Lisa Lampanelli goes from insults to enlightenment

The ‘Queen of Mean’ says she concentrates on self-development in between her R-rated stand-up shows

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

You might not expect someone who insults people for a living to have a lot of close friends. Comedian Lisa Lampanelli, however, says she values the relationships she has with her friends and family over fame or wealth.

The stand-up comic was driving to a spiritual retreat when interviewed by The Detroit News last month in advance of her Friday performance at MotorCity Casino Hotel.

“Once a month or so I go for a week to this place in the Berkshires and I take different kinds of classes, workshops, mediation,” she said. “I’m doing one called ‘Hunger, Hope and Healing’ next week because I wrote a play on food and body image and I think it helps me figure out eating and food, and emotionally eating and why people do it and it helps me personally and with my play.”

Lampanelli, 55, calls herself an “insult comic” and spends the majority of her stand-up routine making fun of the audience and herself. In real life, though, she says she “lives for self-development and self-discovery.”

She organizes game nights with her friends and elderly mother (who loves Apples to Apples and Catchphrase).

“If you ask me what’s the most important thing, that’s it,” she said. “I don’t need any more fame. I don’t need any more money. I don’t need any more achievements. I don’t feel that adds to your self worth unless you really believe you’re worthy.”

But this enlightenment doesn’t mean Lampanelli is going soft with her act. She’s still the “Queen of Mean,” and no one’s race or sexual orientation is off-limits at her shows. She says lately, though, during a question and answer period at the end of her shows, she’s been giving a lot of advice.

“I talk about my divorce ... my weight loss and my surgery, and people ask me advice about life which I love because I’m under the impression that I know more than everybody in the universe,” she joked. “I’m like Dr. Phil with a ton of estrogen, but not that much because I’m goin’ through menopause. I got really happy a few months ago because some girl who I told to break up with her meth-head boyfriend broke up with him the next time I was there. I was like ‘oh my God, I changed a life.’ ”

Another topic that has come up lately during her post-show Q&A is Donald Trump. Lampanelli was on season 12 of “Celebrity Apprentice.” After raising $130,000 for Gay Men’s Health Crisis of New York City, she was fired by Trump late in the season.

“He never bothered me,” she says of the president. “He never rubbed me the wrong way during ‘The Apprentice.’ When I roasted him twice he was totally hilarious, had a great sense of humor.”

“Personally I don’t have a problem with him ... but obviously our views are completely different and diametrically opposed. I still feel like I’m friendly enough with him where I can do jokes about him and everybody else. Hillary doesn’t escape jokes from me, either.”

“I’m not a political comic. I never cared about politics in my life and now that I’ve sort of had this human interaction with him I think it’s fun to talk about the different thing that’s happened. That makes my stand-up show a lot more fun for me because I can kind of tell all.”


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Twitter: @melodybaetens

Lisa Lampanelli

8 p.m. Friday

Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel

2901 Grand River, Detroit

(313) 309-4700