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Ralphie May: I Want To Make You Laugh So Hard You’ll Cry


Ralphie May: I Want To Make You Laugh So Hard You’ll Cry

Ralphie May’s comedy can be described in many different ways, but the best way to describe it might be “humor with bite.” That bite can certainly be seen in his newest comedy DVD, “Too Big To Ignore,” in which he talks about all types of political topics, ranging from the Arizona’s immigration law, racial discrimination, the discussion about the LGBT community marrying, and more.

“I’m talking about how it used to be white versus black; now it’s white and black versus brown,” he said. “I’m talking about the ’90s, when there used to be a semblance of racial harmony [and] just being better, honestly. We may not like alike, but we’re all needed. We need to believe that we’re going to be something different than we were before, that we do have the capability of being post-racial.”

All of these divisions, said May, “are all methods of control.” His humor can also be described as truth softened with the medicine of comedy.

May always wanted to become a comic. “I just wanted to be in comedy since I was nine,” he said. “I remember watching Johnny Carson with my grandma, and it was awesome. It was the funniest thing I’d ever seen.” May began studying the greats like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. “There was a contest to open for Sam Kinison, and I was so good that I won and was able to open for Sam Kinison,” he said.

However, the one thing that is difficult to make jokes about, said May, is tragedy. “I was trying to make a joke about 9/11, and I couldn’t find one,” he said. “And then I got one just by accident. Someone asked, ‘What do you think about 9/11’ and I said, ‘Which one?'”

The purpose for finding the humor in tragedy simply isn’t just to have a joke. “I just wanted to break the remorse, the mourning,” he said. “I just wanted to get people laughing again. Us comedians, we were being called by the public to make them laugh.”

Like a lot of comedians, May takes his job seriously, but unlike a lot of comedians, May is one of the few who will always change up his routine in order to stay fresh. “There are some comedians that have the same act they’ve done since 1992 that they’re still doing now,” he said. “I just make [the acts] all different. I’m one of the few comedians to do that.”

If you’ve read all of this and you want to get in on the comedy profession, May said there is no fast way of getting to the top.

“There’s no shortcut,” he said. “You have to work at it and if you don’t work at it, you will fail. If you think of it as a hobby, you will fail. If you take it for granted, you will fail. If you are easily persuaded from a goal, you will fail. And you should.”

Also, if you’re new to May’s style of comedy and you want to see “Too Big To Ignore,” then be prepared. “I’m not for everybody,” he said. “You can watch it and it could change your life, or you could watch it and turn it off in 10 minutes. I want to make you laugh so hard you’ll cry, and I say that because I believe I can.”

If you want to laugh so hard that you’re crying, then get “Too Big To Ignore,” which will be available for purchase May 1 ($14.98)

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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