Lisa Lampanelli is funny. Really, really funny. The comedienne is part Roseanne (back when she was funny), part Lenny Bruce and a whole lot of other stuff that’s not printable—as are large chunks of the interview she gave (this is a family magazine, after all). The 40-something laugh maven has made a career out of eviscerating fellow comics, other friends and plenty of people she really doesn’t like at all on Comedy Central’s Roast series. Here, she talks about why she owes so much to Courtney Love, Xeroxing her privates and the music she gets busy to…
French Davis: You’ve made a career out of roasting people, and also happen to be really, really good at it. Is this something that comes naturally? How do you go about preparing to light someone up?
Lisa Lampanelli: I agonize over my preparation. That’s the thing. A lot of people don’t prepare for roasts; they thought they’d just wing it, and they suck. Dude, it’s all preparation—roasts take me 30 days at the least to prepare for—that’s the point of really killing: being overly prepared. Every word is prepared ahead of time; otherwise, you’re just not gonna be funny.
FD: Who has been your favorite person to roast, and why?
LL: We just filmed the Larry one on Sunday: Larry the Cable Guy (aired on March 15 on Comedy Central). When you’re friends with someone, you can be tougher on them than if you don’t know them—and you know their work—jokes come off with a good, tongue-in-cheek quality. Not like if I’m roasting that (expletive) Sandra Bernhard, who’s not funny in the slightest. That’s when I have to call on my Julliard ability to act like we’re best friends when I can’t stand the (expletive).
FD: Your popularity has definitely surged in the last several years… what was the breakthrough moment that propelled you into a more national consciousness?
LL: The biggest thing was when the Pam Anderson roast was televised. It got so much attention, because Courtney Love made such an ass of herself, then it was on CNN and everybody tuned in to see, and then they saw me. So I’ve ironically got Courtney Love to thank. … I’m thankful she’s a crazy whore. It’s not like the Last Comic Standing retards; one national hit show doesn’t sustain your career. You’ve gotta be in the public eye constantly. It helps to go on Stern—when he says, “She’s funny, you gotta go see her,” his fans drink the Kool-Aid. … Man, that really helped me get out there.
FD: Name some comics that appeal to you today. What draws you to them?
LL: (Expletive) all of them. I don’t care about anybody else. I’m too busy watching Top Chef. I don’t need to watch these other (expletive). I have a hard enough time trying to find other people to share a bill with on tour that I don’t want to kill in their sleep. Sorry, I’m watching this movie with the sound off right now … What is that movie with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro where everyone’s retarded?
LL: Right, Awakenings. It’s just so funny to watch. What, is that all you have to do to act retarded? Just wave your arms around and drool? Robin Williams isn’t funny. He should just die.
FD: How has the comedy biz changed while you have been working in it?
LL: I’ve gotten richer. That’s pretty much it. I’ve got two houses. I’m getting laid more. I have two Camrys—good hair extensions and better facial stuff.
FD: What pisses you off these days?
LL: I’m on Wellbutrin, so not much. It’s a slow dose, so I just get angry about the little things. I don’t vote, don’t care, I don’t watch the news, I don’t listen to the radio other than Howard Stern or music on occasion. Things that affect me directly, like when someone cuts me off or is mean to me … or doesn’t recognize me. I’m famous didn’t you hear?
FD: What’s your music of choice to “get busy” to?
LL: If I get busy I don’t have time to turn on the stereo. I’ve got to get this done before he changes his mind … God, I’m so over Robin Williams trying to be funny. I wish he’d just go away.
FD: What do you like about Colorado? Dislike?
LL: I played beautiful Beaver Creek with a lot of uptight (expletive) in ski wear. Played Boulder—there are a lot of white people in Boulder. It’s hard to make fun of them, though … “How you doing, bank president…”
FD: Are there any subjects you’re not willing to…
LL: NO!! And make sure you write that in all caps with extra exclamation points.
FD: If you weren’t in comedy, what would you be doing?
LL: Nothing. Maybe working at Kinkos, Xeroxing my privates and scaring everybody. I can’t have an office job. I really couldn’t do anything else. I’d have to move in with my parents. … Then I’d kill them and make furniture out of their skin—my mother has really nice skin.
FD: What makes you cry?
LL: Everything. I’m a very sensitive sweetheart of a gal. I cried at the finale of Top Chef—Carla’s relationship. … I cried at the end of Slumdog Millionaire …. Awakenings …