are some comics that are a rare breed. We’re up for anything. We weren’t cut from silk, we’re cut from potato sacks,” May said, adding “we’re a mess. That type of background bonds you with one another, we’re the fastest guys in the room. It’s a fun conversation. We get each other. We don’t judge. It’s a weird, weird thing.”
Stand-up comics and podcasting go hand-in-hand. May and his wife host one, The Perfect 10. “Honestly, I do it because my wife makes it amazingly easy to do it. My wife is hilarious, and she had a concept for the show that rocks. It’s got music, comedy, a lot of stuff,” May said.
I asked if it was difficult hosting a podcast with his wife, whether or not they agree or argue over material or anything like that. “My wife is a great woman. I’m a piece of sh*t,” May said, cracking me up.” I am. She’s kind to animals, recycles, works out, walks the kids a mile to school and back every day, weighs about 115 pounds, smokin’ hot. She’s awesome. I love to litter, I smoke weed and watch the kids. We’re a good mix.”
May mentioned how he had performed in Sag Harbor once before, with the money benefiting the North Shore Animal League. “I did the theater there and donated the money.
“The North Shore Animal League, when Nashville had a flood, took care of dogs and cats from the Nashville area. People in Tennessee, we pay our bills, so we weren’t going to let them bear the burden of our animals. That’s what I did, I helped pay it forward a bit. Keep the money in the community. I’m trying to live up to my wife’s expectations every day.”
Ralphie May is at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, June 3 at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 631-725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.