Comedian Lisa Lampanelli should be considered a hero in journalism. She rose to the top — Rolling Stone and Spy magazines — and then she got the hell out of journalism and became rich and famous.
Lampanelli is now known as “The Queen of Mean,” a top-billed star in the biggest venues in America. (She tells jokes at the Palms’ Pearl on Saturday for $59-$71 a ticket.)
But she was so good at journalism, she used her media savvy to manipulate the New York Times.
“I know how to manipulate the press a little bit,” says Lampanelli, who studied post-grad journalism at Harvard.
“Back in the day, I wanted a nickname,” she says. “So I remember getting interviewed by the New York Times, and I planted the whole ‘Queen of Mean’ nickname in the Times.
“And then I was like: ‘The New York Times called me The Queen of Mean.’ So I worked that.”
She also pleases the media by being professional. She is always exactly on time for interviews with me.
“I never keep anyone waiting. I know how that used to be,” she says.
When she was starting out in comedy, she didn’t have a publicist. But she knew how to promote herself and write her own news releases.
“Putting together a few sentences is hard for people” but not for her.
Lampanelli, 51, dumped out of journalism because she got tired of it, and she wanted to be on stage.
“Life is too frickin’ short to stay with something you’re not really excited about anymore, whether it’s a guy, or a chick, or a job,” she says.
“The minute I get sick of comedy, I’m out of there too.“
There is a common denominator in journalism and comedy — economy of words. Or as she puts it:
“Get to the goddamn punch line, especially as a woman comic. You don’t want to be up there — ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.’
“If men want to hear a woman go on and on and on, they could just stay at home with their horrible wife. So just get to the point, bitch.”
And yet, Lampanelli is not an efficient talker at home.
“With my husband, I’m the same way other women are offstage. So I’m horrible, and long-winded and overly detailed offstage. On stage, I’m like, punch line, punch line. I’m sure he’d appreciate it if I applied some of that economy-of-words to our life.”
This year, Lampanelli is touring and writing a Broadway show about herself.
This weekend, she will give fans 90 minutes of new material about her marriage, her dramatic weight loss and her “post-‘Apprentice’ trauma.”
“The biggest asshole I’ve ever met was Lou Ferrigno. We did ‘The Apprentice’ together,” she says. “He will be the subject of cruel, cruel jokes in Vegas.”
See? She worked a teaser promo of her show into this interview. Smart.
RON WHITE SHOPS FAT
Ron White probably will go shopping in Vegas this weekend because he performs stand-up Friday and Saturday at The Mirage ($84-$106).
White tells me he prefers Strip retailers over the same stores in Beverly Hills.
“In Vegas, they have nice clothes for fat people,” he says. “In Rodeo Drive, they design clothes for waifs, (and) I’ll end up with sunglasses and shoes because that’s the only things that fit.”
Andrew Dice Clay just got a new hotel residency. He will perform at the Hard Rock’s club Vinyl on Thursdays through Sundays, starting on the Thursdays of March 14, March 28, April 11, May 9 and May 23. Tickets cost $68-$112.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.