Ralphie May Dies

Comedian Ralphie May has passed away at the age of 45 due to cardiac arrest. His manager, Judi Marmel of LEG, confirmed the news to Pollstar.

Ralphie May
Mike Oberg / Pollstar
– Ralphie May
Tower Theatre, Fresno, Calif.

May’s body was discovered at a private residence in Las Vegas early this morning. His publicist said he was battling pneumonia and had canceled a handful of dates over the last month in an effort to recover.

The comedian had performances booked through the remainder of 2017, including his residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas. His next show was scheduled Friday at Harrah’s. May won the Casino Comedian of the Year at the Global Gaming Expo earlier this week.

May is survived by his wife, Lahna Turner, and children April June May and August James May.

Pollstar had the honor of having May host 2015’s Pollstar Awards at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.   

“Oh man fellow comedian and friend Ralphie May just died. So crazy. RIP Ralphie. You my friend were one of the nicest and kindest out there,” Larry The Cable Guy tweeted. “Ralphie was one of the first people to congratulate me when I started filming blue collar tv. I’ll miss knowing he’s not out there anymore.”

Marmel released the following statement to Pollstar about May:

In an already difficult week, Ralphie May, a comic devoted to helping other people escape the problems of every day life with laughter, has passed from cardiac arrest. 

At a time when stand-up is again finding a resurgence, Ralphie hit the stage nightly to share his truth-telling observations about the world we live in.

A comic’s comic with a heart as big as the man himself, Ralphie built a career uniting people in the absurdity of judgement and inherent contradictions in the world in which we live. Having just this week won the Casino Comic of the Year Award — recognizing his Las Vegas residency at Harrah’s — he was preparing for his next comedy special and the release of his auto-biography, “This Might Get A Little Heavy,” from St. Martin’s press.

An acolyte of Sam Kinison, known for blowing up institutional thinking, there was a deep vein of humanity to May’s work, and that love for the fans, his family and the people he worked with defines him as much as any joke or appearance he might have made.

As his manager and his friend, I will miss his laugh, his generosity to fellow comedians, his trademark orneriness, and his enormous love of life. He left us entirely too soon — and we can only wonder where his comedy might have taken all of us. We send our love to his family, his fans, and all the comics who shared stages with him across the country.

It’s a big loss, one that will no doubt be felt for years to come.

Jason Squires / Getty Images for Pollstar
– Ralphie May Hosts Pollstar Live 2015
Ralphie May hosts the 26th Annual Pollstar Awards at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Feb. 21. He may not have been “Nashville” in his approach to comedy, but he was still a hit and his agency, WME, is apparently feeling the love.