Lisa Lampanelli on Keeping Her Insult Humor Sharp and the State of Comedy
Lisa Lampanelli will be at Talking Stick Resort on Sunday, May 29.
If you like comedy and aren’t easily offended, then you probably already know that Lisa Lampanelli is coming to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale on Sunday, May 29. The queen of insult comedy isn’t for the thin-skinned, but everyone in attendance this weekend knows that she’ll always make her fans – and herself – laugh.
“Lately, I’ve been having way more fun on stage than I’ve had in the past few years,” Lampanelli says. “In the last six months or so, my opening act and I have been doing anywhere from a two-hour to a two-and-a-half-hour show just because we’ve been having such a good time. I do this great Q&A at the end of the show, and we’ll just go as long as the audience wants to talk.”
Of course, that kind of audience interactivity is one of the things that made Lampanelli famous over the decades. No one in the crowd is safe from her sharp wit, and she’s not one to hold back at the expense of a joke.
“I luckily have fans that know that words are just words, and there’s no hate behind them,” Lampanelli says. “If you have a sense of humor, sit in the front – but if you don’t, I may run to the back of the room and find you anyway.”
While many comics will chat with the crowd, answer questions, and poke fun at some folks in the first row or two, few dare to make a career out of teasing their fans. With the possible exception of a canine puppet that was entirely too famous for a short period of time, Lampanelli’s made a better name and career for herself than anyone else in the world of insult comedy. For the Connecticut native, it was just what she enjoyed hearing herself do at first.
“I think you just sort of notice what worked and what makes you laugh,” Lampanelli says. “Back then, I would tape-record every show. I would listen to them to take notes or remember what I said, and I’d always get a kick out of the audience interaction stuff. I just took it and refined it. I built it and built it until I became known for a certain brand of comedy.”
More than 26 years later, Lampanelli’s work is as vicious and hilarious as ever. While some might think her words would dull after all this time, the comic believes it was a different change in her life that had people doubting whether she’d still be in her prime.
“I think people were more shocked when I lost weight [rather than getting older],” Lampanelli says. “People think you lose 100 pounds and you’re going to start taking yourself more seriously. I definitely got funnier, as evidenced by the Grammy nomination last year.”
Not only has Lampanelli stayed razor sharp, she’s also never had to censor herself as far as language or subjects go. While other comedians live in constant fear of saying something that offends the wrong person and lands them in trouble, Lampanelli’s fans understand what they’re getting into by going to one of her shows.
“People say it’s gotten more politically correct, but I don’t think so,” Lampanelli says. “I have my audience, and I think they’ll kind of accept anything I throw at them as long as it’s funny. If you want a PC comedy show, you’re not going to come to me.”
For that matter, Lampanelli believes comedy is getting better these days. Sure, she doesn’t interact with fans on social media – that connection gets formed in real life, not through the screen of her phone – but it’s the diversity of the current comedy industry that she loves.
“One good thing is that there are a lot more women in comedy, and they’re a lot funnier,” Lampanelli says. “There are also a lot more gay comics. When I got into comedy, people would just kind of look at them in horror, but now, I have a gay opening act and people love him. I have no complaints as to where comedy has gone. I think it’s great.”
Lisa Lampanelli will be at Talking Stick Resort on Sunday, May 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45 and are available through Ticketmaster.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.