Ralphie May thought life on the road was tough enough. Now his two-year-old daughter, April June, and eight-month-old son, August, are teaching the Last Comic Standing vet just how grueling -- and rewarding -- the journey can be. May comes to St. Louis with a show at 8 p.m. Friday, February 26 at the Roberts Orpheum Theater (416 N. 9th Street.) Tickets are $29.50. For more details call 314-588-0388.
How has offstage reaction been to your "Iraq, Terrorism and Mullets"
"Don't Mess with St. Louis" bit?
People love it. They're like, "Yeah if you messed up the
Budweiser beer across America, those dudes would be irate!" I have so
many people from Budweiser that are like, "Dude, we love that bit. We
played that at several meetings. And we love it; we think you're great!"
And I'm like, "Great, why don't you sponsor my comedy tour?" It never
St. Louis is a great town. The people there love to eat like nobody's
business. I got introduced to butter burgers. Holy smokes! I was like,
"Why is this the first time I'm having this? It's amazing!" I used to go
up and watch Cards games when I was a kid. My grandfather would take us
up there from Arkansas where we lived, and it was one of the big places
to go every summer for two or three days. It was tremendous. I think
Imo's is the best pizza in the country. Every piece is like a playing
card. I don't know how they get the crust that thin, I don't know the
deal with the cheese, but I know it's fantastic pizza. When I get to the
hotel that's what I'm ordering for dinner. Gonna be awesome.
Ralphie May: A big man. He comes to St. Louis on February 26.
Has your daughter seen you perform live or on video?
She was like seven months when one of my specials came on. She just
stopped and was like, "Whoa, there's Daddy on TV and there's Daddy right
here. What's going on?" She actually likes the stage. My wife Lahna and
I perform a lot together. When we first had the baby, we would do the
switch off on-stage. I'd carry April on, and she'd carry her off. April
got to be where she wanted to be on stage more. She wanted to make
people laugh or do a little dance. And it's like, "OK, you're gonna get
off stage now?" We were nervous we were becoming stage parents.
We want our babies to grow up to be doctors and lawyers. We don't want
them to be comedians. Comics are a little damaged. But we wanted to
expose them to crowds because the number-one fear amongst the general
population is public speaking. We didn't want her or August to have any
fears, so we bring them on stage sometimes, but we're not pushing them
to be in show business. We just want them to conquer that fear.
Has fatherhood influenced your writing? If I can't outdo Mister Cosby, why should I try to do family material?
He did it the best and if I don't have something different to say, then I
should probably keep to doing what I'm doing. Are you still able to write the same prolific amount? I've got everything compartmentalized. I've got all my topical stuff
from 2009: bearing witness to the miracle of the Hudson, Barack Obama,
Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods. It was a fun news year. I was really
nervous about getting anything new to write about for the last quarter,
then all that stuff with Tiger Woods happened and I was like, "Awesome!
Here's a new seven minutes!" Someone's gotta bust his stones; it might
as well be me. I personally think he needs to golf more and just own it.
Get out there and go, "Yeah, I'm a filthy animal and I'm gonna come in
your town and bang all the women and then I'm gonna win a golf
championship and there's nothing you can do about either." Got to own
it, dude. America loves a winner more than they hate a cheater.
Any other projects coming down the pipeline? They're talking about bringing Last Comic Standing back and me being the
host. I'm like, "I don't know, man." Come on, it had a good run, let it
die. I've got a movie coming out this year called Best and Brightest
with Neil Patrick Harris and Amy Sedaris. The first day we got there
everyone's coming up and asking Neil Patrick Harris questions about
Doogie Howser and How I Met Your Mother. I go, "My daughter is addicted
to Sesame Street and I've seen the episode when you played the Fairy
Shoeperson and Telly gets new shoes about a hundred and something times.
I know the song." I start to sing and he gets up and starts singing it
with me, and we start doing the dance he did. People are cracking up and
they start rolling cameras. They say they got a print of it for the DVD
extras. Supposedly I'm getting a tape so I can show April that I'm
dancing with the Fairy Shoeperson.
You have a packed touring schedule coming up. Oh yeah, it's ridiculous. So many theaters! We just got back late last
night from Austin, Atlanta and Greensboro, North Carolina. On the drive
back we had to take a four-hour detour because a rockslide shut I-40
down in both directions.
You get in at midnight, load all the babies out, unload the car, and
you're dog-tired. It's like, "Isn't this glamorous? Isn't show business
awesome?" You're driving 12 hours with screaming babies, and we have to
stop 'cause they gotta run, goof off and play. We'll stop at a nice
park, get sunshine and eat our lunch there instead of a restaurant. Let
'em just go bananas then fall asleep for a couple more hours. We don't
like them to watch a bunch of videos. We've got the DVD players in the
car, but I don't think it's good to have Ice Age or Happy Feet or Peter
Pan or Mary Poppins babysit our kids for us. I might be a dirty, filthy,
cussing headliner, but I know multiple verses to "Row Row Row Your
Boat" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." When I should be reading
magazines for work, I'm reading Walter the Farting Dog, who saved his
family from the burglars by the use of his amazing farts.
But I am
overjoyed with fatherhood. Overjoyed and overwhelmed.