Meet Ralphie May

Where do you enjoy performing the most?

I like universities. You know, y’all have young minds and you have a whole day where you have to keep an open mind. You hear stuff from people and you’re used to listening and learning and there’s no alcohol, so you’re a much better audience. You’re all smarter than the average audience. You’re all college students. There’s never an audience that’s all college students in the real world, or if they are they’ve forgotten everything; they’re close-minded and set in their ways, but this was a blast. They told me that it was the biggest crowd they had ever had at a Rider University comedy event and that’s why I gave more time. I was like, “Look, I gotta make it worth something, you know.”

Why do you choose controversial comedy?

Because no one else is doing it and every topic I talk about I think people need to hear. I think it’s like a mission. For years, I didn’t do it; I thought about it, but I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the balls to fail. When you have the balls to fail and when failing isn’t something you’re afraid of, you can do so many wonderful things. I talk about stuff that I personally think needs to be talked about like the “n word,” gays in the military, a whole new thinking. I try to combat stupidity with rationality and it’s not always an easy uphill battle.

So you’re breaking ground?

Trying to break new ground. In stand-up comedy, the battle is always to try and find the new place and new thing to talk about and once you do that, then you’ve hit something. And, that’s what I think I’ve done. I’ve talked about every subject and hopefully I’ll run out and I won’t have to talk about it anymore. People will realize that their gay neighbor, cousin, nephew, whatever, is just a human just like you are. If you can’t understand the gay lifestyle, then can you understand love? If you can understand love then you get it. If you have somebody that’s important to you that you can’t live without, that you can’t take a breath without thinking about, that’s a beautiful thing and if it happens between two men and two women, whose business is it other than yours?

Is being away from your family the only downfall of being on the road all the time?

Yea. You know what people pay for. They think they pay for the jokes; they don’t. They pay for me not being with my family because I would tell the jokes for free. I did an hour and 40 minutes because I wanted to give you guys a great show. This is the largest audience they ever had for comedy. That means there’s over 700 kids here that I could now make hungry for stand-up comedy. That’s one of my favorite things about doing universities because there’s a lot of issues you guys face. You’re learning to be adults, you’re learning who you are, you’re out from the shield and the wing of mother and father. If you’re gonna make good grades and make all of this expense worth something, you’ve got to earn it. Nobody else can do it for you. You guys are the perfect audience. You are the ones that I want to teach. I want to teach you. I want to show you a different way of thinking, different than what your professors will teach you, different from what your parents teach you. Because they don’t teach you the real s—; they tell you a pre-approved version of the truth. I’m not a perfect man; I am very flawed, but I do have many things that you can glean from and grow from and I can make you laugh in the process of doing it.

— Heather Fiore

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