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Saturday, Aug 23, 2014

Ralphie May ready for a 'Brew-Ha-Ha' in St. Pete


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Getting high and delivering stand-up brings to mind such stoner comics as Cheech and Chong and Doug "Super High Me" Benson, but no would blink if Ralphie May's name was added to that list.

May used to often joke about his unrelenting appetite to get high. He and his wife, fellow comic Lahna Turner, witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson," when US Airways captain Chesley Sullenberger, landed his disabled airbus on the Hudson river in 2008.

"My wife just said, 'A plane landed in the water,'?" May said. "I was so high on weed that I said, 'Did that happen for everybody?'?"

The jokes remain, but the pot is gone after May suffered a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot from his leg was lodged in an artery two years ago. "You have to change things if you almost die," May said. "I've changed."

Marijuana is out and blood thinners are in for May.

"I have a lot to live for," May said. "I have my wife and children."

May's kids are proof that he is a comic who is always on. His daughter is April June May and his son is August May.

Fortunately, the humorist's spouse is a funny girl.

"My wife gets it," May said. "She's totally cool. She married a comic, and she is one so she knows funny. The thing with our kids' names is funny and fun. It beats naming a kid Ralphie. There are a lot of Ralphies, but my kids names are unique."

May's humor is a little different, as well. The hefty comic pokes fun at himself. He can be edgy, but he never crosses the line that makes an audience uncomfortable. "That's not me," May said. "I don't think I'm a mean-spirited guy. I just like to have a good time and for the audience to have a blast as well. We're all in it together."

May, who will perform Thursday at the Mahaffey in St. Petersburg as party of "Cowhead's Brew-Ha-Ha," is happy to be in the game at all. He remembers how much he struggled 15 years ago, while trying to make it in Los Angeles.

"I would walk from show to show and nobody walks in Los Angeles," May said. "I didn't have a car. It was tough. But then one day, Jay Mohr was driving by and he asked what I was doing walking. I told him and he said that I shouldn't be living like that. So he called his agent on the spot and hired me to open shows for him. That was huge for me. A door opened and I ran in. Who knows where I would be without that opportunity? It's enabled me to be able to do what I love more than anything."

COWHEAD'S BREW-HA-HA

With Ralphie May

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg

Tickets: $47.50, $30, $25; (727) 892-5798 and themahaffey.com

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