×

Ralphie May

10 Comics to Watch

After Ralphie May lost out in the finals of NBC’s reality show “Last Comic Standing” in 2003, it was widely agreed that the XL-sized comic “was robbed” of the No. 1 slot.

His fans should thus feel vindicated that May recently filmed a 90-minute special for Comedy Central — called “Austin-Tatious” because it was shot at the historic Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas — that will air this fall.

The show is May’s third for the comedy network. His last special, which aired in November, beat out ratings for Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White’s specials on the net’s Blue Collar Weekend.

Despite his blue-collar trappings — May was born in Tennessee, went to college in Arkansas (where, at 17, he won a college radio contest whose prize was to open for Sam Kinison) and makes jokes about white trash (which he prefers to call “bipolar”) — he resists being categorized with the Blue Collar posse.

“What those guys did was great, they’re leviathans in standup,” May says. “Why would I want to do what they did? Mooch off their success?”

May’s humor and his audience are broader than the red-state crowd.

African-Americans, Latinos and the pope are all targets for May’s sharp-tongued, wise-ass remarks, and his sold-out shows draw a similarly diverse crowd.

“You’d think my shows would be filled up with people that reflect me: white and fat,” he observes. “But my audience is black, Latino, young people, college students, people in their 60s and 70s.” The reason, May says, is that “I’m an equal-opportunity offender.”

May caters to a generation that he describes as “post-racial” — a demo that includes people like himself, a Southerner who’s voting for Barack Obama and who likes Hank Williams as much as Snoop Dogg (whom May counts as a friend).

POV

If you work with them, a mullet wearer “will come and take the tobacco right out of your hand,” joked May during a standup gig caputered and presented by Comedy Central. The comic’s fellow Southerners are frequent targets in his material, along with pretty much everyone else.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen,

    Variety to Forgo Annual Emmy Party for Donation to Planned Parenthood

    Variety has decided to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in lieu of hosting this year’s annual Emmy Awards nominees party in partnership with Women In Film. The decision comes in response to Planned Parenthood’s Aug. 19 announcement that it will drop funding over the current administration’s “unethical” rule blocking the organization from discussing its [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Isn't It Romantic

    TV News Roundup: Rebel Wilson to Host First Australian Amazon Original Series

    In today’s TV news roundup, the NFL and Pluto TV announce the launch of a new channel, and Rebel Wilson is named as the host of the first Amazon original series to come out of Australia.  CASTING Rebel Wilson is set to host and executive produce the Australian Amazon original series “LOL: Last One Laughing,” the [...]

  • Moffatt Family with the Himba tribe

    U.K.’s Channel 4 Takes British Family to Africa in New Reality Show

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has greenlit new factual entertainment format “The British Tribe Next Door,” which will see a British family spend four weeks with a remote tribe in Namibia. The twist in this format is that, unlike most adventurers, the participants don’t say goodbye to the comforts of their home — instead, they take them with [...]

  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The

    'Walking Dead' Star Christian Serratos in Talks for Selena Series at Netflix

    Christian Serratos is in negotiations to star in the upcoming Netflix series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, Variety has confirmed with sources. The series was announced back in December and is described as a coming of age story following Selena (Serratos) as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content