Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli, on High-Maintenance Whores and Joey Ramone's Bad Breath
Lisa Lampanelli, the insult comic dubbed "The Lovable Queen of Mean" and the belle of many celebrity roasts, is performing tomorrow night at the Fillmore Miami Beach. Cultist caught up with Lampanelli, as she lounged on a swooning couch at home in New York, to ask her a few mind-numbing/profound questions.
The result? Rants about The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Sarah Jessica Parker's resemblance to her dog, and a period in her life where she rocked a tragic Flock of the Seagulls haircut.
New Times: Before you were a comedian, you worked as a journalist. What made you switch careers?
Lisa Lampanelli: The $12,000 a year income, that kind of sucks. And I pretty much interviewed everyone I had held in high regards. Back then, I was a total prog-rock fan so I liked bands like Rush, Jethro Tull, Yes, and every other nerdy band on the planet. So, once I'd interviewed all them, I was like "Shit, now I'm stuck interviewing Cinderella and Slaughter."
Who was your favorite interview?
Fred Gwynne, who played Herman Munster was the best! He was my first celebrity interview and I had a lot of respect for him. I knew he had gone to Harvard, I saw him play Claudius in Hamlet, he even wrote children's books. He wasn't this one-dimensional dummy on this goofy sitcom, he had other things going on.
You say that you can get away with your mean humor because it's done with love, explain that.
Well, only make fun of people you like. Because if you don't like someone and you make fun of them, people can sense it, and it'll come off nasty rather than funny. That's why I never make jokes about the French.
You must really love black people, then.
Yes! Especially their palms, they fascinate me, but I'm sure it's a mystery to all people of the superior race.
And who's the superior race?
You know, the white devil. That's why they call that show The Amazing Race because it's about white people, isn't it?
Well, they do jump higher and run faster, so that'd make sense. And by the way, if people can't tell that I'm not serious and that these are jokes they can go F themselves. It cracks me up when people take comedy too seriously. Isn't there something more important to protest?
Who's your favorite black person?
I did enjoy Chris Brown up until all that beating stuff, that was pretty horrible. Although Rihanna was probably asking for it, and that's not off the record, so please include that in your interview. And I like that 50 Cent. He's rumored to be dating Chelsea Handler and I don't know if that's true but I got mad respect for anyone who dates a female comic because we're high maintenance whores.
You recently married. How does your husband handle your ego?
He's had accomplishments in his life already where he doesn't have to put all the focus on him. So, he'll pick up the slack. Like I'll take him to radio interviews and when I get too tired to answer all the dummy's questions, I'll look at him, and he kind of takes over. He's a good wingman. And he's big enough to beat the shit out of anyone who heckles me, which I like, it makes me feel small, like I'm not the big dyke-y looking thing in my relationship. You want to feel like a girl.
Why did you give your husband the nickname, Jimmy Big Balls?
Because he has huge nuts! His sack is fucking off-putting. I'll tell you what, seriously, it looks like the thing a hobo ties to a stick and puts over his shoulder. I mean, it's like a 20-pound sack! I'll weigh them right now if you want me to put you on hold.
And you married him despite his balls?
Well, none of us are perfect, except for me. So, I have to make some exceptions. And again, me making fun of his balls is just a joke. And he gets that. That's why I love roasts, they're supposed to be about fun and gentle ribbing out of love.
What are you talking about? I think it's demure and delicate. I'm batting my eyes as we speak. Laying here on my swooning couch just like Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls.
Who's your favorite Golden Girl?
So, the slut is the one I usually like, like Blanche and Kim Cattrall as Samantha in Sex and the City, but also did like Carrie Bradshaw a lot. I even named my dog Parker after her.
Are you trying to say that Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a dog?
No! I'm trying to say they're both ugly-cute. To me, Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the most attractive women in the world and Carrie Bradshaw is the number one character that's ever been on TV. Even better than Archie Bunker! I just love the whole character and I fancy myself a combination of Carrie and Samantha.
