Ralphie May’s White Trash Christmas Show

The Northern Lights Theater 1721 W Canal Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233
Price: $40/$35/$30

Thursday, December 15 at 8 p.m.

This season, comedian Ralphie May is bringing a special kind of holiday cheer with Ralphie May’s White Trash Christmas Show.

For 25 years now, Ralphie May has appeared at the biggest venues, slayed every late-night audience multiple times, recorded a special for every comedy-loving network on television, traveled the world for the USO and reached the level of popularity few standup comedians have attained.

With a charmed career that’s equal parts sweat equity and choking the life out of every opportunity that came along, May fell in love with comedy after performing at a church conference at age 13, winning unexpected rewards. He turned professional at 17 when, after winning a contest as a student at the University of Arkansas, he opened for Sam Kinison.

“He told me to move to Houston,” May said, “so I didn’t wait till graduation. I just left: ‘I’m going to Houston to do standup.’ And that was 25 years ago. It’s crazy.”

May eventually earned a spot on the first season of “Last Comic Standing,” and with the way fans fell in love with his over-the-top persona, he finished second, though he might as well have won—anybody remember who won that year?

Raw, uncensored comedy is a hallmark of May’s set, but he doesn’t deal in simple outrage; instead, building a routine that’s rich, deep and fearless. May is able to balance boyish charm, withering introspection and compassion for his fellow human being with some of the dirtiest, most honest observations you’ve ever heard.

“When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me how to crochet and how to quilt, and that’s kind of how I do an act,” May said. “I have one-liners, I have dirty jokes, but I also have long stories that are 10 or 20 minutes long and the laughs come every eight seconds. It’s a different set. And it’s a different life than most people have led.”

May has debuted five specials over a decade on Comedy Central with each drawing record ratings. He also tours extensively and has made 19 trips into war zones to perform for troops with the USO and Wounded Warriors charity—and his popularity continues to grow.