WHO: Lisa Lampanelli
WHERE: Florida Theatre
WHEN: November 7th at 8pm
INFO: 355-2787 or www.floridatheatre.com
For someone known as The Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli is quite pleasant when talking to you one-on-one. Of course, this doesn’t really come as a surprise—at least not to me. I have a hypothesis that, for the most part, performers personalities are inversely proportional to their act. The way I see it, those who cathartically release all of their venom onstage really have no reason to be vile off-stage. Implementing this theory, Brian Regan is a creepy, foul-mouthed curmudgeon in person and Andrew “Dice” Clay is the perfect gentleman in his personal relationships with women. OH! Lampanelli seems to agree with my premise.
“You’re right,” says Lampanelli. “It’s a great theory, and it’s a correct one because Jeff Ross is definitely one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Don RicklesDon Rickles, Howard Stern, and me are the same. So I think you get it all out onstage as an act, and then when you’re a normal, average Joe, you cry at the same thing everybody else cries about.” Beyond that, Lampanelli does not appreciate those comedians who are not kind in person, as reflected by her brutally honest, albeit morose, sense of humor on the topic.
“There are very few comedians that I hate,” explains Lampanelli, “and they all die anyway. All the ones that I didn’t like, died. And that’s not Joan Rivers, I’m talking Patrice O’Neal and Greg Giraldo—they were mean to me, and they ended up dying so, I get my revenge…I hated Patrice. I gave tons of interviews (after his death) and his (survived) girlfriend loved it because she goes, ‘Patrice would be laughing and proud of you because you never backpedaled.’ I hated him when he was alive—now that he’s dead I’m supposed to pretend that I liked the guy? He was an asshole. He was the worst. He was mean to everybody.”
This lead me to wonder, with her extremely edgy style, just how in the hell has Lampanelli—who is absolutely as politically incorrect as they come in showbiz—managed to stay out of trouble in an age when people seem to get publicly shamed, ostracized, and/or fired for every little ill-conceived joke or inappropriate misstep? “Well, I’ve gotten in trouble a few times,” says Lampanelli, “but I’ve been lucky because I’m not really employed by anyone. If I worked for a network, I’d have to apologize, but I’m self-employed. I work for who I want, when I want, so basically I can’t really get in trouble, I have no boss. I just answer to myself.”
With that said, by her own conviction, there are some lines that even Lampanelli won’t cross. For example, she turned down the Charlie Sheen Roast on Comedy Central because she thought it was unethical to make fun of someone who so obviously has mental health and substance abuse issues that need to be addressed. “I thought it sounded pretty pathetic,” says Lampanelli, “cause he was such a mental case, and I thought it wasn’t really something I wanted to be a part of, piling on some mental case. I’m glad I didn’t do it. It didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t particularly good, in my opinion.”
Keeping in the spirit of insult-comedy, I wincingly asked Lampanelli her thoughts on Jacksonville. “It’s really cute, it’s nice, “says Lampanelli, then adding, true-to-form, “I mean Jacksonville is the A-hole of Florida and Florida is the A-hole of America, so I’m gonna be really happy to be in the A-hole of the universe but, the theatre’s nice.” So is she always this blunt, even with her significant others? “Of course, that’s why I’m divorced.” To experience more of Lampanelli keeping it real, check her out at the Florida Theatre on November 7th.