Ralphie May Gig Cancelled Over Jokes About Native Americans

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 14: Comedian Ralphie May performs during, Bud Light Presents Wild West Comedy Festival - "Friends Of Tim" a benifet for Comedian Tim Wilson who passed away eariler this year benifit held at TPAC Jackson Hall on May 14, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Bud Light)

ralphie may

Cancelled Over Insensitive Jokes

Comedian Ralphie May is the most recent comic to get caught up in a social media shitstorm this week as the actor has had to defend comments he made in a bit about Native Americans. A comedian named Adrianne Chalepah posted a 44 second clip to YouTube on Tuesday in which May can be heard going on a fiery rant, the crux of which was “Fuck a bunch of Indians.” According to startribune.com, a bunch of people said “fuck you” right back and got his appearance at the Bemidji Sanford Center cancelled, which was scheduled for this Saturday.

Here’s the clip:

The clip, apparently, was taken from a song by hip-hop group Savage Family. In the clip, May is heard saying “Fuck a bunch of Indians. I am sick of hearing about it. Are we supposed to boo-hoo over goddamn Indians? That shit that was 120 years ago. Fuckin’ get over it. Nobody 150 years ago was making you drink now. Dry up you bunch of alcoholics and go get a real fuckin’ job.”

He goes on to bemoan how Native Americans never reached the Bronze Age and how they were so easily taken down by “three Smallpox blankets and a bag of beads.”

The clip, on it’s own, is certainly damning. Ralphie May said on Twitter that the clip was edited, and that “the entire portion of the joke that makes it make sense is missing.”

May explained at length on Twitter that the rant is a part of an overarching joke that ultimately shows that having seething hatred for any particular group is fruitless and stupid. Taken at face value, this clip sounds like the hateful, delirious ramblings of a crotchety old man on some deep-southern porch, but of course, context is pretty important.

In the comments of the above tweet, May is asked why he hasn’t posted the full audio to prove that his words really were taken out of context, to which May replied: “Because I don’t even know where it came from. It’s not from any of my specials. I didn’t record it. It’s a bootleg.”

Chalepah, who first posted the sound clip to YouTube, put up the the audio because she found it offensive and wanted to bring attention to May’s act to hopefully help him understand the power of his words. Chalepah asks in the video’s description what other viewers think about the rant, because she “can take a joke, but this feel[s] a little too harsh for [her] to laugh.” In an email to Indian Country Today Media Network, she states that she posted the video because she saw May would be in town and that she “wanted him to understand that incorporating hate and stereotypes into his jokes about us can have real harm, especially in border towns where racism is felt every day.”

Unless this is secretly recorded audio of May at some white power rally, it’s likely that this is just a case of an aggressive joke that didn’t land; Or, more accurately, of a joke which, when only told in it’s incomplete form, just sounds terribly unfunny and insensitive (which is to say, most jokes.)

More information is sure to unfold as the week winds down. If you have any leads as to where the audio clip in question was extracted from (it has to be on YouTube,) email us.

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Bill Tressler

Bill is a writer and comedy enthusiast from New York. An avid gamer and podcast fan, he strives to always toe the line between charming irreverence and grating honesty.
Bill Tressler
Bill Tressler
Bill is a writer and comedy enthusiast from New York. An avid gamer and podcast fan, he strives to always toe the line between charming irreverence and grating honesty.