Five thoughts on Ralphie May at Harrah’s

Jason Harris

Ralphie May January 27, Harrah's Showroom

1. May drew big numbers at the start of his new Harrah’s residency, which runs Thursday-Saturday most weekends through July. Though the third-floor venue isn’t the easiest to find, it’s ready for a comedian to own. May, as likeable as he is large, has a real chance to re-energize comics’ Strip residencies.

2. May addressed our new president and his policies early, and the comedian’s material on current events was some of his best. On his first encounter with a Mexican in his hometown of Clarksville, Arkansas: “He said he’d mow my yard for $10. I’m like, ‘You’re goddamn right you will, Tito.’ My momma paid me $20 to do it. F*ck it. He’s gainfully employed. And I’m now management. You understand? It took a Mexican to teach me the American way.”

3. On Trump supporters jumping to Trump’s aid: “He doesn’t really need you to protect him, guys. He’s a billionaire with nuclear weapons. He’s got spaceships. He’s got control of all the gold in Fort Knox. He’s literally a Bond villain. But instead of a cat, he just combs his hair.”

4. On the flipside, while May has always been known for his colorful language, it’s time to let go of the racial and homophobic slurs. Those words, which he once argued were essential to punch up points, do more harm than good.

5. I once saw a YouTube video of May giving a lecture to rising comics. It was enthralling and substantial­—a contrast to the last half hour of his Harrah’s show, during which he joked extensively about finger-banging and big dicks. Not to say a good portion wasn’t funny, but he has so much more to offer. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that remains in his act come July.

  • With a solidified new lineup and a memorable new record, now is the time to catch Chris Crisci and company.

  • Unraveling Identity at Sahara West Library feels like a public service announcement on sexual and gender diversity.

  • His new band opens up for one of his original idols, Howard Jones, at the Cannery on July 13.

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