Lisa Lampanelli’s shocking and hilarious appearances on television from “The Tonight Show” to Comedy Central roasts have made her the hottest comic in the country. Now her second Comedy Central special, “Dirty Girl,” is presented on CD and DVD. “Comedy’s Lovable Queen of Mean” (New York Times) gets down and dirty on Dirty Girl “No Protection,” and it is filthy funny.
Lisa Lampanelli, outrageous comic known for roasting celebrities, in Santa Rosa to film first HBO specialA Connecticut Catholic school girl turned journalist, Lisa Lampanelli didn’t make the leap to stand-up comedy until she was 30.
Even then, she was slogging her way through basement comedy clubs in the ’90s trying to make a nickname for herself. This was way back when hotelier Leona Helmsley owned the title “Queen of Mean.”
But it all changed one night in 2002 at Chevy Chase’s Friars Club Roast on Comedy Central. The only female comedian in the house, she hammered away at the 6-foot-4-inch has-been comedian.
What better formula for a breakthrough? An insult comic at a roast on national television.
Afterward, she scored an agent. It wasn’t long before the New York Times crowned her the new “Queen of Mean.” Nominated for a Grammy, she’s been the designated hit-woman ever since, roasting rapper Flavor Flav, Pam Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy and William Shatner.
She so dominates the art form these days that eHow.com actually has a page titled “How to Roast like Lisa Lampanelli.” (No. 1: “Go for the jugular but have a heart.”)
During our half-hour interview, the foul-mouthed broad in the prim paisley dress does what she does best— bagging on everyone possible, from Sarah Palin’s infant son to her own Latino trainer.
The female incarnation of Don Rickles or Andrew Dice Clay, she lives by the motto, “I don’t discriminate, I hate everyone.”
Then she sets her sights on a really low target: journalists.
Reminded that even she was once a copy editor and Rolling Stone assistant who interviewed the likes of Slaughter and Bon Jovi, she’s ready: “Yeah, until I got sick of making $12,000 a year.”
Before she tapes her first-ever HBO special this Nov. 21 at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, she wanted to share a few of her roasting secrets.
You know, the one nobody watched? I didn’t do that one because I had to rewrite my HBO pilot. I felt so left out. I hate when they call you and you say, “No I can’t, I have other commitments.” And then you watch it on TV and you say, “I could’ve made it so much better.”
How do you prep for something like that?
Oh God, it takes a month. See, that’s what you don’t have time for. You have time to be there and do the show, but it takes 30 days or so of checking facts on them that nobody else will really make fun of, finding out obscure (stuff) about them.
Are you actually Googling all this or does someone help you?
I have an assistant, so she does all the (crap) work and I figure out what topics to write about. It’s an intensive thing because they always make me go last because I’m freaking hilarious. The problem is, everybody’s used up all the topics and it’s not funny anymore. Even if your jokes are better, they’re sick of hearing that William Shatner has no hair or Pam Anderson has big (breasts).
That’s gotta be hard. You’re batting cleanup.
And I’m the best. I’ll never get sick of those things. You don’t even know the rush. ’Cause, dude, the version you see on TV looks good, but half those people (bomb) on stage it’s so bad. And then they edit to make it look good.
So usually what happens by the end, they’re all looking at me and the audience is looking at me, going “Save this roast!” And you go, “Wow, I have the power.” Even for a moment, you have power. And then you’re a loser again when you get off stage — it’s great.