Podcast Moment: Comedian Ralphie May on WTF
February 14, 2012 3 Comments
In the not-so-large circle of stand-up comedians, Jay Mohr does not have a stellar reputation.
I believe it’s on Episode 148 of Marc Maron’s WTF that Bobcat Goldthwait goes into a tirade against Mohr, as just one example. So on Episode 247, there’s a definite moment of interest for comedy nerds when fellow stand-up Ralphie May praises Mohr effusively.
May described Mohr picking him up as May was walking to the comedy club in Los Angeles, too poor to afford the valet parking or the gas.
He called up Matt Frost, his agent, and goes, “Hey, my new opener is Ralphie May. All those Improv gigs that I got, Ralphie May’s my new opener, okay? Make it happen.” And boom, he booked me sixteen weeks of work right there. And I’d never been able to get into the Improvs because even those I was a killer feature act none of these fucking titty-baby lazy fucking headliners wanted to follow it. Alright? They don’t want to follow somebody getting a standing ovation. And that’s what I told Jay. I go, “The Improvs won’t work me because I’m too strong for their acts and yet I don’t have any TV credits so I can’t get on their stage as a headliner.” And he’s like, “Fuck that. I want to be pushed, alright. You come work with me and you kill every show.” And he let me do it.
Not only is it laudatory concerning Mohr, it’s also insight into how the world of stand-up comedy operates. Maron’s interview with May delves into detail about the rivalries between fellow-comedians and the business bullshit with which they have to contend. May brings up his own reputation as a hack comic, saying that it was something a few jealous comedians threw his way which stuck. Maron doesn’t press him on it much, perhaps having gone as far as he could on the topic of joke-stealing with his Carlos Mencia interviews.
There’s also some advice on varying speech patterns that May learned from Sam Kinison, so it’s one of those episodes that’s helpful for those interested in breaking into show business. Or simply surviving it.