One of the funniest comedians working today, Ralphie May stole the spotlight in the first season of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" - by the end of the season in in Las Vegas, the audience was clearly behind Ralphie, as one could hear the audience chanting his name in the background of the final episode. However, May lost - in a surprise defeat - to not particularly funny newcomer Dat Phan.
The overweight comic (as he noted in his prior special, "Just Correct", "I was up for the role of a fat guy in a movie, and they said I needed to lose weight" and this time around, he cracks that the little handle on a subway train isn't going to be enough if the train comes to a complete stop) has a devastatingly funny style, with a delivery that alternates between rapid-fire riffs and a casual, good-natured goofiness.
Although the initial bit about Ralphie having to figure out ways to deal with a bit of rejection from his wife isn't one of the funniest stretches the comedian has done, but there's some decent chuckles (Ralphie enjoying telling his wife to get out of the car after an argument, which leads to a freak out by his wife until he reveals that they're at the spa and he did something nice for her) scattered throughout the section.
Ralphie does tend to lean towards racial humor, but his observations are genuinely funny and uses humor to break down stereotypes. Unlike a Carlos Mencia, Ralphie doesn't need to underline that any of this material is controversial, it's simply clever, deeply funny riffs. Some of the other funny gags include Ralphie's first experience drinking ultra-strong ("I should have known something was wrong when I added the cream and it didn't change color.") Cuban coffee, an amusing "Goonies" gag and Britney Spears going off the rails ("When she shaved her head, I was like, 'Is it my birthday?'")
The show is generally well-filmed, with solid camerawork and only one semi-irritating touch: cutting from color footage to black & white footage for no apparent reason. The running time of the show on Comedy Central was 60 minutes, and this is extended to 99 minutes. Although the show is certainly funny, it has a bit more impact and plays tighter as a 60 minute set. It would have been great to have the added material included as deleted footage.
VIDEO: "Austin-Tatious" is presented by Image in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sharpness and detail seemed perfectly fine - at least for the most part - as the picture often appeared crisp. The only concern was the presence of some slight shimmer in some scenes. Colors remained bright, vivid and clean, with no smearing.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The surrounds do offer up some mild surround use for crowd ambience, but otherwise remain - as one might expect from a stand-up show - silent. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue.
Final Thoughts: Although it isn't quite as consistently funny as some of his previous works ("Girth of a Nation"), Ralphie May still unleashes some serious laughs with "Austin-Tatious". Recommended.