Guest blogger: Leon on Ralphie May
Today, I want to welcome my first guest blogger, my husband, Leon! Thanks for stepping up to the plate, honey. — Jillian
This Sunday, my loving wife took me to see my first live comedy show, which was Ralphie May at Zanies in Nashville. She has graciously allowed me to write a guest post here about the experience, which I must say easily exceeded my expectations.
Sunday was a miserable day, weather-wise, but when we were actually driving up Franklin Road to get to Zanies, the skies cleared and it appeared that the weather would clear up. We were advised to show up by 6:45 in order to get good seats for the 7:30 show, and we arrived more or less right on time. The parking situation at Zanies was atrocious, however, and we had to park a couple blocks away (as we had been warned that parking at any of the nearby businesses would result in our car being promptly towed). Nonetheless, we were still in the door at or near 6:45. We found out that this was not nearly early enough, as we were seated at a couple of bar stools near the back of the first floor, and near the door. Our seating was, however, literally the only complaint I had about Zanies as a venue. Although my back got sore from not having anything to support it while we sat there for three hours, the sight lines were still good, the food was delicious and reasonably priced, and the service was shockingly prompt and attentive (especially given that our server appeared to be waiting on at least 9 or 10 tables). The warm-up acts were some guy from the Bob & Tom show (apparently neither Bob nor Tom), and Ralphie May’s wife. Both were good for a few chuckles, but neither had the talent to be a successful television comedian.
Ralphie took the stage at around 7:50. I was prepared, to some extent, for some recycled material, especially since I have been a fan of Ralphie’s since Last Comic Standing, and I was worried that I might have heard most of the jokes before, but I needn’t have worried. I didn’t hear a single recylced joke from any of his 4 DVDs or from any of his Last Comic Standing material. It was all new and fresh and quite a bit of it was obviously pulled from the events of the last few weeks and months. Ralphie had clearly put a lot of effort into keeping his material fresh for an audience that had doubtless heard him before (Ralphie is a relatively frequent guest at Zanies). During the middle of the show, the weather apparently turned inclement and we eventually briefly lost power. Ralphie picked up without a beat and continued the show. In fact, due to the weather, Ralphie extended his show an extra full hour, nearly doubling the length of his show, and did so without recycling anything I had ever heard before. At the end, he stayed around and took free pictures and gave free autographs to all who had stayed. I was truly impressed with his generosity with his time, especially given the fact that his wife delivered a baby less than 3 weeks ago and by his own admission, he is recently recovered from the flu and sleep deprivation. He furthermore displayed a remarkable knowledge of Nashville and surrounding localities, perhaps because he may have actually moved here (I think he said at the end that he and his wife had moved here, but I can’t be sure. It could just be that he visits frequently enough to have been briefed on these things).
Ralphie as a comedian is of course not for everyone. His jokes are not appropriate fare for the faint of heart, nor the politically correct. His show suffered somewhat from a needless and extended jag into pro-Obama politics. I more or less expect this from a comedian of Ralphie’s variety, so the problem in this case was not the politics, it’s that the jokes were not especially funny. Ralphie sounded more during these jokes like a talking head, less like a comedian attempting to entertain his audience. Thankfully, given the overall length of the show, this portion more or less faded into the background of an otherwise hilarious experience, especially since he quickly redeemed himself with a bit about Chick Fil-A that was… well, look for it to come to a special on Comedy Central soon. I don’t want to ruin the surprise. When he was finished, a grateful audience gave him a standing “O” and we waited in line for less than five minutes to meet Ralphie. I got a copy of “Austin-Tatious” (the only one I didn’t already have) and Ralphie signed it (as pictured here), although he was clear that he would have signed a picture for free as well. We then headed back home, late but satisfied with our first comedy experience. Whenever we get the chance, we’ll be seeing Ralphie again soon.