Lampanelli to launch comic insultsWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking with Lisa Lampanelli was shocking. The “Queen of Mean” was … nice. Really.
Maybe it’s because the insult comic, who referred to her past with black men as her chocolate diet, is mellowing as her one-year wedding anniversary approaches.
Or maybe it’s because she’s super-busy; there’s talk of reality TV, Broadway.
Maybe she just is nice.
“Sometimes people go, ‘Wow, she likes the people she makes fun of,’ ” Lampanelli said. “Honestly, I make fun of all the groups that I have fondness for — every race, creed and color.
“Don’t do a lot of French jokes because I’m not crazy about them,” she said and laughed. “If you make fun of one person, you better get them all because it’s equal opportunity.”
The woman known for in-your-face humor recalled her early days of comedy.
“I got my first laugh when I was 8, but I didn’t have the guts to try [stand-up] until I was in my 20s,” she said during a call from her New York home. “I wasn’t technically class clown, but come on — I’m definitely funnier than that little bitch who won it. So I think you know it but are too scared to try it.”
That laugh when she was 8? It’s a story in her 2009 book, “Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks.”
“It was a horrible, stupid joke,” Lampanelli said. “I’m at the dinner table with all my family and my relatives, and there used to be a store — Macy’s used to be called Macy’s and Bamberger’s — so I called it Macy’s and Hamburger’s on purpose, but they thought it was a joke; they thought it was me getting it wrong.
“And I was like, God, I’m so cool because I just manipulated these a-hole relatives of mine into thinking I was stupid, and I got a big laugh. And, of course, I said it again; it got nothing.
“And I learned you cannot milk a joke. Don’t even do it; you’re not even cute enough at 8 to get away with the same joke twice.”
She is hoping Logo laughs at the pilot for “Big Loud Lisa.”
“It’s a reality show. Initially, it was going to be about me and my husband, Jimmy, but we found our married life is completely boring because we don’t fight a lot,” Lampanelli said. “So instead we kind of shifted the focus to what is really going on, which is I’m making this crossover from being an insult comic to developing this Broadway show.”
The 50-year-old is writing a one-woman show for Broadway with Alan Zweibel, one of the original writers from “Saturday Night Live” who worked with Billy Crystal on “700 Sundays.”
“A working title is ‘Bring Back the Fat Chick’ because it’s a story that’s in the show. I always think it’s pretty provocative to put the word fat in a title because fat seems to be the last curse word we really have because women would rather be called the c-word than be called fat,” Lampanelli said.
The response to her book inspired her to keep writing.
“A lot of people read my book and were saying they learned a lot about themselves through it because it’s a lot about insecurities and co-dependence, food and men, and weight issues and self-image, and I loved that response.
“And I also loved that they saw that through the humor. So you don’t have to not be funny to make a point,” she said. “Just because it has a little message in there about liking yourself and working on yourself, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to make it some stoic drama; it’s going to be really funny. It’s going to be something that people can see themselves in, too.”
Fans can catch Lampanelli at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at Stranahan Theater. Tickets are $34.75 for the show for mature audiences only.
“They can still expect the same Lisa without the same jokes; I’d say 90 percent of the stuff I’m doing now hasn’t been on TV before,” she said. “There’s so much in daily life that you can make fun of and be angry with.”