The World's Most Righteous Assholes

Nice guys finish first at the South Beach Comedy Festival.

Without any prodding, May goes off on a vast, trans-historic monologue about race and power in America, decrying "senators," "power brokers," and "heads of corporation" for their alleged attempts to keep the have-nots squabbling with each other over race, religion, and sexuality. On the subject of Don Imus, he says, "Nappy-headed hoes? Nappy-headed hoes? That's what got Imus in trouble? You know, I saw some of those broads. Some of them wore braids — you know? I saw 'em. Imus was not out of the realm of possibility. People say, 'Oh, these people aren't "politically correct."' Good! America needs people who aren't politically correct! 'Political correctness' has a long history of being wrong. It was politically correct 150 years ago to own black people. It was politically correct 100 years ago to not allow women to vote or own property or get an education over sixth grade!"

By the time he hits the subject of Florida, his voice has turned into a high-pitch holler; he sounds like the bastard progeny of Sam Kinison and Geddy Lee. "Florida fucks everything up! They fucked up the election in 2000 because they said old people got confused by a ballot! Those old people in Florida can work 27 bingo cards at the same fucking time! They're not gonna be baffled by a hanging fucking chad! The election was fucking stolen!"

In interviews, most actors and comedians won't talk about anything other than their next movie or HBO special. This is less true of Jeffrey Ross and Ralphie May than of any other showbiz professionals I've spoken to. May never said anything about his career. And by the end of his dissertation on power in America, the questions I had planned to ask about the subject seemed absurdly maladroit. So I asked him the same thing I asked Ross: Why were he and Ross being billed as "The Meanest Men in Comedy"? May, a notoriously fat person who at one point clocked in at more than 800 pounds, responded, "Well, they couldn't have called it 'The Leanest Men in Comedy.'"

Ralphie May is serious about his comedy.
Courtesy of South Beach Comedy Festival
Ralphie May is serious about his comedy.

Details

January 16-19. Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave; Lincoln Theatre, 541 Lincoln Rd; Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd; and the Lincoln Road Stage (at Euclid Avenue), Miami Beach; www.southbeachcomedyfestival.com.

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Then who's the real meanest man in comedy?

"Well, Bill Maher's a real cunt."

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