Leaner & meaner

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THE BITCH IS BACK | Lisa Lampanelli slimmed down, married up, adopted a dog and released an new DVD, ‘Tough Love,’ left. It’s almost enough to make her nice …. nah.

Insult comic Lisa Lampanelli loves the gays despite her slurs. And she thinks Bill Maher was right about Sarah Palin. Gotta love that

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Since she was last in Dallas almost two years ago, shock comic Lisa Lampanelli has become a changed person. She’s slimmer and no longer wears frilly petticoats. She settled down and married her boyfriend, and he’s — get this — not black. She’s adopted a Yorkshire terrier mix puppy. She appears on the way to blissful domesticity. In fact the last time we talked, she called me a “big dirty homo.” This time, she was nice.

All of which led us to wonder: Has Lisa Lampanelli gone soft?

No fuckin’ way.

In her latest comedy special, Tough Love, Lampanelli rails on the gays in her audience, calling them bun splitters, tush ticklers, fudge nudgers, semen demons and “David Archuletta.”

But the truth is, she is a softie — in her own way.

“I love the cornholers,” she says. “If you hate gays, get out — you’re not allowed to be my friend anymore. Without the gays, who would watch Bravo TV? Without the gays, who would run Bravo TV? Without the gays, who would say ‘Bravo!’?”

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 3.54.09 PMBut married life — and quasi-parenthood (she adopted a puppy) — have brought out a different side to her.

“It’s hard to justify being ‘I was edgy and suddenly I’m transformed.’ But there’s enough crap that pisses me off every single day. What has softened me a little is we adopted this 7-lb. Yorkie. Jimmy brings him on stage and I turn into the biggest fag in the world. We named him Parker, after Sarah Jessica Parker because they’re both ugly-cute.”

One other thing: She’s beginning to develop a (gulp!) conscience.

“I don’t know what it is about aging, but I’ve begun to think, ‘Maybe I hurt her feelings —I hope not.’ I feel terrible if I make a joke about someone, like Sarah Jessica Parker, whose not an asshole but a really nice person.” She even met the Kardashians after mocking them for years, only to be charmed by them in person.

“They were so goddamn nice to me, it took me four years to work up the nerve to do jokes about them again,” she says.

Some celebs, though, she doesn’t worry about pissing off, as the closing “roast” on her comedy special will attest.

“I loved doing that,” Lampanelli says. “I had all these great jokes about all these idiots in the entertainment field — and I use that term loosely — that I would never get to do, so I just let loose.”

She had one of her most surreal experiences when she recently did The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump with Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorentino, whose routine was such a bomb, you could hear crickets chirping.

Lisa-Lampanelli140“Did you see that train wreck?” she squeals. “You thought it was painful for you guys to watch? Imagine being there. It wasn’t fun to watch. It’s weird to watch somebody bomb, even if you don’t like that person. But what is stupid about him is, he’s so delusional he comes up to me  after and says, ‘That went pretty well, right?’”

Lampanelli has been on the receiving end of barbs for herself, and she admits the jokes can get brutal.

“It’s always a struggle. You get made fun of for certain categories — they never say unfunny or dumb because I’m clearly funny and really smart. For me, it’s fat and ugly. They will be like ‘that fat cunt’ unless I am a size 6. My favorite one ever was when Artie Lange was at his obese, ugliest worst and he said, ‘Someone came up to me and said, ‘Aren’t you Lisa Lampanelli?’”

It’s one reason she has no sympathy for Sarah Palin when Bill Maher called her a cunt.

“People are so fucking stupid,” she says with the decorum that has made her a hit at christenings and golden wedding anniversaries. “Choice of words is the most ridiculous thing to attack when we have freedom of speech. I hate the Westboro Baptist Church, but letting them have GodHates Fags.com allows me to do what I do. And Sarah Palin is a cunt, by the way. I’m just sad I didn’t get in more trouble when I called her a ‘retard producer.’”

The reason Lampanelli’s acts works is because she’s an equal opportunity offender. And that only works when people laugh at themselves.

