Q&A: Ralphie May on touring, Chico memories

Ralphie May will perform at the El Rey Theatre on Feb. 6. Photo courtesy of Stacey Pokluda, SPPR Consultants.

Four-time platinum stand-up comedian Ralphie May is coming back to Chico. He talked to the Orion about his stand-up act, recalled first memories of Chico and even shared his favorite joke.

The Orion: How’s the tour going so far?

Ralphie May: So far so good. I cannot complain to be honest with you. It’s the biggest numbers of my career.

Are there any favorite tour moments? Not necessarily from this tour, any of them.

My favorites are with my wife and kids, and we get to go have adventures around the country. That’s my favorite.

Does your family get to tour with you a lot?

No. Not as much with school and my wife’s career. You know, she’s a headliner, too. it’s hard to get it all together and coordinated. We try not to go weeks without seeing each other.

You have been to Chico before you were married and had kids. Care to talk about your experience?

It was fun. I did a show as part of the San Francisco Comedy Competition, and I performed, met a girl, had a great night. Came back a couple nights later and had another great night. Had a couple weeks that were phenomenal, but then it was just like, ‘Do I want to keep it going?” But, you know, I really liked that girl. She was smart.

Are you excited to come back?

Yes. I just enjoy the whole thing. It deserves more than it gets, let’s just say that. Nice people, nice town. There’s more than it gets from credit.

Your wife, Lahna Turner, is a comedian as well. Do you ever find it difficult to work together?

It’s hard on me because she’s a headliner. The benefits are that we get to be together more. We get to do stuff like that so she doesn’t mind doing it.

You both talk about your lives a lot. Do you ever offend each other in your acts?

Yeah, I get that sometimes. I upset her sometimes, but she’ll say a lot of stuff about me. I’ve found it easier to move on. I love her.

Besides your wife, are there any other comedians that you really like working with?

Yeah, there’s tons. The Smash Brothers that are going to be with me in Chico are hilarious. They’re twins, and they’re dirty funny. They’re like pro wrestlers, and it’s kind of like they’re crazy white trash, and their dad was a biker with the Hells Angels.

I love my pal, Billy Wayne Davis. There’s a lot of great stand-ups out there. I encourage — even if you don’t want to come see me because I am, you know, racially offensive, even culture controversial, politically incorrect — if that’s not your cup of tea, then by all means go see comedy in general. We never needed to laugh more than now as a nation. So if you don’t like me, don’t let that taint you on stand up. Go see another act, OK? They’re great. It’s a fun, fun thing.

Do you try to use your stand-up act to raise awareness?

Yeah, yeah. I always have. From civil rights to gay rights to just the general ‘don’t be a dick.’ The general message, you know, specifics of the same thing is ‘don’t be an asshole.’ There’s just no need for it.

Do you have a favorite joke?

I do because it was my dad’s favorite. An old man sitting on a park bench is crying his eyes out. Young man comes up to him, ‘Sir, why are you crying?’ He goes, ‘I’m 88 years old, my wife is 32 years old, we make love six times a day. Oral, around the world — everything. She cooks and cleans. She works all the time and makes a lot of money. It’s the greatest.’ ‘Then why are you crying?’ ‘I forgot where I live!’


Performance Details

  • Date: Feb. 6
  • Time: Doors open at 7:30 p.m. / Show starts at 8:30 p.m.
  • Location: El Rey Theatre
  • Price: $25

Amanda Rhine can be reached at [email protected] or @am_rhine on Twitter.