You'd think that in an age of South Park, Eminem, and Grand Theft Auto, the only way an entertainer could be shocking is to be just totally inoffensive. But then you tune in to Comedy Central and see the Friar's Club Roast of Pamela Anderson, where a scowling, loud-mouthed comic named Lisa Lampanelli pushed the envelope further than anyone. While other roasters made predictable jokes about Tommy Lee's schlong and Courtney Love's suspiciously tipsy behavior, Lampanelli danced all over the one topic most white comics tiptoe around -- race.
Lampanelli looks nice enough -- just don't sit in the front row.
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"I can make fun of black guys; I have one in my apartment right now unsupervised," Lampanelli quips, referring to Daryl, her boyfriend of three years. This might explain Lampanelli's cracks about black men liking her for having a big ass. One thing's clear: Lampanelli certainly doesn't fit the mold of what most people expect from a female comic.
"I'm not a 'woman' comic; I don't talk about my period or PMS or my dating habits," Lampanelli affirms. And she ain't kidding. Known as "the Queen of Mean" (her website address is InsultComic.com), Lampanelli delights in picking on anyone and everyone -- something that would generate tons of hate mail for a lesser comic. Lampanelli's mailbox, however, is full of fan mail, with a few humorous exceptions. "I got one that said, 'I'm an Asian with a big dick, so you're wrong,'" she recalls.
After the Pam Anderson roast, Comedy Central wasted no time in airing Lampanelli's comedy special (taped at the Improv in Hollywood, Florida). And with Lampanelli's appearance in The Aristocrats -- you know, the movie about the really dirty joke -- the timing couldn't be better. Though Lampanelli's only one of a hundred or so comics featured in the film, her role in the upcoming movie Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector is a bit more noticeable; Lampanelli plays -- surprise! -- an obnoxious loudmouth. And while her career ball's still rolling, Lampanelli's in the process of pitching a sitcom idea to the major networks. The show would be based on her relationship with Daryl -- and their relationship with her parents in suburban Connecticut, where the couple lives when not in Los Angeles.
"What's the last interracial couple on TV? The Willises," Lampanelli says, alluding to the couple on The Jeffersons. "Also with the Willises, it was a safe black-white couple -- the black woman and the white guy. Why should we be scared of this? Everywhere I tour, there's black, white, Asian, Hispanic... everyone's intermarrying. Let's start reflecting a little of that."
While Lampanelli waits for the network heads to discuss the merits of airing a decent sitcom (imagine that!), the comic is making her rounds on the standup circuit, causing many an audience member to bust a gut -- or blush in embarrassment that they're laughing at something so not nice. "I'm like anal sex," Lampanelli admits. "You have to get lubed up first."