Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Lisa Lampanelli built her career as the bawdy roast queen. For Comedy Central, she has gone after the likes of David Hasselhoff, Gene Simmons, William Shatner and the current president of the United States Donald Trump.
Over the past few years, her life has changed markedly She lost more than 100 pounds after gastric sleeve surgery (and kept it off) and got a remarkably amicable divorce. She made an off-Broadway play last year called “Stuffed” focused on body image and food. She dyed her hair blue. And she hasn’t had sex in four and a half years!
She blames her lack of interest in sex on menopause. “I haven’t felt the need to date,” Lampanelli said in a recent interview. “I’m kind of happy the way I am. I hadn’t really allowed myself to be single most of my life. I’m enjoying it.”
Now she back to more traditional stand-up comedy, coming to Center Stage in Midtown March 24. (Buy tickets here from $24 to $41)
For her, stand up is much easier than doing a play in New York City. “It was eight shows a week!” she said. “While doing it, I loved every second. But I’ve loved every second not doing it, too. I’d be more prepared next time, maybe do some cardio for a year!”
She said it took seven years for her to write “Stuffed.” “That’s longer than it took Lin-Manuel Miranda to write ‘Hamilton,’ “she said. “And he had music! This guy is clearly above my level.”
Lampanelli opted to do the play because “I was feeling a little bored with stand up. Seven years ago, I even thought about retiring. When I’m bored with something, why bother?” Then she saw Carrie Fisher‘s one-woman show and was inspired, though “Stuffed” featured multiple actresses. “It”s all about over eating and compulsive eating. We include anorexics and girls who can’t gain weight.”
She started the play right after finishing “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2011. She was super emotional and competitive during that show, landing fourth behind the likes of Clay Aiken and winner Arsenio Hall. “I hated every second of that, but I won all this money for my charity so f*** them all!” she said. (She raised $130,000 for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.)
Plus, she said, “I got to meet our president, which was a total thrill and a half. I have such great hands-on material about the guy after working with him so long.”
At the time, she knew she had no chance of winning the show no matter what she did: “They needed a super famous person to win. I just wanted to be on the show as long as possible to show that comics aren’t stupid. What was great is I was in every episode.” She is proud she outlasted Adam Corolla and Penn Gillette, who she considers geniuses.
“I’m happy I made it past George Takei!” she added. “I was such a crazy b**** on the show. I was good TV.”
She also roasted Trump in 2011 when he pondering a run for the presidency but ultimately held off until 2016. She – like most human beings – didn’t take him seriously. “It’s like when a little kid wants a pony for Christmas,” she said. “It’s never going to happen. I thought it was a joke, just ego. Then what the f*** happened? He got his pony!”
Lampanelli promises plenty of Trump jokes during her Atlanta show but she said she isn’t political at all. “He hasn’t called me out on Twitter. I’m staying under the radar. The guy is delusional and thinks I like him. When I do my jokes during my stand-up show, I get away with it.”
She said she was offered a spot on CBS’s just-completed “Celebrity Big Brother” but turned it down. The only reality show she’d do now, she said, is “Dancing With the Stars.” “It’d be fun,” she said. “I think the other reality stuff makes me sick. Going on ‘Big Brother’ would probably give me horrible PTSD flashbacks.”
And in this time of the #MeToo movement, she said she has never been sexually harassed ever. “Obviously, it’s a big hot button issue, a terrible thing. It makes me puke thinking about it. It’s weird to be the one left out. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know how I was lucky to escape it!” (Yes, that’s Lampanelli-style sarcasm.)
Lampanelli hopes Kathy Griffin, a peer with a comparably caustic approach, is able to make a comeback following her “performance art” moment holding a bloodied Trump-like head a year ago. The backlash cost her endorsements, concert dates and her CNN “New Year’s” gig with Anderson Cooper.
“People will forgive her,” Lampanelli said. “It’s not like she actually beheaded the guy. The only thing I would have liked was a strong punchline. She needed to make it funny. Maybe she should have had two heads. I gave head twice! I have nothing against her. It’s so stupid people are offended by the stupidest things!”
And while Lampanelli’s classic roasts have featured a lot of sexual banter, she said her current show has virtually no sexual content. The fact she’s not having sex probably has something to do with that. “Guys don’t hit on me,” she said. “I’m not putting myself out there. I’m like one of the guys. Let the other girls get laid. Lisa Lampanelli is doing her lovely comedy and hanging with her dog.”
That dog is named Parker, after Sarah Jessica Parker, ironically best known for “Sex and the City.” “They’re both adorable. They both weigh 7.5 pounds,” she cracked.
What might get her out of her sexual funk? Norman Reedus and his brooding “Walking Dead” character Daryl Dixon, who has dated nobody in the zombie apocalypse. “I just want to bang Daryl!” she said. “There’s one guy who could make my flower bloom! Nobody else is so sexy!”
7 p.m., Saturday, March 24, 2018
374 West Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta