(Published in the June 2010 issue)
She’s known as comedy’s Queen of Mean, and works hard to maintain that rep. After all, being a regular on Comedy Centrals Roast of... series helps comedian Lisa Lampanelli pay the bills.
After years of working her way up it seems the foul-mouthed sweetheart of comedy’s star is on the rise. In advance of her June 4 stand-up appearance at Pechanga, comedian Lisa Lampanelli talks with PacificSD about her career, her “fitness” and her newfound love interest.PacificSD
: You were a journalist before turning to comedy. Why the switch?
Lisa Lampanelli: You tell me. I mean, 10 grand a year versus being a billionaire? I think that’s an easy choice, huh?
How did you get started in stand-up?
Lampanelli: I took a little comedy class in Connecticut from a guy named Michael Jackson, not the dead one, and he taught us how to put together our first five minutes of material and kind of got me to where I thought I could get up the nerve to get onstage. Thankfully, it went really well. I called in sick the next day and then I started bucking to be laid off, ‘cause I just knew what was gonna happen-that it would lead to my wealthy celebrity status that I have today.
Have you ever been nervous about making fun of someone?
Lampanelli: Well if you like a person you can make fun of them and they won’t take it personally, but what I worry about is when I have to roast people who I don’t like, and there are a couple of those. You know, certainly nobody that’s a main roastee, because they wouldn’t say yes to being roasted if they were going to get angry. But some of the people on the Roasts aren’t my favorite and it’s really hard to make fun of them cuz you don’t want people to know that you actually don’t like them. The Roasts only work if the audience senses that people are friends.
Courtney Love comes to mind....
Lampanelli: You know what’s weird, she was so nice to me that I really didn’t hate her. You know she’s a really odd chick and you know, not so great to look at. She’s getting really hard on the old eyes.
Have you ever regretted any of your jokes?
Lampanelli: No, but I was a little scared to make fun of Gary Busey when we were roasting Larry the Cable Guy , because Gary Busey is insane. He’s literally had a brain injury. So, like, is he gonna not know I’m kidding? Is he gonna rush the stage? You just never know. Thankfully, he was so out of it he didn’t even understand that we were making fun of him. Also, I did a joke about Jerry Lewis when I was with him at the Friar’s Club, where I said “Don’t worry, Jerry, it’s almost over...and I don’t mean the roast." And then he had a heart attack two days later. I like to think that I had something to do with that.
Where’s your favorite place to perform?
Lampanelli: I’m sure you’d like for me to say whatever craphole I’m performing at, Pechanga or whatever-that’s my absolute favorite place in the world. That’s where I put on my best show. It wouldn’t be Radio City Music Hall. It wouldn’t be Carnegie Hall. It would absolutely be the Pechanga Resort, so people should come out. How’s that for bullsh!tting you?
Very well done. What do you think about San Diego?
Lampanelli: It’s not as sleek as LA, but the people still have money, which, you know, I don’t want no poor folks coming to my show, ‘cause they can’t afford the tickets and the merchandise. Also there’s a lot of different minorities, a lot of Mexicans-not as many as LA or Mexico, but you’re catching up.
Do you change your routine based on where you are?
Lampanelli: Nah I don’t change anything for anybody. None of you’s is more special than the other. Let me do say that I never do the same show twice because for comics it kind of depends on the audience, and who’s there and the different dynamic in the room. So people never see the same show, especially because I’m working on a new Comedy Central Special, so it’s all new material now. But I don’t really tailor it for like specific areas or anything like that.June is PacificSD’s body issue, so I have to ask: What you do to stay in shape
Lampanelli: You know what’s sick about me? I am the most physically fit chubby bitch, and it really pisses me off. I go to Candy Ranch Health Spa in Tucson, Arizona, where I have a house. They’re like, “Your bone density, your heart, all that’s in the best shape we’ve ever seen. Yet, you have so much body fat.” I’m like, “F#&$! you, you dirty Jews. So, basically I now have to work my ass off twice as hard, do the treadmills and all that crap. I gotta eat 1,500 rotten calories a day, and I’m still a chubby bitch. Lucky enough, I found a white guy who loves me despite the big ass, so I think things are looking up.Why should PacificSD
readers see your show?
Lampanelli: I say the C-word. I call people the N-word. Wouldn’t you like to go see that?
Sounds like fun for the whole family. What would you say if I told you I’m thinking about becoming a comedian?
Lampanelli: I would say quit, because you’re not funny. You know 90 percent of people suck ass and will never get beyond maybe $1,500 a week headlining at the Chuckle Hut. So I would say kill yourself or quit.
Thanks for the career advice, Lisa.