On his latest standup special ''Too Big to Ignore,'' Ralphie May says, ''I wish this was just jokes. Not one of these stories makes me look good, not one of them.''
May doesn't shy away for embarrassing, personal stories about life with his wife, comedian Lahna Turner, and their two children, April and August, in his standup act.
''There's a bit about my daughter that's gross and disgusting that I can't tell you about,'' May said during a telephone interview from a tour stop in Nevada. ''It's unprintable. None of my stories are really printable about my wife and kids.''
That doesn't mean he doesn't tell them on stage or on Comedy Central. Ralphie May is Bill Cosby if Cosby's kids had a penchant for groping models in elevators or were intimately exposed to the messy aftermath of their parents' ... ahem, interpersonal relationship.
The wife and kids came after May appeared in the first edition of ''Last Comic Standing,'' finishing second to Dat Phan in a decision as inexplicable as last weekend's Pacquiao-Bradley fight. And for the prolific comedian who has released five standup specials in the last decade, it provides a wealth of new material.
''I have two great things to write off of, two great things that a lot of people have, two wonderful things that people can relate to,'' May said. ''From that venue, I can go to a half million different topics from that.''
WHO: Ralphie May
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Powers Auditorium, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $49, $39 and $29
Family isn't the only thing that inspires May. Much of ''Too Big to Ignore'' tackles race, immigration, homophobia, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and politics in a way that will make those on all sides of the issues laugh and recoil at different times.
That doesn't mean that May will be covering the same topics, at least not in the same way, when he performs Tuesday at Powers Auditorium.
''Most of it is retired,'' May said. ''I only continue things that are still in the forefront of people, still in the news, like the Arizona stuff (the state's immigration law). That's still happening in the public eye.''
In ''Too Big to Ignore,'' May suggests sending gang bangers to Afghanistan to fight (and paying them in Hot Pockets) instead of U.S. forces. He's currently honing a bit about how the government should be using the funds spent on rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq.
''Let's work on rebuilding Detroit,'' he said. ''We should work on rebuilding Newark. We could fix some roads. Let's get that construction done in Newark and Youngstown.''
One of the down sides of May's success is the time he has to spend on the road away from his family. A sitcom he and his wife are writing may change that, but May is skeptical that a network will be willing to take a chance on it.
''It's really politically incorrect, really controversial,'' he said. ''No one touched this since Archie Bunker.''