Performances at Hard Rock Live Hollywood and Hard Rock Live Orlando
June 5 and 6
Comedian Lisa Lampanelli, affectionately dubbed “The Queen of Mean,” has been bringing her own brash, in-your-face brand of insult comedy to the masses for over a decade. Beneath the bawdy humor is a progressive activist with a soft side, as we’ve seen through her work with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and her own weight loss transformation, which audiences saw in real time. “I’ve been a size 4 and I’ve been a size 24, and I’ve been unhappy both of those times,” she told us recently. But, by using her gifts of gab and humor, she aims to bring people together, and ultimately her wish is for everyone to laugh and be happy. “If you can’t take a joke, leave” is her motto, and also words she lives by in her own life.
Lisa Lampanelli will be performing two shows very soon here in the Sunshine State, to the excitement of quite a few people here! The first scheduled performance is at Hard Rock Live Hollywood, on Friday, June 5 at 8 p.m. The next night, she will be performing at Hard Rock Live Orlando, also at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35 per person for the Hollywood performance and $38 for the Orlando performance. You can buy your tickets now by going to her website at insultcomic.com/schedule.
I spoke with Lisa Lampanelli for this exclusive Hotspots interview, in which she opened up to us about her comedy and her love for the LGBT community.
Welcome back to Florida! Tell me, what’s the one thing you like the most about our state?
That I don’t have to live there, you white trash b-st-rd! [laughs] I mean, everyone who lives in Florida is either working in the nail salon because they’re lazy or elderly and about to die. When I come down there, I will change the name of my tour to “The White Trash America Tour” just for your state!
Please tell us about your shows that are coming up at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood and Orlando. What should audiences expect from you?
I just taped my new special for Epix called “Back to the Drawing Board” [airing June 26] because people kept asking me, “What’s going on with your divorce? What’s going on with your weight loss? What drove you to have weight loss surgery?” I keep getting all these e-mails from fans, so I wanted to answer all the questions that you guys want to know about me.
So for these shows I’m going to let people know all the things that have been going on in my life. I taped my special a month ago so I’ve added even more material that you all will get to see, but it won’t be on TV for three more years. I talk about my crappy old relationships and more of my opinions on douchebags in general. None of the stuff you’re going to see in concert has played on TV yet. Then of course I will be insulting the audience, and I deliver, as you know.
The gay community is a pretty sizable portion of your fan base. Have you been friends with gay people your whole life?
Oh, yeah, I’ve always had gay friends. Half the time, I didn’t even know they were gay, I just liked them. So I’ve never had any prejudice toward gays; in my mind’s eye, they just are. There are some people who say, “Oh, I want to be best friends with all the gay guys,” and I say, “Honey, there are just as many bitchy gays as there are nice gays.” Just like there are bitchy straighties and good ones. I just found myself being friends with gay guys a lot, in high school, in college, and after. They accept me and I accept them. It works out.
I am surprised that recently I’ve found out that I have a lesbian fan base. I guess in the past few years they developed a sense of humor. I couldn’t believe it! I think they just like me because they want to get up in it. I think I’m going to give myself seven more years before I totally give up on men.
You’ve donated very heavily to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. When did you first become involved with them, and what does their work mean to you?
The original way it started was that I had found out that the Westboro Baptist Church was going to protest my show in Topeka, Kansas. I abhor them, I hate them, and they are the biggest example of what’s wrong with people everywhere. So I decided I wanted to donate $1,000 for every protester that showed up. I had just seen the play The Normal Heart, which is just gorgeous. I went online and looked up the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and I read about all the great things they do, so I decided I wanted to donate money to them. So in the end I donated $50,000. I thought only 20 protesters would show up, and I ended up writing a check for 50 grand, but it’s worth it for my f-gs, right? Then when I was on Celebrity Apprentice, I earned another $130,000 more for them, and that felt really good.
When I first saw your standup routine, I remember laughing hysterically and then feeling bad that I laughed.
Oh, yeah. It’s like anal sex. The first time takes a lot of lube and alcohol, but then you get why it’s good. Not that I know that first-hand or anything but that’s what I’ve heard.
I don’t think you should ever feel bad about laughing at someone if you laugh at everyone equally. I make fun of whites, blacks, gays, straights, Latinos and Asians. We’re all in this together; we can laugh at anything.
Do you still get people in the audience, after all these years, who don’t realize you’re just telling jokes?
After I’ve been so vocal about all the causes that I’m interested in…no. I really don’t anymore. Three specials ago, I said a big bit at the end of the special and it was something to the effect of, “If you’re laughing for the wrong reasons, you’re not welcome anymore.” I think people started to realize that, “Oh, she’s not just making fun of Jews or gays or deaf people. She’s making fun of everybody in order to bring everyone together.” If people can laugh at others and not themselves, they’re the ones with problems.
It reminds me of a few weeks ago when I went to see Kathy Griffin in Lakeland with a drag queen friend of mine who dressed up as Kathy. People were giving her weird looks, and I thought, “Have you heard Kathy’s comedy? How can you be surprised by a drag queen?”
Oh, my God! I love it when drag queens dress up as me! Make sure you put that in the article! Any drag queens who can do a fierce Lisa Lampanelli, come on out. Hell, I’ll bring you on stage with me! I don’t even care. I’ll give them some of my old dresses! I love that. It’s the highest form of flattery, as Samantha from Sex and the City says.
I’m going to have to issue a call to all the drag queens now.
Do it! That would make my entire weekend in Florida.
A reader question: Out of all the Friar’s Club roasts you’ve been a part of, what moment was the funniest in your opinion, and why?
Personally, I like being made fun of. I really get a kick when someone tells a good joke about me. My favorite joke was one Artie Lange told about me, and this was when he was at his fattest. He was probably like 350 pounds, he had the grayest skin from heroin use, and he said, “If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, ‘Hey, aren’t you Lisa Lampanelli?'” I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s my favorite joke ever about me. If you’re gonna make fun of people, you gotta take it too, and I love taking it.
I’ve asked this question to a few other celebrities and I am curious to hear your answer: Now that gay marriage is more or less a settled topic, what or whom should the LGBT community advocate for next?
The marriage thing is definitely happening, and it’s for the better. I always say, “Gays should now lobby to ban ugly people from marrying each other,” because look at the travesties that come from that. Three words: Honey Boo Boo. Gays should definitely lobby against ugly marriage. Because there’s nobody more beauty-conscious than the gays.
What else is on the horizon for you this year?
I’m actually taking a class called “Teaching for Transformation” because I really want to start doing motivational speaking on serious topics, and hopefully I can build on that and speak to large arenas. Motivational speaking, for me, is important because I want to use my humor in the hope that people will get a larger message.
I’m also going to become a certified yoga dance instructor. I’m completely uncoordinated and I don’t feel comfortable going to a class, so I want to show people that an uncoordinated b-tch like me can teach a yoga dance class and all the other uncoordinated women can come join me. Most women who are insecure about their weight are afraid to go to regular classes because they feel out-of-place. If the teacher sucks as bad as them, I think it will make them feel better. Everyone will have a good time, and I enjoy being the skinniest one in the room now.
For more information on Lisa Lampanelli, visit her website at insultcomic.com. Her stand-up special “Back to the Drawing Board” airs June 26 on EPIX. Please consult your cable or satellite provider to find if EPIX is part of your television package.