There’s a little bit of love juice hiding in the venom comedian Lisa Lampanelli spews on stage.
Sure, if you attend one of the insult comic’s shows and sit within her field of vision, you are likely to be viewed with a big, fat target on your melon—and she’s armed with the stereotypical ammo. Gays, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, bald dudes, fat folks, get ready—like Don Rickles before her, Lisa’s got a million of ’em.
But I like talking with Lisa, though she’s called me every gay slang word in the book—even some I’d never heard before, like “peanut pusher.” Her goal is to drag everyone down to the same level—which leaves Lisa up on a pedestal and all of us bowing to the “queen of mean.”
Who knows what she’s going to say to offend those wine-sipping folks in Saratoga, where Lisa will play on Saturday, Sept. 29? Lisa just took the summer off, so she’s bound to be a firecracker at Mountain Winery.
Corey Andrew: Is it pretty rare that you take that much time off?
Lisa Lampanelli: Oh, yes. I’ve never done that before in my life. I bought this house on the beach in Connecticut and said, ‘Let’s see what this is like to live like a normal human being.’ It was fun. I loved not being funny. I loved giving dirty looks to people in the Stop ‘n’ Shop.
Corey: Are you tempted to say,’ Screw it; I’m retiring’?
Lisa: Yeah! Hello! I called my manager one day, and she goes, ‘I’m so happy you’re taking this time off for yourself.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I really want to retire,’ and she started laughing and changed the subject because her pay check goes down considerably. I guess I’ll stick it out another few years.
Corey: Do you mind saying how much weight you and your husband lost together?
Lisa: I lost 80, I just found out, and Jimmy lost 63.
Corey: Holy cow! Lisa: I can’t add, but I think that’s around 143.
Corey: That’s right. What was the biggest change you made?
Lisa: You can only eat about a cup and a half of food a day. That’s ridiculous. It’s great because you lose weight fast, but you also have to think about exercising so my skin doesn’t get all floppy and gross. I better work on the emotional aspects of eating so that I don’t gain it all back when my stomach stretches back out. It’s a lot of that. Hopefully, we won’t be fat again in two years, but one never knows.
Corey: What is a meal like for you now?
Lisa: In the morning, I have a protein shake from the doctor because they are high protein, like 15 grams. I’ll have a couple shrimps, maybe—whatever is left over from the night before. If we go out to dinner, we can still split a meal and still bring half home.
I’ll chip away at a steak or shrimp or chicken. I always have something sweet after because I still love everything that’s bad for me. One bite of ice cream is a lot different than a pint and a half. It’s little, tiny portions. Hopefully, it will stretch out a little bit but not too much.
Corey: What was the favorite thing you did while on vacation?
Lisa: While I was losing all this weight, I got all my stuff out of storage. I always held onto all my clothes from my 20s and 30s, stuff that would still be in style. I was like, ‘I bet I’ll get into those again.’
Every week I would try on more stuff and would get so excited. I would get them dry cleaned, and I would be too small for them the next week. That was so cool. It’s not fun when you’re on the way up, which is usually the case for me.
Corey: What about a two-piece bathing suit? Are you back to those?
Lisa: Oy vey, I never was in the first place! Disgusting! I think if you’re over 40, wear a one-piece, unless you’re like a frickin’ Brooke Shields or something. Me, I’ve always worn a one-piece, and people have sent me thank- you notes about that.
Corey: Your second wedding anniversary is coming up soon. Lisa: I can’t believe it. Time flies when you’re miserable.
Corey: Have you made big plans?
Lisa: No. Guess what, every year something screws it up. Last year, I got a call from NBC to tape an episode of Whitney Cummings’ sitcom. So that happened to be on my anniversary. I’m not turning that down.
This year, HGTV is filming an episode of ‘Celebrity Holiday Homes’ in our house, and I’m like, ‘We’re not turning that down. We get to keep the decorations. You know what, that’s what we’re doing.’ I’m all business.
Corey: You can probably turn that into a nice anniversary if the place is going to be all decked out.
Lisa: I love that they’re decking it out for Christmas in October. I may leave all the stuff up. I’m crazy. I have some homosexual designer coming over; I might as well take advantage!
Corey: October is not too early to leave that stuff up. You’ve got a good excuse if people come over. Halloween is right around the corner. It’s like gay Christmas.
