Whether you're a president or just an average audience member, expect a good roasting whenever Lisa Lampanelli takes the stage. The sharp-tongued comic and Connecticut native will be back in Boston this weekend to dole out verbal beatdowns at The Wilbur. Ahead of her show, we caught up with "The Apprentice" alum to chat about her New England roots, getting the chance to roast Donald Trump back in the day and why it seems like the president has lost his sense of humor.
You were born in New England and briefly went to college at Boston University. Is it safe to say you have a lot of love for the Hub?
It's in my top five cities for the country and I don't know why. I freaking love it. There's something about the vibe of Boston. I've always said, if I have friends and family in Boston, I would move there. It's really weird. I don't say that about any place except New York, San Francisco, Kansas City. Maybe it's just because I've never had a bad time. Also, I know Boston has this reputation of being sort of like, "Oh, whites live over there, blacks live over there." When I do my show, they all come out. There's every kind of race, creed, sexual orientation. There's something that brings out everybody who's kind of different to my shows, and I freaking love that about Boston. It's going to be just Lisa bringing the world together.
New England has produced so many great comics over the years. How has the region influenced your approach to the stage?
I grew up in tight-ass Connecticut, Fairfield county. I always say, my family is Italian, so we were the black people of Connecticut. We weren't rich, weren't poor, but we didn't fit in with that Fairfield county thing. I was always making fun of like the soccer mom types and those sort of stuck-up people. The only way it really influenced me was that I got a lot of material from the people and the things around me.
Is it weird to look back on being a part of Comedy Central’s roast of Trump, considering he’s in the White House?
That was when Trump had just started putting feelers out there about that he might run for president. Of course, who would've ever thought that would really happen. That's like a little kid saying they want a pony for Christmas, they know it's not going to happen. Then it happens! First of all, I seem to be able to get away saying stuff about him that he doesn't get mad at, but that's really harsh. If you saw that roast, none of it can be repeated in print because it's so edgy. He laughed and laughed and laughed. Now when I do it—I've written a whole longer, extended roast that I do at my shows—I still don't get backlash from it. Trump supporters just think it's funny, because they are just funny roast jokes. They're not partisan. So far, no backlash from the president, so I'm happy.
Are you surprised to see how he can't seem to take a joke anymore, especially on Twitter?
It's definitely surprising because it's such a shift. But the stakes are so much different now. You're no longer just some billionaire, d---bag running a company. You're looking for respect that you're just not getting. If you don't feel good about yourself—which he clearly doesn't—you are going to take everything personally. This is real bad times for him.
Aside from touring, do you have any other fun projects for 2018?
I just filled this eight-episode series called "Taskmaster" and it's Comedy Central. It premieres Friday, April 27. It is basically me and four other celebrities competing in really intellectual and physical challenges. It's hysterical. I freaking hated "The Apprentice," every second of it, but I loved every second of this show.
If you go:
March 10, 7 p.m., The Wilbur, 246 Tremont St., Boston, $59, thewilbur.com