‘Queen of Mean’ comic Lisa Lampanelli won’t go ‘full tilt’ on Trump
“The Queen of Mean” says the presidential candidate was always “great to me” during her “Apprentice” days, even when she roasted him.
April 8, 2016 - 4:00 am
On the one hand, you’re an insult comic and the guy who fired you on “Celebrity Apprentice” is now a presidential front-runner.
On the other hand, “I never had a bad experience with (Donald) Trump,” Lisa Lampanelli says.
“Of course I make fun of him a little bit,” says the comedian, who returns to The Venetian on Saturday. That’s nothing new. Lampanelli was part of a Comedy Central roast of Trump in 2011 and “he was a good sport about it.”
“And on ‘The Apprentice’ he was great to me, but I still make fun of various aspects of his personality and his appearance,” she adds.
You know, lines such as, “we’ll have an orange guy in the White House and it’s not an Oompa Loompa.”
Now that he is Candidate Trump, “a lot of people are like, ‘All bets are off now,’ ” Lampanelli says. But she is “still sort of involved with the Trumps” through charity work. “The catch-22 is it’s for St. Judes Children’s Hospital, which is probably the best charity in the world, because they don’t charge any of the patients that come there.
“So do I turn down a chance to make money for that and stay away from the Trumps? No. You go and do it and you have a good time. The Trumps have always treated me amazing, so why would I not do that?”
Lampanelli says she was as surprised as the rest of us when Trump entered the race, but “I did kind of think he was going to stick with it.
“First, he loves to hear himself talk, and there’s nothing better than being a politician for that. He loves to ruffle feathers and be controversial, so there you go.”
“I’m more surprised that more people seem to be really into him running and agree with these crazy views.”
Lampanelli says she “probably won’t vote for him” and “it’s private who I will vote for. (But) I still will make fun of him a little bit without going full tilt off on him. Because it’s not worth it. Again, he was nice to me. I have no ax to grind at all.”
The 54-year-old comedian — made famous as “The Queen of Mean” by the Comedy Central roasts — has made a lot of life and career changes since her 2012 meltdown on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
She lost more than 100 pounds through a gastric bypass surgery, and made her stand-up more personal by incorporating the experience. She even developed a one-woman show that she hoped would go to Broadway, but changed course and turned it into a play instead.
“Fat Girls, Interrupted” had a staged reading last month at the Westport Playhouse in Connecticut. “I just thought there was more to say from four different characters than just mine about food and weight and body image and all those things women go through,” she explains.
“I like this one a lot better” than the one-woman show,” she adds. “It’s not just me talking. I think other characters’ perspective was needed on the subject. … I wanted to have more perspective, like an anorexic, a skinny girl who can’t gain weight, and a big girl who likes herself and has confidence.”
Instead of separating these projects from her stand-up, Lampanelli says, “once I started writing the play, I started liking stand-up more than I had in recent years. There’s something about doing something else that’s totally unrelated.
“I’m so glad I didn’t become one of those people who are like, ‘Now I’m a playwright.’ I’m sure people go through that whole ‘I’m above this.’ No, this (stand-up) is a really cool job.”
She’s even started fielding questions at the end of the act. “I’m an open book. I have no secrets,” she says. And the strong reaction is “just a sign that I’ve sort of put new life into the stand-up by working on something else.”
After her attempt at writing for other characters in the play, Lampanelli will play a version of herself, a “loudmouth Italian pizza shop owner” on a May episode of “2 Broke Girls.” The guest role was written for her by series co-creator Michael Patrick King.
“It really helped me figured out that if I want to do a little acting here and there, I kind of have the confidence to do it now.”
She doesn’t know if it will become a recurring role, but if she got the call, she says, “I would be on a plane in three seconds.
“In the old days I would have said, ‘That’s like a spinoff. I should be like ‘Maude.’ ”
Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow @Mikeweatherford on Twitter.
Who: Lisa Lampanelli
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sands Showroom at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tickets: $49.50-$118.25 (702-414-9000)