Max May, a New York-based comedian, walked away with first place honors at the Winter Film Awards Winter Laughs Competition, held January 19-21 at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City. We checked in with him a few days after his big win to see how he was dealing with his newfound fame.
You won! How does it feel?
I love it! It’s, honestly, I went in to have fun. I went up second, and the people who went up after me were really good, so I was surprised that I won! I’m really honored, but I think a lot of the other comedians deserved it too.
Aw, you’re so polite. Have you ever won anything before?
In 2014, there was a competition, it wasn’t on this level, but a comedian dropped out at the last minute and I came in as a sub. I didn’t think I was actually competing, I just thought I was filling a slot, but I ended up winning the whole thing.
How long have you been doing this?
Six years. When I was in college I did some theater and comedy sketches, and there was a talent show at my school, and my friends pushed me, they said, you’re always telling jokes, get up there, so I did and I had fun. Then I graduated and I got a real job. For a couple of years, I had a couple of bad relationships back to back, and I thought, why am I chasing these girls, why don’t I chase what I really want to do?
Now that you’ve won the Winter Laughs Competition, do the girls chase you?
Ha. I didn’t get into it for that. I have a few who followed me around for a while, but I try to avoid that. On the other side, it’s hard to maintain a steady relationship.
Do you tour a lot?
No, not really. I’ve built a schedule of shows around New York, mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you do comedy in New York, the world comes to you. But that’s the next level, to get out of New York. I want to travel the world and perform all over the globe.
How would you describe your own work? When I saw you, it seemed to be less about the jokes and more about the whole sensibility your bring to your work.
That’s the thing, it’s hard for me to analyze myself. I’m so into it, I can’t be objective. I like to paint a picture, be as vivid as possible and as descriptive as possible. My goal is to present to people in situations that all of us have seen. Like with the body builder part of my act, we’ve all seen those types of guys. When I tell that story, I want it to be as visual as possible. I try to show it. It’s like a child explaining a story—it’s very visual, they do sound effects and they use their whole body to get their point across. It’s beyond telling jokes, it’s a performance, it’s painting a picture.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t have any spare time! Between work and comedy, I’m lucky to have four or five hours to sleep at night.
Where can people see you perform?
Starting February 5th, I’ll be at the Village Lantern every Friday at 8 p.m. It’s a free show, and it’s going to be my workout room.