Ralphie May pauses every so often to check in on the people up front and ask how they’re doing.
“This is a safe place. We’ll make it through,” he promises one couple, early in the determinedly wrong evening he has warned us about.
Thing is, there’s little May can say that will truly horrify us. And no one knows this better than him.
Andrew Dice Clay and Vinnie Favorito, two other stand-ups with an ongoing Las Vegas presence, come off as aggressive and confrontational in their stage posturing.
May sits on a stool, throws his head back, and the sound that comes out is, no kidding, an actual “Ha-ha-ha!”
His giddy, fried-green Southern delivery and underdog outlook have been constants for the comedian, who has headlined Las Vegas since 2003.
May has slightly altered his direction for an extended booking at Harrah’s Las Vegas, doing his “No Apologies” show Thursdays through Saturdays until at least November.
Those who know him from the South Point will find this show less about his plausible offstage life, and trying harder to be topical and ridiculously “blue,” in the tradition of old-school comics who had an easier time shocking people.
He’s an equal-opportunity offender of Democrats and Republicans, telling the former to “Suck it up” and quit whining, and the latter that they’ve elected a Bond villain as president.
“All he’s missin’ is a shark tank with lasers! ‘What about a cat?’ you say. He’s got his hair (to rub).”
May pledges to build an underground railroad to protect his Mexican friends from deportation, and you would know Donald Trump’s wall could never work if you saw photos of drug lord El Chapo’s escape tunnel: “That thing even had a Starbucks.”
The last half-hour seems to be aimed solely at testing just how far May can push graphic sex talk, which manages to be original, juvenile, disgusting and even a little smart in the way it ties back to White House politics.
After the barrage of filthiness peaks, he sits back and declares, “I don’t know what I’ve done to you. I want to hug ya all.”
And a lot of people want to hug him back.