City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Ralphie May almost died in November of a pulmonary embolism


Ralphie May will be at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre March 17. CREDIT: Comedy Central

Ralphie May, one of the most successful comics to come out of  “Last Comic Standing,” almost died this past November after contracting serious pneumonia on a cruise ship, then suffering a pulmonary embolism where a blood clot from his leg got lodged in an artery.

While in the hospital, May said he stayed awake for 11 straight days. “I was afraid if I had gone to sleep, I wouldn’t have woken up,” he said in an interview last week to promote his upcoming show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre this Saturday, March 17.

He even wrote goodbye notes to his family on his iPad in case he didn’t make it: “People say at the end of your life, the happy moments flash before your life. I was so close to death and I felt regret. I put my career before my babies and wife. I compromised my health. I should have been in a hospital instead of a ship.”

May has since stopped smoking marijuana, which he said damaged his lungs. He is taking blood thinners to avoid future clots. And he learned that his weight has less to do with food consumption but more to do with extraordinarily low metabolism. So he’s taking thyroid replacement drugs and testosterone to alleviate that problem. As a result, he’s now losing weight. (He’s below 400 pounds after peaking more than a decade ago at a whopping 800.)

After a couple of months of recuperation, May is now back to full working mode to promote his fourth Comedy Central special, “Too Big to Ignore,” which debuted March 4, which drew a very respectable 1.5 million viewers.

“This was the best one,”  May said. “I’m so grateful and fortunate that they believe in me. Most comics can’t produce the amount of material I produce. I do like two hours of new material every year.”

May, whose brand of politically incorrect humor has edge but never seeps into hostility, was bemused how much bleeping occurred because he knew on stage that he was being taped for basic cable, not HBO.

“I didn’t know they’d bleep words they bleeped… I wish I had been better informed. I would have chosen better words. The standards change so rapidly.”

Here’s a sampling from Comedy Central:

Ralphie May: Too Big To Ignore Sunday, March 4
Ralphie May – Curse Words
Comedy Central Funny Videos Funny TV Shows

May grew up in Chattanooga but has deep ties to Georgia. His late father Winston May ran the Georgia Poultry Federation and lived in Roswell for many years.

May, 40, himself grew up worshiping the Braves and still has a cherished Dale Murphy autographed ball to his name.

While in Atlanta this weekend, he said he and his comedienne wife Lahna Turner plan to visit Rathbun’s and especially Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles. “That’s a little taste of heaven!” he said.

The couple has been together since he was barely scraping by, pre “Last Comic Standing” in 2003: “My wife is my teammate. She’s my best friend. I love her. I have temptations. Women whisper the nastiest things in my ear all the time. But we talk four, five times a day when I’m away. She gets hit on all the time, too. I realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s just more grass.”

And they both have a sense of humor about their kids by naming them after months to match his last name. His four year old daughter is April June May. His two year old son is August May. “I wanted something unique,” he said. “My name is Ralphie. How many Ralphie’s do you know? It’s unique.”

His thoughts on fellow big Atlanta comic Bruce Bruce, who is performing at the same time as May at the Atlanta Civic Center Saturday: “I have nothing but mad respect for him. If he sells out and his fans are looking for something to do that night, come on over and see me! We fat guys have to help each other!”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

19 comments Add your comment


March 14th, 2012
6:46 am

I’m sure the idiots making disparaging remarks anytime the subject of the blog is black will be along shortly to insult Ralphie May….because we all know how they insist they aren’t racist and they’d want to be consistent. Probably got some fat jokes lined up. We shall see.

Ain't That the Truth, Ruth

March 14th, 2012
7:46 am

Seems like a good guy. The only problem with naming your children with months as first and last names is that it will be hard for people to remember which name comes first. April May or May April?


March 14th, 2012
9:30 am

I’ll admit that I was wrong, I was betting that he was going to be dead long before now.

WJ LaFrance

March 14th, 2012
11:09 am

This is without a doubt one of the funniest, most honest (Though politically incorrect thank god) man I have ever seen in comedy. Ralphie boy good luck brother. Take care of yourself cause I’d love to be seeing you for a long long time.


March 14th, 2012
11:10 am

Ralphie’s a naturally funny and good guy! When I worked at the Funny Farm, he’d be one of those guys who would hang out with staff after the shows. I’m really glad that he’s taking better care of himself, cause we all would like to have him around much longer! BTW- his wife….smmmmokin hot!!


March 14th, 2012
11:10 am

look in the mirror for the bigot lynne

e mack

March 14th, 2012
11:15 am

LIKES. . .keep at it maine. .. .family first.


March 14th, 2012
12:18 pm

LOVE the link to his wife Lahna’s site. Thanks!


March 14th, 2012
12:35 pm

Yep, nice guy. I ran into him at the Atlanta airport end of last year, and talked to him for a while. I remember him complaining to me about his leg. I hope he recovers and feels better soon.

Lynne hater

March 14th, 2012
1:02 pm

Way to sneak a fat reference in Lynne. Shame on you! Your passive/aggresive trick is outrageous.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention bacon or pie while you were at it.


March 14th, 2012
1:34 pm

He’s black?


March 14th, 2012
1:39 pm

How about some editing…the blog is about someone named Ralphie but the picture is obviously Chaz Bono. I expect more from you Rodney.

Rodney Ho

March 14th, 2012
1:48 pm

@jarvis. Funny— on the Comedy Central special, Ralphie makes jokes about his resemblance to Chaz Bono…


March 14th, 2012
4:02 pm

In a related story, non-comedian Marshall Chiles DID DIE..on stage at the Laughing Skull. But what else is new?


March 14th, 2012
4:49 pm

bonkerz- that’s funny, and true!! He’s funny when he’s on the Regular Guys show, but when he’s on stage, the whole shock-value bigot routine just crashes and burns….nice guy, though!

[...] a show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre at 8 p.m. March 17. Check out Rodney Ho’s interview with May, where he discusses his 2011 brush with [...]


March 15th, 2012
10:16 am

The Regular Guys would laugh at Pauley Shore if he bought airtime on their one share morning show.

Weekend in the A! « Ask The Realtor

March 16th, 2012
4:53 pm

[...] for a show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre at 8 p.m. March 17. Check out Rodney Ho’s interview with May, where he discusses his 2011 brush with [...]

richard head

March 17th, 2012
12:43 pm