Lampanelli fights Westboro hate with comedy — and with cash for the GMHC

Lisa Lampanelli

Comedian Lisa Lampanelli — known for her equal opportunity insults against every group, minority or not and known as well as an LGBT rights supporter, despite her gay jokes — is performing tonight in Topeka, Kan. And of course, Fred Phelps and his bunch of loony-tunes from Westboro Baptist Church have announced they plan to protest outside the Topeka Performing Arts Center while Lampanelli is performing inside.

Taking a page, perhaps, from Resource Center Dallas‘ playbook, Lampanelli has announced that for every protester who shows up tonight, she’ll donate $1,000 to New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the country’s oldest AIDS/HIV service organization.

This has the potential to be a big money maker for GMHC.

Last July, the Phelps clan protested outside Resource Center Dallas because that’s where the primarily LGBT Congregation Beth El Binah holds its services. (The Phelps Phools protested outside Dallas’ Holocaust Museum and the Jewish Community Center that same day.) But instead of asking counter-protesters to come out to face off against the Westboro Baptist group — which often uses such encounters to provoke counter-protesters into doing something the WBC folks can sue over), RCD asked people to pledge donations to the center for every minute the WBC protesters remained outside the center. RCD ended up with more than $10,000, money that was used to purchase a new freezer to store food for the center’s meals program.

Personally, I am not a big fan of Lampanelli’s brand of insult-based comedy. It’s just not my cup of tea. But if I lived anywhere near Topeka, I would damn sure buy a ticket and go see her show tonight. Because anybody willing to open up their own pocketbook to turn Westboro Baptist’s hate into a positive thing for a worthy cause is somebody I am willing to support.

—  admin

Break out the circumcision jokes

As the Life+Style editor here, I get a lot of pitches for stories. Lately, people have been really hawking the Bible (“Who was Moses?,” “How can we get kids to read the Bible more?”), but easily the oddest one today was this from the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, which is hosting a one-night-only performance of a comedy — yes, comedy — called Circumcise Me. OK, now the flier itself describes the show as “on the cutting edge” so they at least get the joke, but really? I mean, where can we go with this?

So I throw it out there to you: What are your favorite zingers to describe this kind of show? I’ll get us started: “Might as well bring your friends — after all, the mohel, the merrier”… or how about, “Four stars? I give it foreskins!” … or maybe, “A slice of life story.”

Let’s hear yours.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Westboro Baptist Church to picket Dallas' gay Jewish congregation, Beth El Binah, in July

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor

Westboro Baptist Church will be in North Texas for a few days beginning Friday, July 9, according to their picketing schedule. Among their stops that day will be Congregation Beth El Binah, a Reform synagogue that meets at the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

Other stops listed are the Dallas Holocaust Museum on Record Street in the West End; the Jewish Community Center off Royal Lane and Central Expressway; the Texas Jewish Post, which is the local Jewish newspaper whose office is in a building on Beltline Road; and Yahneh Academy, a co-ed modern Orthodox high school in North Dallas.

“Oh, we’ll prepare something special for that evening,” said Beth El Binah Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor.

—  David Taffet