Lisa Lampanelli brings one-woman show to the Kimmel Center

The Queen of Mean softens the blows for her new show.
Credit: Andrew Coppa

Lisa Lampanelli is known for her insults, slurs and insolent language, hence her royal title, the Queen of Mean. She’s also known for her wit, storytelling and ability to use a joke as a conduit for social commentary. This fall the stand-up comic will be at the Kimmel Center for her one-woman show, Skinny Bitch: NOT a Stand-Up Comedy Show, which will be a career twist — but we have faith that Lampanelli is even-keeled enough to do so gracefully. We recently caught up with her i to learn about the show, as well as her various other comedic and creative outlets.

How is the one-woman show going so far?
It’s really, really good. We’re trying it out in a several locations at first and I can’t believe how well it’s going. It took three years to write it and I’m glad that the show is resonating with people. That’s exciting.

Three years? That’s a long time to work on a piece.
Yeah, I felt bad about it taking so long at first. Then I heard that Broadway shows take six years to make. So it’s a good thing I’m not singing and dancing up there. But I had to rewrite the show because I lost all that weight, so it became a slightly different show.

Sounds like this show is a departure from the insult comedy that you’re known for.
Well, it doesn’t depart in the way that it’s all serious and heart-wrenching, but there are moments where you’ll want to stop and think. It’s still that edgy humor, though. I want people to see it and think, “She still has her edge, she’s not a totally different person.” Getting the marriage between those two aspects was difficult, especially when you’re used to doing it one way for all those years. I felt I finally had access to being emotionally available to it, and to take risks with my fans. I decided to be truthful. I’m sure a couple of fans will be hardcore and think that I softened up, but hang in there three more seconds because there’s a big laugh coming.

You’ve said that you have two addictions: food and men. Now that you’ve lost all that weight and you’re married, have you replaced those addictions?
I still love both of those things. If someone’s an alcoholic or a drug addict, you have that fight every day. I don’t think it ever ends.

You’re a monthly host on Howard Stern’s XM show, Howard 101 and you’re voicing an animated series with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy for a show on CMT called Bounty Hunters. How are those?
I love being a part of anything that Howard does. I’ve worshipped him for so many years, it feels great to be in the loop. And [Bounty Hunters] is cute. Those guys do a lot of stuff that they want to throw me into. And am I going to turn it down? It’s the easiest job in the world. You go into a booth by yourself, no need for hair and makeup, and you read.

Out of all the things you’re doing – radio, voice acting, and the one-woman show – which is the most satisfying?
The show is the biggest thing. It includes everything I’m working on. And I never would have lost all the weight if I didn’t start writing the show. I’ll always do comedy and do shows on the weekend. But I took a summer drama conservatory at Yale and I’m doing 101 tutoring. I want to continue with it. I want to do a real hardcore drama one day – the opposite of what everyone expects. I’m going to do something if it looks like fun. Like how James Franco did that stint on General Hospital because he thought it sounded like fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in a Tennessee Williams play one day.


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