Last year, comedian Ralphie May snapped. He was auditioning for a role in the Stephen King thriller "Dreamcatcher."
"I went up to play the part of Barry, the fat guy who eats himself to death," May says. "I went to the fourth callback. That means you're supposed to have the part. And I got told by the studio that I had to lose weight to play the fat guy . . . Too fat to be fat. Damn."
Tired of "being overlooked" by Hollywood, the 31-year-old came to a turning point in his career and his life.
"I stopped being nice to the industry," he says, "because they're idiots. They didn't know what they wanted. They wanted some kind of stereotypical — they weren't giving it to the best person. They were giving it to the one that they thought would be OK.”
That's when May changed his routine. He stopped being politically correct and became just "correct."
"The audience loved it," May says, "because they're sick and tired of being politically correct, too. Sometimes you just want to say things that need to be said. And that's where I'm at."
May's tell-it-like-it-is, hip-hop comedy carried him all the way to the finals of NBC's reality television show and competition "Last Comic Standing." He finished second, losing to Dat Phan.
"When we all performed — the five of us performed in Vegas — I did a routine that took chances. I said how I wanted cheap gas and I was tired of whiny people upset with the world. I took chances and it probably cost me the competition," May admits.
But his runner-up status hasn't hurt his career. Since the show ended earlier this month, May's been busy doing interviews, performing at sold-out venues and meeting with production companies about possible film and television projects.
"I get woken up in the morning (to give) radio interviews all across the country . . . I perform until 1 or 2 (a.m.). Then it starts over the next day at five in the morning. I've had time to perform — I haven't had time to sleep," he jokes.
But May's not complaining.
"It's fantastic. I've got a comma in my bank account. I get to tell jokes to hundreds and hundreds of people a week . . . I'm so excited with life. It's the best it's ever been for me."
Last Comic Standing House Party
Where: Tempe Improv, 930 E. University Drive
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday
How much: $20
Info: (480) 921-9877