“Hispanics in general are very much more open with a sense of humor about themselves than other groups. Gays are great, of course. A few Asians will laugh it up at gay and black jokes and then I say ‘chink’ and they say, ‘No, that’s going too far.’ The jokes I get in trouble for are autism and retarded kid jokes. But people have come to me to say, ‘My kid is autistic; thanks for including us.’ It’s the least form of prejudice. If you’re gonna make fun of blacks, Asians and gays, you gotta laugh at everybody.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal: Because they still need us

ROBERT MOORE  Team Dallas Voice

Robert Moore Team Dallas Voice
ROBERT MOORE Team Dallas Voice

I left the office and went out for lunch today.  Not an uncommon occurrence. I go out almost every day. The biggest challenge I have before I leave the building is deciding where to eat. Dallas is a restaurant town, you know.

Where to eat? How much to spend? How far to travel? How much time do I have in my schedule today? So many decisions to be made just for a simple lunch.

Not today.

Today I had lunch with Jennifer Hurn, the client services manager for Resource Center Dallas, one of the beneficiaries of Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, along with AIDS Services of Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County.

I had called Jennifer and told her I was riding Lone Star Ride this weekend and I wanted to meet some of the clients at the Hot Meals Program, which she oversees. Ultimately, when you are holding out your hand and asking people for money to support a cause, your cause, you want to know and see that the money they hand over to you is doing some good.

The RCD’s Hot Meals Program serves between 100 to 150 clients every weekday. Today’s menu was barbeque chicken, green beans with potatoes, garlic toast, a salad, plus cake for those, like me, that have a sweet tooth.

To be eligible for the meal, a client must be HIV-positive, have an income at or below 300 percent of the poverty level and fall under Ryan White funding.

“We see some people once a week and some every day,” Hurn explains. “The numbers always go up at the end of the month when the social security money starts to run out. Always. We have a total of over 900 clients who are eligible for the meal.

If they all showed up on a single day, I don’t know what we would do.”

Jennifer doesn’t want to face that prospect and I understand her fears. Most of the chairs are taken.

After going down the serving line, we sit down with Edward, a longtime client. Edward lives in Oak Cliff and takes the bus on his daily trip to RCD. The journey takes him an hour-and-a-half to two hours each way.

“I have been coming here for years. I’m an old-timer at this place. Plus I’m 60 years old,” he says, shaking his head with a grin, something of an acknowledgment he didn’t expect to be around this long. He notes that while the trip is onerous because he walks with a back brace and the help of a cane, he looks forward to it.

“If I don’t come here I may not see many people. I try to get to know people, especially the new folks who may not be comfortable at first.” Edward is the welcoming voice closest to the serving line.

While Edward holds court, Jennifer and I change tables to meet some of the other diners. Rick and Mike are longterm AIDS survivors.  Rick became positive in 1997, Mike in 1987.

They both were successful businessmen who held professional jobs and never expected to be clients of a non-profit like Resource Center, but HIV has taken its toll and neither are able to work. Now, they live together to look after each other, have some company and help with living expenses.

“This place is important to me,” Rick states firmly. “I take a lot of medication and, well, it can make me confused,” he confides. “I really like to cook. I used to cook all the time, but now, well, many times I start cooking but I can’t finish what

I’m cooking. I don’t remember what to do next so I just give up. But then the medicine makes you sick if you are not eating.

This lunch solves a lot of problems for me.”

Rick looks straight at me, and I realize that he is about to say something he hates to admit: “Plus this place gives me a reason to get up and get dressed and gets me out. If I didn’t come here I might never go outside.”

Mike nods his head in agreement. “The interaction at the table is very important. There are people going through what you are going through, or maybe you can help somebody with a problem that you had once. Maybe you can teach them about Social Security or how to make it through a day at Parkland. Living on charity is not an easy way to live.

“There are homeless people here. They can get groceries from the Food Pantry but if you have no place to cook, how are you going to eat a hot meal? At least the kids on the street can get one hot meal a day.”

Mike knows a few of the homeless kids who got sick and went back home to stay. Their parents thought they just had a sick kid, then they found out they had a gay kid too, so they just turned them out on the street. “Isn’t that wrong?” he asks in disgust.  “Is to me.”

Edward and Mike and Rick turn a few questions to me. Why are you here? Why are you taking notes? I explain that I am doing Lone Star Ride, writing this installment of LSR Journal and, most importantly, asking people for money to keep programs like Hot Meals going.

