Lisa Lampanelli is the Salt & Vinegar potato chip of stand-up comics. That first bite is oh-so-acidic while the follow-up stings in an aggressive attack on the senses. It’s both salty and sour, and – somewhat shamefully – completely addictive.
Of course, comparing the comedian who recently lost over 100 pounds to a greasy, unhealthy snack food might seem a bit insensitive…but we’re pretty sure she’d approve. Famous for her sharp-tongued attacks from the dais on a multitude of celebrity roasts – among her victims: Chevy Chase, Pamela Anderson, Donald Trump and William Shatner – Lampanelli gets as good as she gives.
In addition to the successful weight loss, achieved in part through gastric bypass surgery, Lampanelli’s achieved even more personal victories in recent years. She married Jimmy Cannizzaro, a 6’3″ bar owner and music industry bodyguard – and fellow Italian – in October 2010.
When members of the Westboro Baptist Church decided to bring their fluorescent, misspelled signs to protest Lampanelli’s May 2011 show in Topeka, Kan., the comic promised to donate $1,000 to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis for each protester that attended. Though 44 picketers showed up, Lampanelli rounded her donation up to an even $50,000.
During her Winter 2012 run on The Celebrity Apprentice, she raised another $130,000 for the GMHC. She made it to the final four that season, and was eventually eliminated by celebrity judges Marlee Matlin and John Rich who felt she was, of all things, too emotional.
These days she’s hosting a first-Monday-of-the-month show on Howard Stern’s Sirius satellite radio channel, starring on Country Music Television’s first-ever animated series Bounty Hunters, and workshopping a one-woman show that she hopes to take to Broadway next year.
With all this positive energy in her life, you’d think Lampanelli, appearing at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live at 8 pm, Friday, Sept. 20, might take a softer, gentler approach to her insult comedy.
Not a chance.
Lisa Lampanelli is certainly leaner, but she’s also meaner. And apparently, it’s infectious.
WATERMARK: Lisa! How are you?
LISA LAMPANELLI: Everything’s good. As you know, I’m the most beautiful, most thinnest, most gorgeous glamorous woman in the world now! I lost 107 pounds. I’m guessing I won’t gain it all back for about three years.
I think four years I’ll gain it all back. But I’ll still have a good three year span, you know?
Well, that’s probably longer than, say, Andy Dick stayed sober.
Very true, very true!
Shame on me – that was mean! See what you do? You bring out the meanness in people!
Exactly! It’s my job. It’s what I do, it’s who I am!
Let’s talk about the weight loss. I know there was surgery involved. What’s it been like since?
It’s been great; honestly, seriously. Jimmy, my husband, got weight loss surgery too. He lost 95 pounds. We did it together so that – well, how am I supposed to really do this if he’s sittin’ around eatin’ pies? It’s worked out really nicely. It’s been a big adjustment trying to live healthy, keeping the weight off and really trying to do the right thing. Now all our gay friends aren’t embarrassed to be seen in public with us, cause you bitches can be judgey!
But now that you’ve both lost the weight – and I’ve seen pictures of your husband; he’s a pretty hot bear – have you also lost your bear gay fans, only to replace them with twinks?
The thing is, Jimmy gets hit on more than I do now, and luckily, it’s always by men. So he finds it easy to just grab ’em on the ass and say, “Gurrrlll…” right back to them. It’s very nice having him be hit on and feel good, but women better stay away from him!
You’ve been married almost three years. What has most surprised you about being married?
That I don’t hate my husband. It’s weird. I’m not one of these people who got married lightly, because, as you know, I’m rich and famous and fantastic and wealthy. I was cautious, and I got married and I was like, ‘okay, I’m gonna hate this guy ’cause we’re livin’ in the same place and everything.’ And, while it’s not like one big honeymoon all the time, because what marriage really is, I can’t believe I don’t go around hatin’ somebody every day…so it’s pretty good!
Does it help that you’re on the road so much so you get to spend time away from him?
Well, it could also help to have three houses; that’s always good.
The last time we talked you described how you typically spent time with your gays, which, at the time, was watching The Celebrity Apprentice together. Now that’s it’s over, what do you do together?
This is what disappointed me. I did the summer drama conservatory at Yale this summer, because I’m doing my one-person show on Broadway, and I wanted to brush up on my acting, right? I figure, I’ll be around gays, because it’s acting class. There were only straight guys in my acting class! This was not the Gay Community Outreach that I thought it was going to be! I loved the program, but thought, Where are all the gays? Yes, I did learn acting; I didn’t enjoy any bitchy things with my queens there. So when that course was over I had to get a double-triple dose of gayety.
So now we’ve been watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey on Sundays, so that’s a good thing. And we go out to fantastically snobby restaurants, where they won’t let us be seated until the whole party arrives, you know that bullshit? You know what I do when they tell me that? I go, ‘Really? Well, I’m sitting.’ And then I just walk to a table and sit down. You would love hanging out with me, because I’m such a raging cunt. Because when you lose all this weight and can’t overeat out of anger, it comes out the wrong way. I call everybody a cunt, you’d be really proud of me!
The weekend you’re in the area, Russell Brand is also going to be performing here too…
Ooo! I love him! He’s so dirty! He just looks like he’d be dirty in the sack, doesn’t he?
He does. Like, dirty hot.
Exactly! There’s something very sexually appealing about him. Let’s put it this way: Jimmy won’t be coming with me this trip, I’m just sayin’.
I’ll see if I can’t arrange some special meet-and-greet for the two of you.
Work it, work it! I find him super funny. I was very attracted to him during Forgetting Sarah Marshall! Oh my God. Yeah, work some gay faggot magic; wave your fairy magic wand and make it happen!
WHO: Lisa Lampanelli
WHERE: Hard Rock Live, Orlando
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 20