Lisa Lampanelli gave us a fantastic interview earlier this week. When asked about her NIGHTMARE GIG, this is what she told us. See her tonight at The Lincoln Theatre. -ed.
Lisa Lampanelli: I had a really weird show in Dayton, Ohio. I had been doing comedy there for a few years, probably about seven, so I thought I had heard everything and I thought people kind of understood why I do comedy, to make fun of stereotypes and racists and all that.
It was right after Michael Jackson died and I did a Michael Jackson joke, and a guy yelled out, “Fuck that n-word,” so he called Michael Jackson the n-word. I snapped, and I couldn’t believe that someone would say that, first of all because the guy had just died, and even though I was making fun of him I’m obviously not that extreme. Also people yell out a lot of things about Michael Jackson, like pedophile, deranged, etc. but I said to the crowd, “If you don’t get rid of him and his whole racist table, you guys can either sit here as long as it takes for him to leave, as he clearly meant it, and not have the rest of the show, or you can get rid of him and his whole racist table and have the rest of the show,” but I couldn’t believe that people misunderstood why I do what I do.
At the time I had a black boyfriend, named Daryl, and I called him up and asked, “Should I just stop doing this kind of material, because people misunderstand it?” and he said, “No, what you do, you do in a way that seems so obvious that its a joke and it’s a parody and you talk more and more about dating me, so it’s in a way that shows more and more of who you are, that you’re not backing out,” so I thought that was pretty good advice and it was from the horse’s mouth, so I didn’t back out and I haven’t had a problem ever since. But yeah, that was weird, because when I wrote that in my book, the person who ran that Dayton club said, “I don’t know what it is, but every comic has a racist problem in Dayton, Ohio.”
Brightest Young Things: Yeah, that’s very interesting, that’s horrible. I’m very sorry that happened, but I’m not surprised that happened.
LL: Yeah, I know right?
BYT: These where people just going to a comedy show and they don’t necessarily know the comic, right? Because if you’re going to a Lisa Lampanelli show, people should know what they’re getting into.
LL: Well yeah, half the club knew who I was and the other half of the club were idiots and just coming for the chicken fingers, which is why for the past ten years I’ve been doing exclusively theaters and I told my manager, “If I ever get unpopular enough to just play clubs, then I’m retiring,” because you get used to the fact that you’re known, and you just can’t go backwards, you can’t go back to that again.
As told to Brandon Wetherbee. Edited for clarity.