Lisa: Yes, they love it. They do. I don’t like it. I used to like going out trick or treating when I was a kid. Once you’re over 21, it’s just an excuse to get drunk and take off your top—which is what the gays do. So let them have Halloween.
Corey: What was your favorite costume as a kid?
Lisa: Actually, I dressed as Laura Palmer from … what do you call it?
Corey: ‘Twin Peaks?’
Lisa: ‘Twin Peaks!’ The dead Laura Palmer! If you watch ‘Twin Peaks,’ there’s a scene where they show her dead body. She’s wrapped in plastic, and she looks beautiful. She’s blue and glittery on her face. I dressed exactly as Laura Palmer, and I thought I was pretty clever.
Corey: Did you do the plastic and everything?
Lisa: Of course. My father wrapped me in plastic. I know that sounds dirty and gross and molest-ey, but it wasn’t.
Corey: This year, with you guys losing all the weight, you could do some really fun costumes.
Lisa: We could if we had a sense of humor and the strength and motivation to do so. But, we’ll probably just stay home and shoot people dirty looks. And we’re gonna leave the lights off so nobody comes and asks us for candy. I love when you get too old to want to give kids candy. You just shut off your lights.
Corey: But didn’t you hate those people as a kid?
Lisa: Yes, but now I’m that person. I’ve officially become the cranky, old lady in the neighborhood. We have this house on the beach, and one of our neighbors is like white trash, and their kids sometimes come onto our private beach, and I go, ‘Scat!’ and I chase them out like they’re little dogs. I’m that chick that I was afraid of growing up! I’m kind of proud of that.
Corey: If you’re gonna do it, you’ve gotta own it.
Lisa: You gotta commit.
Corey: You have a dog, right?
Lisa: Yes, Parker, named after Sarah Jessica Parker, because she’s my favorite actress ever, and they both weigh under five pounds.
Corey: Are you thinking of adding more additions to the family?
Lisa: I have this pushy friend who was visiting from Chicago, and she was like, ‘Parker needs a buddy. He needs a brother or a sister. Imagine two little faces!’ I’m like, ‘Imagine two big piles of poop instead of one. How’s that?’ I’m not gonna get another dog, no matter how much Parker begs. He doesn’t know how good he’s got it. I saved him from the gas chamber.
Corey: How does he interact with other dogs?
Lisa: He likes the girls, and he doesn’t like the guys. So I’m a little upset because I wanted him to be a gay dog, and he’s clearly a straight-y. Horrible, right?
Corey: How would you say your audience breaks down as far as Romney supporters and Obama supporters? Do you have any Romney supporters, you think?
Lisa: I don’t think so. I think my gay audience members scared them away. Thank God I don’t do any political humor, so I don’t really care who comes to see me.
Corey: You don’t want to—just for giggles—switch it up to political humor for a couple months? Lisa: No, I could [not] care less. I didn’t have kids, so I don’t have to care if the world explodes in 20 years. Because, guess what, I’ll be dead already.
Corey: What was the last TV show you fell asleep watching?
Lisa: Oh, my God, fall asleep in a bad way? I fall asleep every night watching TV because I’m tired all the time. I love me some ‘Project Runway.’ I still love that.
I love me some ‘America’s Got Talent.’ It’s my favorite show ever because of Howard Stern. I don’t watch the ‘Housewives’ anymore. They got a little whoreish and crazy for me. Those are my two shows.
I’ve been watching HGTV all the time because I’ve got the new house. I always like to look at the people who are poor and go, ‘Hee, hee, hee. You can only afford that. Loser!’
Corey: What about Honey Boo Boo? Have you tuned into her yet?
Lisa: Oh my God, don’t think my husband’s a queer, but he’s the one who told me about her. How did he know about Honey Boo Boo and I didn’t? And that mother of hers? Have you seen that train wreck? And the father? I have enough white trash next door to me that I don’t have to invite it into my living room.
Corey: What are you doing to stay hip and trendy for the kids?
Lisa: I don’t. I just be myself; I’m so frickin’ cool. They can’t resist. ‘Lisa, you’re so current.’ Or ‘currant,’ as the French homosexuals say. I just be myself. The best compliment I ever got was from some kid. He goes, ‘Dude—I love that—‘Dude, you’re like my Mom, but dirty.’ ‘Alright, as long as you’re paying for a ticket, I’m happy.’
Visit concerts.mountainwinery.com/ for ticket information for Lisa Lampanelli’s show on Sept. 29.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. In 2011, he published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family a few years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.