Ralphie May

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Ralphie May
Ralphie may.jpeg
May on August 2, 2009
Birth nameRalph Duren May
Born(1972-02-17)February 17, 1972
Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedOctober 6, 2017(2017-10-06) (aged 45)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, radio
NationalityAmerican
Years active1989–2017
GenresObservational comedy
Subject(s)Wit, word play, satire, sexuality, race, religion, family life, obesity, politics, medicine
Spouse
Lahna Turner (m. 2005)
Children2
Websiteralphiemay.com

Ralph Duren May (February 17, 1972 – October 6, 2017) was an American stand-up comedian and actor, known for his extensive touring and comedy specials on Netflix and other outlets.

Early life[edit]

May was born on February 17, 1972, in Chattanooga, Tennessee,[1] and raised in Clarksville, Arkansas,[2] the youngest of 4 children.

At 17, he won a contest to open for Sam Kinison, whom he considered his idol.[3] Kinison suggested that May move to Houston to further develop his comedy routine.[4] May graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, he then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.[5]

Career[edit]

In 2003, May was chosen to participate in the first season of Last Comic Standing, he finished in second place in the competition, with Dat Phan winning first place. Afterwards, May appeared in comedy shows, such as The Wayne Brady Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2005, he was the only white comedian on The Big Black Comedy Show, which also featured Mo'Nique, Rodman, and Vince Morris.[6]

In 2005, May released his first comedy album Just Correct, he later recorded four Comedy Central specials titled Girth of a Nation (2006), Prime Cut (2007),[7] Austin-tatious (2008), and Too Big To Ignore (2012),[8] as well as two Netflix specials titled Imperfectly Yours (2013) and Unruly (2015),[9] he appeared in For Da Love of Money.[10] May also performed at the "Gathering of the Juggalos 2012".[11]

Personal life[edit]

On July 3, 2005, May married comedian Lahna Turner; the couple had two children: daughter April June May[12][13] and son August James May.[14][13] The couple filed for divorce in October 2015 and sought physical and joint custody of their children, but the divorce was never finalized.[15]

May struggled with obesity throughout his life, his weight increased to 800 pounds (360 kg), following a car accident at age 16.[3] He participated on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and had gastric bypass surgery in 2004, which lowered his weight by 350 pounds (160 kg).[3][16] After a bout with viral pneumonia on a cruise in October 2011, May lost 40 pounds.[16]

In November 2011, he suffered a nearly-fatal pulmonary embolism after contracting serious pneumonia on a cruise ship, where a blood clot from his leg became lodged in an artery.[17]

May discussed his grandmother in a number of interviews and credited her with helping take care of him and his siblings as they were growing up. Speaking to the Arkansas Times in 2012, May said, "Thank goodness for my grandmother, she was a hell of a woman, she was really beneficial, she kept us in a stature way above our means and made sure we were taken care of as far as clean clothes and shoes." His Facebook bio also references his grandmother. "When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me how to crochet and how to quilt, and that's kind of how I do an act. I have one-liners, I have dirty jokes, but I also have long stories that are 10 or 20 minutes long and the laughs come every eight seconds. It's a different set, and it's a different life than most people have led."[18]

In an interview with the Arkansas Times in 2012, he discussed growing up in Clarksville, shedding light on some of the hardships he faced, he shared, "It was a hard life growing up. It was a similar story to a lot of people in Arkansas. My mom was a florist. I'm the youngest of four. My father and mother hated each other, and they took it out on us. She'd sue him for not paying child support, then he didn't pay, and that ended up costing us a lot..."[19]

In 2013, May and his wife Turner started a podcast together called Perfect 10.[20]

His memoir, This Might Get a Little Heavy, was published posthumously in December 2017.[21][22]

Death[edit]

