Ralphie May plays Humane Society benefit in SanduskyWritten by John Benson | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Comedian Ralphie May is coming to Northwest Ohio and he’s not pulling any punches. In fact, he may be giving a few unsuspecting folks some gut-wrenching shots of material that he promises will be politically incorrect, racially insensitive and culturally controversial. May makes his Sandusky debut May 15 at the Sandusky State Theatre. The event is a fundraiser for the Huron County Humane Society and the Humane Society of Erie County.
May first became a national name when he appeared on NBC-TV’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2003. From there, he has seemingly toured non-stop, released DVDs and grown his fans into the millions. Toledo Free Press Star talked to the funnyman about Sandusky, his pot bust in Guam last fall and his growing popularity.
Star: Have you ever been to Sandusky before?
Ralphie May: No, I never have. It’s like I’m stepping down, but really I’m stepping up.
Star: You never went to Cedar Point before?
RM: No, they don’t let fat guys on amusement park rides.
Star: What’s new in your world?
RM: I’m doing two different shows entirely. I’m doing a real controversial one for Showtime and another special for Comedy Central called “Ralphie May 4-20.” The Comedy Central show will be taped in October. The Showtime special will tape a month later.
Star: Is it hard to have two acts at once?
RM: I don’t think so. I just tell stories about my life. My life is interesting. It should be a reality show. It really is pretty incredible. Like two weeks ago, Tony Bennett comes to one of my shows, stays the whole two-and-a-half hours, gives me a standing ovation and then leaves and asks for a finger-banging shirt. It’s hilarious to me. I have Bennett’s approval. I mean, if I wasn’t so much Irish I’d think I was made like Henry Hill.
Star: Which show is Sandusky going to get?
RM: Probably the Comedy Central show because it’s a benefit for the Humane Society. So you kind of have to talk about the time where you loved dogs so much that even though you had weed on you that you didn’t know you had, you walked 60 feet out of your way to go pet a drug dog. You pretty much have to talk about that, right? I’m also going to talk about me witnessing the miracle on the Hudson.
Star: So you saw Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s greatest moment?
RM: Well, see, that’s one perspective. My perspective is that I almost got killed by an old guy who couldn’t miss some birds. I was only 500 yards away from where the plane crashed. Maybe I’m crazy, but geographically he barely missed me. It’s like I got shot at and grazed; that’s how close it was. And so it’s all a matter of perspective. I tell people I felt sorry for those survivors. Like not for nothing, they fly for four minutes, think they’re going to die for three, they crash into the dirty, frozen Hudson River. Great, now you got AIDS because there’s big chunky AIDS floating in that dirty Hudson. And then boom, they take you to North Hudson Hospital in New Jersey to check you out. It’s like after all that crap, you have to go to Jersey, too. I mean, when will it ever end for these people? I feel bad for them. If that happens to me, I’m telling them to throw me back in the river, son. They have pills for AIDS, but there ain’t no pill for New Jersey.
Star: As for the benefit, what makes you a good host for an animal fundraiser?
RM: I draw big numbers for them, I’ll sell some tickets for them and that’s what they really want. Last year we gave over $25,000 to various animal shelters around the country and the Humane Society. It’s something that’s close to my heart because both of my dogs are rescues. They’re the greatest animals in the world, and I think to stand idly by and not protect the weakest of us is kind of something that honestly we should do more of. We should actively help and fight for animals and stuff like that because we’re the stewards of them.
Star: You’re not going to soften up your set even though you’re playing a fundraiser.
RM: Yeah, I’m not going to soften it at all. It’s not what I do. When they hired me they knew I would probably be controversial. That’s great. I like to give people the whole show. Even though I’ve never been to Sandusky, I’ve been to Toledo and all over Northwest Ohio. I have to be honest, everyone up there needs to laugh. You’re at the end of a winter that was brutal this year. It was just horrific and what a better time to laugh to know that your money stays there in town — in the two counties — and protects animals that are there for the adoption. If I can help out, it’s my pleasure. It was just something I think I need to do. I need to help people out.
Ralphie May headlines the event to benefit the Huron County Humane Society and the Humane Society of Erie County at 7 p.m. May 15 at the Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Tickets are $27 to $100. Call (419) 626-1950 or (877) 626-1950, or visit sanduskystate.com.