What is it that you like so much about Carrie Bradshaw's character?
I love that she was vulnerable. I love that she just kept trying with this Mr. Big, because that's what we do. I've been guilty of doing that except my Mr. Big didn't get solved after six seasons with a big wedding ring. That part isn't how it really works out. But I love that whole hope-springs-eternal thing with her.
You never felt Carrie was a tad self-centered?
Of course! That's why I related to her! But she was never too self-centered for her to take care of her friends, and really, isn't that what life is all about?
Sure, if the Golden Girls have taught us anything.
Well, if The Golden Girls taught us anything it was to put your mom in a home because she really drags a show down.
So, you're not a Sophia fan?
Nah, she's fine. I actually think it's funny that she was the youngest actress in the cast but played Bea Arthur's mother. But then again who wasn't younger than that old whore? God rest her soul...you've got to say that afterward.
So speaking of Sex in the City, who's your favorite gay?
My favorite gay by far is Tim Gunn. I'm addicted to Project Runway! I met Tim Gunn once on the red carpet and he reviewed my outfit and said I looked fantastic. He wanted to know who made my dress and was very impressed when I said it was Neiman Marcus right off the rack. And he's so nice to those idiot designers on Project Runway, he really tries to help them.
That's why he's my favorite corn-holer.
There's book about Spy Magazine that describes you when you worked for them as looking like "your average decked-out-heavy-metal-head-next-door." What exactly did you look like?
I don't know if that's really truthful. I was more into an 80s new wave look, you know, a Folk of Seagulls haircut kind of thing.
You did not have one of those, did you?
Well, a little. I had this mohawk and spikes thing going on, but kind of not committed to it. Like I'd shave one side and leave the other side long. It was East Village weird.
What would you wear back then?
Kind of what's in now, actually. I was pretty thin back then, so I'd wear tights and a short skirt right above the knee. I also wore band shirts of bands that I'd never heard of before but knew were cool, like The Ramones. I just bought that shirt because it was black and they were selling a lot of them in East Village. I actually interviewed Joey Ramone and he had the worse breath on the planet. So, when he died I wasn't really that upset. No one should have to smell that.
How were you first approached about doing roasts?
I was a friar before The Friars Club got into a partnership with Comedy Central for the celebrity roasts. I was the one insult comic The Friar's Club really wanted involved, so they pitched me for the Chevy Chase roast and everything kind of came naturally after that.
Who's a celebrity you'd love to roast?
I'd like to roast all those people who are famous for no reason and have absolutely no talent. They're horrible! I'd love to get my hands on The Jersey Shore or The Real Housewives of New Jersey, especially that cunt Teresa who flipped the table. I think she's out of control.
Who do you think is crazier, Teresa or Danielle?
Danielle is clearly a sociopath. Like, she doesn't even realize she's lying. She's just fucking crazy and I'm entertained by true craziness like that. Like Michaele from D.C., she truly does not know fact from fiction, so it's interesting to watch that kind of psychosis. But, that flip-a-table-mean-girl-awful-bitch Teresa is just a bully. I can't stand people like her.
What did you think of the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion?
Danielle's nuts, but she never ends up ghetto. She holds her tongue and if you didn't know she was bat-shit, you'd really think she's a lady. But those others screaming and yelling, it was disturbing.
I also really liked New York, although I'm glad Bethany flew the coop. Bethany and I once had lunch together actually, and she's super cool, but I don't think we'd ever be friends because she's way too busy and I'm way too needy, so I was pushed aside. The rest of the cast I'm kind of over because all those girls do is pimp their products. They call themselves a brand and I think "yeah, you're a brand just like Pampers, because you're absorbed and full of shit."
What's your favorite thing about Miami?
The fags. And there's a whole lot of them down there too. And they like to come out to my shows, sit right in front row, wearing their feathered boas, and it just really makes me happy.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.