On October 6, 2017, May went into cardiac arrest. May had been battling pneumonia for several weeks and had cancelled shows over the previous month, his publicist Stacey Pokluda confirmed following his death, he was 45 years old.[23][24] It was later published that hours before his death, May was scheduled to do a meet-and-greet after his final performance at Harrah's in Las Vegas around midnight, but May had already shown signs of his deteriorating condition.[25]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 For Da Love of Money Otis
2003 Just Correct Himself [26]
Whoopi Sammy Episode: "The Fat and the Frivolous"
2005 Big Black Comedy: Vol. 2 Himself [26]
Big Black Comedy: Vol. 4 Himself [26]
2006 Girth of a Nation Himself
2007 Prime Cut Himself
Bangin' With Ralphie May Himself [26]
2008 The Best of Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen Himself [26]
Austin-Tatious Himself [26]
2012 Too Big to Ignore Himself
2013 Imperfectly Yours Himself
Squidbillies P-NUT Episode: "Thou Shale Not Drill"[26]
2015 Unruly Himself
2016 Inside Amy Schumer Ralphie
2017 Penn & Teller: Fool Us Himself [26]

Discography[edit]

Year Title[27] Notes
2005 Just Correct
2006 Girth of a Nation
2007 Prime Cut
2008 Austin-Tatious
2012 Too Big to Ignore
2013 Imperfectly Yours Netflix special
2015 Unruly Netflix special

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (October 6, 2017). "Ralphie May, 45, Comedian 'Who Happens to Be Fat,' Dies". New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Comedian and Clarksville Native, Ralphie May Dead at 45". Arkansas Matters. October 6, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Rusnak, Jeff (May 7, 2004). "Ralphie May Succeeds On Stage, But Not By Throwing His Weight Around". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Ralphie May Dead--Dies 45". Huffington Post. October 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Comedian Ralphie May dies at 45". ABC. October 6, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "Ralphie May". Comedy Central. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Ralphie May: Prime Cut (2007). The New York Times
  8. ^ "Comedian Ralphie May Dies at 45". Variety Magazine. October 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Nicholas Hautman (October 6, 2017). "Ralphie May Dead: Kevin Hart, Gabriel Iglesias, Bob Saget and More Pay Tribute to Comedian". US Magazine.
  10. ^ "Film in Review: For Da Love of Money". New York Times. April 26, 2002.
  11. ^ "Insane Clown Posse Fire Up the 2012 Gathering of the Juggalos". Rolling Stone Magazine. August 14, 2012.
  12. ^ Comedians Ralphie May and Lahna Turner are new parents celebritybabies.people.com. September 17, 2007
  13. ^ a b "Lahna Turner, Ralphie May's Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". heavy.com.
  14. ^ Ralphie May welcomes a son celebritybabies.people.com. June 26, 2009
  15. ^ Ralphie May's wife Lahna Turner files divorce tmz.com
  16. ^ a b Cridlin, Jay (December 5, 2011). "For comic Ralphie May, health scare in Tampa was life-changing experience". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Ho, Rodney (October 6, 2017). "Ralphie May almost died in November 2011 of a pulmonary embolism". AJC. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Comedian Ralphie May to perform at Egyptian theater". Daily Chronicle. February 1, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  19. ^ Bell, Robert (August 31, 2012). "Ralphie May talks growing up in Clarksville". Arkansas Times. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "Comedians Ralphie May and Lahna Turner to divorce". Daniel Jensen Law Office. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  21. ^ Shanley, Patrick. "Comedian Ralphie May to Pen Humorous Memoir". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  22. ^ May, Ralphie (2017). This Might Get a Little Heavy: A Memoir. Parker, Nils (1 ed.). New York. ISBN 9781250085740. OCLC 1010697817.
  23. ^ "Comedian Ralphie May Dead at 45 of Cardiac Arrest". tmz.com.
  24. ^ Nemetz, Dave (October 6, 2017). "Ralphie May, Stand-Up Comic and 'Last Comic Standing' Finalist, Dead at 45". Yahoo News. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  25. ^ "RALPHIE MAY FRAIL AND PALE At Final Meet-and-Greet". tmz.com. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ralphie May". IMDB.
  27. ^ "Ralphie May albums". Last.fm. Retrieved January 17, 2019.

External links[edit]