“The great thing about the ride is that it a very public statement,” Mike says. “You let people know that AIDS is still here. It’s still with me, that’s for sure.”

Jennifer asks how Lone Star Ride fundraising is going. She knows it is tough out there raising money. “Whatever you raise, we will make it go as far as possible,” she promises.

Indeed she does. For that thirty bucks I spend on a typical business lunch, Jennifer can feed an RCD client a hot lunch every weekday for a month. On thirty bucks. Amazing.

The crew and the riders who come together to make events like Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS work ultimately are there because they want to help people like Edward and Mike and Rick, and all the clients and the programs of the three beneficiaries.

We ride for those who cannot.  I am determined to ride every mile.

As I get up to leave, Rick stands up and shakes my hand, and invites me back. I accept. I tell him we’ll share a table again. Because like Rick says, “I like going out for lunch.”

Robert Moore is captain of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to him online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Letters • 07.02.10

Working tirelessly isn’t ‘too pretty’

I feel that I must respond to the article “Have we made the face of AIDS too pretty?” by David Webb in the June 11 issue of Dallas Voice.

Twenty-two years ago, my partner and I started a variety troupe for no other reason than because we sat many days and nights with friends in our bowling community as they were dying of this dreadful disease, making a difference by changing their briefs, bathing them or cleaning them up after a sick episode. Later, we would cry our eyes out, wishing we were able to help them more.

We started our group to help raise money in any way we could so those friends could have some chance at a quality life amid all the “toil and trouble.”

To say that in doing benefit shows we are glamorizing the face of AIDS, quite honestly, is crap. We, along with many of our friends, have seen the angry head of the “face of AIDS” rise up and take down far too soon so many of those whom we loved and cared for.

Did you know that 90 percent of money raised in our community is raised by men and women who donate their time and talents to entertain in some shape, form or fashion just to try and make a difference? Heaven knows, the government cares very little about the population that is faced with this dreaded disease every single day.

There have been many weekends I wanted to just stay home and watch movies with my partner and spend time with my animals. But my partner and I both believe we have a job to do. You may call it glamorizing the face of AIDS, but we do this with a heartfelt passion that should give hope to many that we are trying to make a difference in their lives somehow, someway, now.

So the next time you hear that someone has gone to get food from the food pantry, or that someone has gotten assistance with their rent so they didn’t have to live on the streets, or that someone who is at a critical stage in their disease and wants to visit their family one last time and they got the plane ticket they needed; remember it is because of all the many wonderful men and women of our community who spend their free time trying to help those in need.

Let me finish by challenging you to come watch us as we tirelessly work our butts off every weekend trying to raise money, one dollar at a time, for those brothers and sisters in need.

If you think what we do “glamorizes” AIDS, then get up off your sofa or bar stool and do your part by working as hard as we do.

I pray to God that the men and women who work so hard and care so much will always stand together, because, heaven knows, if it wasn’t for us, it wouldn’t get done.

Just know there are many organizations that stand with us and know what goes into the things we do, and why we do them.

Home for The Holidays Texas Inc., Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, Cedar Creek Lake Meals on Wheels, Fort Worth AIDS Food Pantry and AIDS LifeWalk are but a few.

Glamour is about guts — remember that!

Linze Serell, aka Bill Lindsey
Miss Charity America 2010


Hardy, don’t get so worked up

Re: “A platform of ideas — bad ideas” by Hardy Haberman (Dallas Voice, June 25)

Every convention cycle, the apparatchiks within the Texas GOP outdo themselves by passing increasingly bizarre, and unfortunately offensive, party platforms. Why get worked up over these manifestos, which are ground out by a roomful of tools, who are accountable to no one?

It’s an election year, so this is the time to talk to candidates and officeholders who are running under both party labels about the virtue of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and not give credibility to these documents which under our system of government maintain the same force of law as the most recent issue of Tiger Beat magazine.

Steve Labinski
Austin

TO SEND A LETTER  |  We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters and those addressing a single issue are more likely to be printed. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include  your home address and a daytime telephone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (nash@dallasvoice.com). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or sent via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). All letters become the property of Dallas Voice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas