Lisa Lampanelli is leaner and meaner in her new act
There was a time when you recognized Lisa Lampanelli as much by her blowsy frame, hidden under rows of petticoats, as you did her saucy mouth and no-holds-barred one-liners.
But that was more than 100 pounds ago. Not only has Lampanelli become slim and sexy, the comedian — who notoriously dated only black guys — is married to a white guy, and she’s wearing slimmer-hipped clothing to show off her rockin’ bod.
Has the world turned upside down? It’s not possible, is it, that she’s … gotten … nice?
You don’t hate her because she’s beautiful — she’s still armed to do all the hating, thank you.
“Fuck these hillbillies,” Lampanelli says on the phone from somewhere near Sioux Falls, S.D., a stop on her tour that will bring her back to Dallas for her semi-annual laughfest on April 26, this time at the Majestic.
You might think insulting your hosts isn’t the best way to engender repeat business, but then you don’t know Lampanelli. She’s turned the art of bigoted rants into a thriving career.
“That’s the best thing about being a comic draw is that everyone makes money,” she says.
Domesticity has yet to soften Lampanelli. She still makes fun of her husband (although she admits he’s a sex symbol in the bear community) and “I trash my dog onstage even though he’s the best dog in the world,” she says. And people get it.
Remarkably, it’s not just in metropolitan areas or blue states where she sells out — it’s everywhere, from San Fran to Salt Lake. Because her fans understand and appreciate Lampanelli’s brand of humor.
“How do they react [in blue states]? It’s not like they’re just showing up to the theater and saying, ‘Who’s this?’ and getting offended,” she says. Not that she still doesn’t get a few humorless audience members.
“Everybody [at one of my concerts] is allowed to laugh at everybody else, but if you can’t laugh at yourself, you shouldn’t [come],” she says, noting some groups have a better sense of humor about themselves than others.
“I always have so much luck with gay guys and any Latinos — they’re very open and great to me. Also interracial [couples]. Gay women were harder to warm up to me, but I eventually win all groups over,” she says. And those she hasn’t turned?
“You can’t worry about every single person. I have strong opinions about who I hate, and some people will have similar reactions to me.”
It helps knowing that most of Lampanelli’s jokes are meant to be ironic; her onstage persona is Archie Bunker, but in real life she’s Queen of the Fag Hags.
“As far as gay marriage goes, you cornholers should be able to legally marry,” she says. “If two guys get married, they should move in next door to me! They’ll put up a beautiful tool shed with cock rings displaced on colorful hooks and dildos in descending order of size. Plus they adopt — of course, it’s easier to get an Asian kid than a real one. If [anyone should be prevented from marrying], it’s ugly people. I got three words: Honey Boo Boo.”
Lampanelli’s fans surprise her constantly.
“I’m always in shock when anyone has heard of me or when older people really get me. I wanna say, ‘Are you sure you know why you’re here?’” she says. “I’m also surprised when anybody smart likes me. I was at the [Writers Guild Awards] a few weeks ago and Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen and Colin Jost were scared to come up to me! [Once they did,] they were gushing about being fans of mine. Barry Manilow is a big fan. It shows you how uncool people can still have cool views of things.”
Lampanelli has become almost as notorious for her Twitter wars as for her celebrity roast monologues. She famously exchanged tweets with Donald Trump, and is currently targeting Dogg The Bounty Hunter for her 140 characters of wrath. But whether online or onstage, Lampanelli says she’s never gone too far.
“At least I don’t think so,” she says. “I don’t remember any instance I felt sorry or bad. It’s a lot of fun to make fun of people. I made jokes about Liza Minnelli’s husband, David Gest, being gay, and I got a letter from her lawyer. Of course what did that lead to? More jokes!”
Virtually all of those jokes will be fresh, Lampanelli promises — her Dallas concert will feature all-new material.
“You rich people need laughter, too,” she says.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 19, 2013.