Controversy amuses students

By Lisa Henderson

Stand-up comedian Ralphie May dazzled a huge crowd of Rider students with a hilarious performance on Monday. Winter snowstorms had postponed the original show date, but the rescheduled date drew about 700 students to the Cavalla Room.

It was made obvious that May is very confident and comfortable with his size. As he took the stage, he immediately commented on the size of the Rider sweatshirt that had been provided for him, joking that “Ohio State had given me one the size of a tube top.” He then proceeded to warn the audience with a disclaimer, stating that he was politically incorrect, controversial and offensive — but obviously all in good fun.

May made his televised stage debut in 2003 when he was chosen to perform on the premiere season of “Last Comic Standing,” a reality television show competition that awards a talented comedian a contract with NBC. Although he didn’t come in first place, he still received much recognition and developed a considerable fan base.

May also is a Comedy Central regular. He has starred in three of the network’s specials, the most recent being “Austin-tatious” that premiered in 2008. May has also released a comedy album entitled Just Correct and has starred in numerous comedy films.

May’s style is definitely controversial, as he repeatedly put it. Racial stereotypes and social class compose the butts of all his jokes. Freshman Frankie Fasola said he thought it was “really funny that he doesn’t care about people’s feelings when it comes to his jokes. It made the show even better.”

It seemed that students really appreciated the maturity and importance of the topics that May discussed.

“I thought it was interesting,” said senior Tom Wospil. “He got political, which was surprising.”

Junior Lisa Carrasquillo made it clear that other students felt the same way about May’s performance.

“I thought he was really funny and that his jokes were really original. I like how he made it known that he’s an ass, but didn’t want to offend anybody with his jokes and would sort of prepare the crowd for them,” she said. “He talked about everything — politics, racism, sexuality, and how corrupt the world really is.”

However, not all students found his openness as humorous.

“I found him to be very racially offensive and disrespectful and it wasn’t funny, it was insulting,” said freshman Lara Mendoza.

Overall, the show was a hit. It was the largest audience that the Student Entertainment Council ever had for a comedy performance, according to Coordinator of Campus Activities Nick Barbati.

If you loved the show and are interested in seeing more of May, his tour also stops in Philadelphia tonight and Saturday.

May tweeted to his followers on Tuesday night following his performance.

“Last night I did a huge show at Rider University in the middle of nowhere New Jersey. One of the best audiences I’ve ever had. Great show.”

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