Lampanelli in 2011 at the book launch party for Michael Musto's Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back
|Pseudonym||Queen of Mean|
|Birth name||Lisa Marie Lampugnale|
July 19, 1961 |
Trumbull, Connecticut, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
|Genres||Insult comedy, improvisational comedy, observational comedy|
|Subject(s)||Race relations, human sexuality, everyday life|
|Spouse||Jimmy Cannizzaro (2010-2014)|
Lisa Lampanelli (born Lisa Marie Lampugnale; July 19, 1961) is an American stand-up comedian and insult comic. Much of her material is racy and features ethnic humor, centering on various types of minority groups, most notably racial minorities and homosexuals.
Lampanelli, one of three siblings, was born in Trumbull, Connecticut, to a middle class family. Three of her grandparents were of Italian descent, and the fourth of Polish ancestry. Her mother, Gloria (née Velgot), worked for the local police department, where "she typed in all the arrests made", and her father, Leonard Lampugnale, worked for Sikorsky Aircraft and later became a painter. Lampanelli attended Roman Catholic schools, studied journalism at Boston College and Syracuse University, and went through a graduate program at Harvard. She worked as a copy editor at Popular Mechanics and an assistant at Rolling Stone. She was also a fact checker and the first chief of research for Spy magazine; a book about Spy describes her then as "your average decked-out-heavy-metal-head-next-door." Speaking later to Maxim Magazine Online, Lampanelli remarked, "I was a real journalist for Rolling Stone, Spy, Hit Parader. I interviewed those fuckin' hair bands: Cinderella, Slaughter."
Lampanelli began her stand-up career in New York in the early 1990s. In explaining her reasons for switching from journalism to comedy, Lampanelli stated not only for the pay raise, but because "I get to say the n-word on stage and get paid money." She made her break at the 2002 New York Friars' Club roast of Chevy Chase, and went on to participate in the roasts of Denis Leary, Pamela Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, Flavor Flav, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff, and Donald Trump and to serve as Roastmaster for Larry the Cable Guy. Lampanelli is frequently on the dais for The Howard Stern Show roasts, including appearances at the roasts for Gary Dell'Abate, Artie Lange, Andy Dick, and A&E's "Gene Simmons Roast" in April 2008.
Lampanelli released a comedy special on DVD entitled Take it Like A Man in 2005, appeared in the 2006 motion picture Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, and had a cameo appearance in the VH1 sitcom So NoTORIous. She also landed a deal with Fox for a sitcom pilot with the tentative title Big Loud Lisa, which was considered a candidate for the network's 2006-07 television season. Lampanelli taped her stand-up special Dirty Girl in the fall of 2006, which aired on Comedy Central on January 28, 2007. Her Dirty Girl CD and Dirty Girl--No Protection DVD were released by Warner Bros./Jack Records on January 30, 2007. Lampanelli was also featured in the movie Delta Farce starring Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, and D.J. Qualls, which was released early in 2007, and in Drillbit Taylor starring Owen Wilson.
Ethnic humor and racial minority insults, slurs, and stereotypes are a predominant part of Lampanelli's comedy routine. Her stand-up includes: "How many 'hispangics' [sic] does it take to clean a bathroom? None! That's a nigger's job!"; "What do you call a black woman who's had seven abortions? A crime fighter"; In addition, Gossip site TMZ reported that censors for the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav cut a Lampanelli joke where she called the Flavor of Love girls in the audience "nappy headed bitches". In addressing her racist stand-up comedy, Lampanelli stated, "I can get away with it because I'm a nice person, I have a warm personality, my intention is good behind it. The thing is, people sense when you have the least bit of anger or hate towards a group--that's why you never make fun of people you don't like." Though only having married white men, she makes frequent references to her "real-life relationships with black men", riffing in an interview that "my problem is, I can't get a good-looking white guy anymore, I just don't have the looks to get that. I can get hot blacks, but also blacks are now starting to get uppity and go for the skinny white ones and the Asians, which is very offensive to me that they don't stick with their roots--the chubby white girl!"
On November 21, 2008, in Santa Rosa, California, Lampanelli taped her first one-hour HBO Special at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. The special, Lisa Lampanelli: Long Live the Queen, which aired January 31, 2009, was directed by Dave Higby, who also directed her "Dirty Girl" special. In December 2010 she reunited with Higby when he directed her Tough Love special for Comedy Central that aired in the spring of 2011. She is scheduled to debut a one-woman show, Bring Back the Fat Chick, on Broadway in 2012.
Lampanelli was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice 5 (also known as The Apprentice 12). She was criticized by viewers and had numerous outbursts and clashes with other contestants, including Victoria Gotti, Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferrigno, and Dayana Mendoza. Lampanelli refused to apologize for her treatment of other contestants and racist remarks about Hispanics. In spite of her behavior and relations with other contestants, she raised $130,000 for Gay Men's Health Crisis winning two out of three of the challenges she took on as Project Manager. Lampanelli was fired on May 6, 2012 during the Final Four interview because John Rich and Marlee Matlin thought she was overly emotional.
After more than 30 pages on her search for the "perfect black man," Lampanelli moves on to outline her standup career, from handling hecklers to doing The Tonight Show... Seeking the roots of her humor, she recalls her childhood as an "attention whore": "Eating to get attention is a behavior that I continued into my high school days." She follows her memories of "fat rehab" with a variety of topics, from the Virgin Mary to vegans. Much is quite funny, and Lampanelli never pulls her punches. Despite her raw language and raucous writing, honest reflections and stark self-insights emerge as she probes her past.
Lampanelli married in 1991 and divorced soon after, though she and her former spouse remained friends. She married Jimmy Cannizzaro, a former tavern owner from Valley Stream, New York, on October 2, 2010 at the New York Friars' Club. In May 2014, she filed for divorce from Cannizzaro after four years of marriage.
Lampanelli is a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. When members of the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest against a show she held on May 20, 2011 in Topeka, Kansas, she promised to donate $1000 to Gay Men's Health Crisis (the same charity she contributed to during The Celebrity Apprentice) for every protester that attended. After an initial count of 44 protesters she rounded the donation to an even $50,000, crediting the donation as being "made possible by the WBC."