Exclusive Interview: Ralph Harris of 'Last Comic Standing'
Exclusive Interview: Ralph Harris of 'Last Comic Standing'
Ralph Harris is one hot  comedian.  A stand up veteran, he has been seen on many tv shows from Seinfeld to In Living Color and even had his own show for a while on ABC called On Our Own.  Recently, he made him film debut in Dreamgirls and followed that up with an appearance in Evan Almighty.  Harris made it to the final five on this season of Last Comic Standing up against Amy Schumer, Lavell Crawford, Gerry Dee, and Jon Reep.  This fall, he'll head out on tour with his fellow finalists to perform live and meet his fans.  Ralph took time to talk to BuddyTV today about who he blames for his elimination on Last Comic Standing.

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview

Hey everybody, this is Gina from BuddyTV and I’m talking to Ralph Harris from Last Comic Standing. Ralph, how ya doing?

I’m great, I’m great, the latest to get booted.

I know, I’m so sad you got booted. I actually thought you were gonna go all the way.

And I did but I felt like I had a really good chance of doin’ it and I think that a lot of the viewing audience that favored me were probably sitting there thinking that they’d catch it on TIVO and they didn’t pick up on the idea that eventually, you gotta vote.

Yeah, you did so well in those head-to-head competitions. Do you think something changed when the world got to vote?

No, I don’t. I think that, like I said, with the inventive TIVO, people just sat back, thought that, “Well, we’ll check it out Sunday, we’ll check it out on Saturday.” ‘cause that’s what I’m getting. A lot of people on my site are apologizing for watching the show too late and by the time they got ready to vote, it was too late.

So, you have a website where your fans can get a hold of you?

Yeah, RalphHarris.com, yeah RalphHarris.com. They can talk to me and also, can reach me on MySpace. I answer all my emails and I talk to as many people as I can and that’s part of the reason why I’ve been able to sell out comedy clubs and theater shows and stuff.

I know how I would feel to pay your money for a ticket and you feel like you wanna be able to express your gratitude to the person who’s performing. I just give people a way to do that. It doesn’t hurt me, I’m sitting around doing it anyway. As I come from the gym, I’m sitting so, mind as well answer a couple emails.

Now, growing up, were there comics that really influenced you?

Absolutely, I’m influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, Red Fox. I used to listen to all those comedy albums and now, I’m working on a one-man show that is a lot like what I used to watch with Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg. I wanna take my show to Broadway, that’s my dream.

Oh, that would be amazing, that would be really cool.

I’m really looking forward to that.

Well, let’s talk about the early part of your career. Can you tell me how you got started and what made you start to do standup?

Well, my mom was always the funniest person in my family and every time she told something funny, it was always in the form of a story or she would mimic, you know, people. She was a very good mimic. So I said, “Man, I wanna be able to affect people the way my mother does,” so she was my first inspiration.

Then, I wanted to be in the circus but that never panned out because when you live in the inner city, of Philadelphia, the chances of the circus coming and pulling you away are gonna be very slim. I used to watch all those Burt Lancaster movies and thinking, “Wow, one day they’ll come and get me!” And it just never worked out. Even though back in the day, when I was a messenger, I would go down to where the circus would be in Philadelphia and I would volunteer. I would shovel stuff and the most I ever ended up with was free tickets.

Well, that’s not so bad.

Yeah, but it was never them saying, “Hey, we’re gonna take you on the road, kid! You’re gonna learn the trapeze, then we’re gonna work you into that clown thing.” Because I always wanted to be last clown getting out of the car with the really big butt because that’s the one that everybody would laugh at, you know?

So, apparently, you don’t have a fear of clowns like a lot of people do.

No, I don’t have a fear of clowns. Clowns are my best friend.

When you had that challenge where you thought you were talking to the Deal or No Deal girls and you ended up with the clown…

As a matter fact, did you see that? As I’m sitting down, when I got to the clown, I just started laughing because that’s when I started telling her the story. I wanted to be a clown. Her name was Clarabel.

That wasn’t even an act. You were being dead serious.

Oh, yeah, I was serious as a heart attack. The only time that I wish I had controlled myself better was when I walked in the room and the transvestite was in there. To see that… if I had been drinking milk, it would’ve came straight out my nose.

Well, that was a pretty rough transvestite.

I mean, it was just like, I don’t even know transvestites that dress their faces up to look like Chinese doll masks. You know, it was like, “What are you doing?” And then she goes, “I don’t see anything funny,” and I said, “Have you looked at your face?”   At the same time, I was trying to remember that there’s a person underneath there whose feelings might get hurt but I was thinking, “You subject yourself to everything I can think to say with your face looking like that!”

Did you like those challenges or did you struggle with them?

That’s the weird part. I mean, I think all of us went into it thinking that none of us were really going to sweep these challenges because it’s gonna be something weird that they feel is associated with comedy in some way but not necessarily the comedy that we do.

So, America has a fun time getting a chance to see those goofy little things but for the most part, the one thing I knew I could handle and knew I could control to a degree was gonna be the standup part. So I figured I would just continue working on my act because, more than likely, I’ll end up in the head-to-head because I’m not gonna get immunity even though I wanted it that one week when…

When Amy won?

Yeah, the one week that I really wanted it. And I kind of needed it, I needed an emotional break because my mom was going through some stuff, she had had a stroke and everything. I didn’t wanna tell America that on camera because I was like, “I don’t need that sympathy thing.” You know, I mean, I didn’t want the sympathy vote because I figured, “Hey, I’m just as good as everyone else” and I wanted to be appreciated for my talent.

It happens the way it happens and now, I just continue to get ready to go out on this tour. We’re all getting ready to go out on tour on the 21st. We do a 42-city tour. We get a chance to go out and just be all together and they get to see us the way we like to be, to be seen.

I actually heard from Doug (Benson) that you once had a short-lived sitcom. Is that a true story?

Yeah, I had a sitcom called On Our Own on ABC and I played the oldest brother and the aunt and it was actually a show that was written for the kids on the show. It wasn’t my show and once they tested it, I became the star of the show. So you can’t help what Hollywood is gonna do when they start doing all that stuff so I just went with it. It turned out good. It’s started picking up again and I just did these two movies. I did Dreamgirls. I did Evan Almighty so it’s picking up.

Yeah, definitely. Is your goal after the tour to get more tv or you really looking to put together that Broadway thing.

The tv would be great. I like tv and I like the idea of being able to kind of being stable in one spot. Because you know, I’ve had relationships suffer horribly because I’ve been on the road, you know. So I’m probably gonna do my touring but I like to be able to be stationary for the most part of the week.

I loved seeing you on the show, I wanted to wish you good luck.

Thank you so much.

Alright, have a great day, Ralph.

Take care, love.

- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)