By Matt Shaw
Lisa Lampanelli wants me to start this article by telling everyone who reads it how brash and brazen she is, how edgy and offensive her act can be, how many virgin ears she’s corrupted beyond redemption or repentance. Everything ever written about her starts off calling the insult comic the “Queen of Mean,” “the funniest woman in comedy,” and “c*nt.” While all of these are accurate, especially the latter, the Friar’s Club roastmaster was positively giddy ~ effervescent, even ~ when I talked to her this week.
She should be. Lampanelli, who has been likened to June Cleaver on crack, filmed her HBO special last month, has a pilot deal for a dark sitcom with executive producer Jim Carrey, and gets to play every comic’s dream venue, the Hanover Theatre, this month. She also scored roles in the soon-to-be-released movies Group Sex and Finding Lenny. And let’s not forget the fact that every time a pop culture icon begins the slow and painful descent into irrelevance and obscurity, Lampanelli has a standing gig to tear him or her a new one on Comedy Central.
“I feel like I’m Chris Rock or George Carlin,” Lampanelli says, “only I’m not dead or black, so that automatically makes me better.” But the insult comic doesn’t spend much time comparing herself to other comedians; she leaves that to the media. “[Recently] some old school comic died,” she said, “and the article about him said he influences comics the likes of Richard Pryor and Lisa Lampanelli. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, in the same sentence, only separated by an and?!’”
While Lisa is enjoying her current status as the world’s funniest woman, the Queen of C*nts is also spending some time reflecting on her past. She’s writing what promises to be the anti-Bible, an autobiography detailing the making of the world’s most beloved professional a**hole. “It’s really hard,” Lampanelli complains. “I’m 47 years old. I’m no spring chicken, I’m an old c*nt!” But if you’re looking for juicy stories about the former rock-and-roll journalist’s tour bus trysts, you’ll be disappointed. “I was a chubby nerd,” she says. “All I wanted to interview were progressive rock guys like Yes and Jethro Tull and every f*cking egghead band out there.” Couple her rock nerdishness with an unhealthy obsession with Don Rickles, and Lampanelli is a pair of horn-rimmed glasses away from a dungeon master. So much for being a bad-ass.
Lampanelli’s latest film endeavor is Group Sex, a movie about sex addicts in which Lisa plays a horny waitress. Good luck finding any information on the movie, though: a Google search of “Group Sex” returns a plethora of ~ well, let’s just call them unrelated results. “The same thing happened to me when I started dating black men,” Lampanelli quips. “I was looking for interracial dating sites, so I typed in ‘black man, white woman,’ and of course it was 100% porn.” But at least she had fun making the movie. “I pretty much wrote the part myself,” she says. “They like what I do on the road, so they say, ‘Write your own sh*t, be funny, and here’s your scene.’ It’s the easiest thing in the world: you just be yourself.”
Being offensive is just part of the game for Lampanelli, who complains that she’s desensitized her audience to the word c*nt. So what’s the most offensive word she uses in her set? “Oddly enough,” she says, “the word cancer gets a very big rise out of people. It’s such a hard word and such a horrible thing that I actually cut out a cancer reference this year. If you put the word lupus in instead of cancer, it’s much funnier. It’s a funny-ass sounding disease, anyway, and it just affects women, and no one cares if they die. They’re c*nts. And n**gers. See? It all comes full circle.”
Lisa Lampanelli plays the Hanover Theatre on December 13th. Tickets are available through www.livenation.com, or by phone at 877-571-SHOW.