Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lisa Lampanelli in L.A. (08/18/07)

Well, I got off my ass and went to check out Lisa Lampanelli at the Wiltern Theatre on Saturday night.

I was curious about two things. 1) What type of audience does she draw? 2) So soon after the Flavor Flav roast, would she dish any behind-the-scenes dirt?

The crowd was an amazing mix. Lots of older couples (which surprised me, given the raunch factor of Lampanelli’s act). Lots of gay guys (they seem to travel in packs of four) and lesbians. Lots of Asians and Latinos, not so many black folks (considering she does so much racial humor).

What crossed my mind, watching this diverse crowd get seated, is that “diversity” isn’t about how different we all are. It’s about how similar. All these different types of folks came here for the same experience.

If they gave Nobel Peace Prizes to filthy, loudmouth bitches, Ms. Lampanelli would be most deserving. She brings human beings together.

And insults the shit out of them.

Boy oh boy... there is nothing this woman won’t say. And if you’re not bothered by at least one of her jokes, you’re probably a sociopath. If the AIDS joke doesn’t do it, the deaf joke will. If the Down Syndrome joke doesn’t offend you, then the rape joke definitely will.

(Yes, I said rape joke. Which went something like: “It’s a great way of cheating if the guy is hot.”)

It was like a pagan ritual of transgressive utterance. Shock comedy as aerobic workout. I laughed myself hoarse, even though much of her material (too much) was rehashed from her “Dirty Girl” cable special/DVD/CD.

I tried to write down some of her best lines, but the meaning doesn’t transfer to the printed word. It’s all about her stage persona, and the vibe of the crowd... it’s about the ritual.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have much to say about the Flavor Flav roast, except for this crack about Flav’s physical size: “Either him or Katt Williams is a pygmy. I thought one of ’em was gonna blow a dart right in my ass.”

For a dose of Lisa Lampanelli in a more free-wheeling format, listen to this clip of her on Penn Jillette’s radio show, where she and Penn got good and bitchy about Jerry Lewis, Nathan Lane and Sandra Bernhard. (Lampanelli links to it from her own website, www.insultcomic.com.) It is hilarious.


justjudith said...

i had never heard of her before flav's roast. i thought she was the best and most of them were pretty funny. way to go see for yourself, ubm.

Anonymous said...

I had vaguely heard things about the "horrible" Lisa Lampanelli, so I turned on Comedy Central at one AM months ago not thinking I'd see much, but WOW, she's funny. It's not just what she says, it's how she says it.

SJ said...

This woman is so mean.

I love her.

Undercover Black Man said...

It's easy to underestimate how difficult it is to do this kind of comedy... trampling on every sensitivity, from the Jews to the gays to the mentally disabled... and still be likeable.

I saw Don Rickles do his Vegas act a few years ago, and of course he's just a harmless old man now. But in his prime, he trampled on every sensitivity and was shocking as hell... but still likeable.

It's fascinating to me. Of course, the key to it must be our understanding that they don't really mean it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, UBM, I'll be tracking down more of her work.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thank you for the comment, Estiv.