A few years ago, Lisa Lampanelli donated $50,000 to the Gay Men's Health Crisis. She gave the org one grand for each Westboro Baptist Church gay-hating protester that came out to her Topeka, Kansas show. In celebration, she had her crowd chanting: "We're here, we're queer, we take it in the rear."
Lampanelli, known as the Queen of Mean, always comes across as compassionate even as she rips into every group of people you can think of. That's because she always includes herself in the mix. Her jokes sting and delight at the same time. Before her Hard Rock Live show in Hollywood, we spoke with Lampanelli, one of the funniest women in the known universe, about her affection for One Direction, why she doesn't really watch reality TV anymore, and how everyone in Florida is either old or lazy.
New Times: I saw your last tweet involved Britney Spears. How do you feel about Britney?
Lisa Lampinelli: Oh, I could care less. I just think it's something funny to make fun of. I dont' care about anyone but myself, basically. Those people are just for jokes. I'm obsessed with my own fabulousness or lack there of.
Do you have any favorite musicians that you like to knock on?
No, but I'm obsessed with One Direction! I love them! My niece who's 13, got me addicted to them. I was like I-love-them, they have the best song ever.
Is it their music you like, or that they're cute and young?
Both! Are you kidding me? I'm married and old. I have to look at some eye candy.
Do you have a favorite one?
Louis. I can't believe I know their names, by the way, that's how queer I am.
Would you actually go to a One Direction concert?
If my niece -- because I get her tickets for things because of my fabulous, huge celebrity status -- if she wouldn't be too embarrassed by me jumping up and down, I would totally go with her. But she's probably say, yeah, you failed, bitch.
You lost a bunch of weight recently. How do you feel about that?
Really good. I still look horrible out of clothes, but in clothes, I'm slammin'! I'm doing as good as I can over here.
Do you work out?
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Yeah, we have to. We got this surgery for weight loss, it's called gastric sleeve. It's sort of the better option to the bypass. So, we got that last year. I got it in Naples, 2012, and my husband had it in June. He said he'd get it if I didn't die on the table, which is such a gentlemanly way to look at it. And we got it, and we're going to the gym, making sure we don't have loose hanging, flabby gross skin. We're just trying to keep it off, because I really feel better now. So, I'm just working on it one day at a time.
Did you go on a huge shopping spree? Where'd you go first?
This is me, I'm so... I used to have to spend so much money on clothes to get decent plus size looking stuff. Now I'm like stickin' it to all the manufacturers and shopping on sale at the Macy's rack, I don't care, I'm not spending a lot of money. Because when you're thin, you can look good in anything, so I am a cheap bitch. I love it. I'm not spending any money, unless it's like $29.95 at the most.
Sales are the best.
Yeah, I'm old school. I wore a dress on the red carpet about six months ago that I got on sale in 1999, and everyone was like, "oh, my God. You never looked better." And I was like, "yeah, I'm smaller, so I'm going to dress skinny and cheap, cause it's great."
Do you miss anything about being heavier?
No, I can't even imagine there being anything good about it.
How has this changed your show? Have you talked about it in your act?
Yeah. I do. And also, I'm developing this Broadway show to open next year. A lot of it is about struggles with food and men, and weight, so it has a really prominent place in that. As far as my comedy show, down there, I'm very open about it, talking about it. I think it's a great thing to have some humor about, because it's a serious subject and all, but come on lighten up about it. Have fun with it.
This Broadway show, is it a one woman show?
It's a one woman show like Billy Crystal's show was. His writer, who wrote his one man show and I are writing it together. I love it. It's just really open and cool, but still really funny. You have to really throw your friends a curb and not be funny.
You were on Celebrity Apprentice. How do you feel about reality TV generally?
Now I'm kind of bored with it. I like a couple of shows, like the competition ones, Dancing with the Stars, I like Master Chef, I like Project Runway. I like the ones where you can see a little talent and growth. But the ones where everyone's just fighting, I'm just skeeved with those. I used to love the Housewives shows, but now, after doing a show where there's a lot of fighting, it makes me too nervous to watch it.
You have like PTSD?
Not as much as you'd think, but I wouldn't want to do it again.
Do you feel like it helped your career in any way?
No, I think it helped because I have great material from it and great stories. But that's about it. It definitely is a huge part of my comedy now. A large part of it, so that's fun. Cause anything you can get new material from is good.
Can you tell us about your show?
It's 100% new material. Stuff I've never talked about before down there. There's a lot about the Apprentice, there's a lot about the weight loss, a lot about being married, because I haven't been down there since all of that stuff happened. None of that's been on TV yet. I kind of like going down there and everything I'm saying is a surprise to these people.
You're known as the Queen of Mean, is there anything, I'm sure you get asked this all the time, that offends you or is the most offensive thing, does that change over time?
I think any subject is fodder for jokes. There's nothing off limits, there's nothing I won't make fun of. On any given day, things are annoying, and a lot of that helps my standup too, like if there's some bitch at Starbucks, or some guy on a plane, then I'll talk about it. That's why my show changes, cause there's so much that is annoying every day in life.
What hurts your feelings? What have people said about you that you're sensitive about?
When I was really struggling with weight and food and everything, whenever I threw a roast, they just seemed to focus on weight. If the joke was funny, I loved it. If the joke was just stupid, I hated it. Usually, thank God the roasters they have are so funny, Jeff Ross and those guys, that nothing hurts your feelings, cause you're going, well, that's a well-written joke. I can only take a joke if it's well-written.
Can you give us a preview of maybe a joke that we'll hear in South Florida?
Let's just put it this way, when it comes to the Trumps and Lou Ferrigno and anything that happened on the Apprentice that was supposed to be confidential, part of me is like, well, you can't fire me twice, NBC. So I guess it's not confidential, and the people in Florida will definitely hear all about it.
Do you also think Florida is the creepiest state?
I do. I do. I think it's a place where old people and lazy people flock to, people who don't really want to work for a living. So, I'm going to come out guns blazing at those lazy bastards.
And what about Miami in particular. You know we had someone eat someone else's face down here.
Well, when you're hungry, you're hungry. I understand that. Because having had weight loss surgery, you're always hungry. So, yeah, the guy needed a little snack, he needed a little snack, what are you going to do?
Lisa Lampanelli. 7 p.m., September 22, at Hard Rock Live, One Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost beteen $49 and $69 plus fees. Visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
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