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Queen of Mean visits Beaver Creek

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
ALL |

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” During a recent roast on Comedy Central, Lisa Lampanelli assumes the podium sporting a purple, knee-length dress, heels and blond hair curling slightly over her shoulders.

She is a vision of femininity. She could easily be confused with a ’50s housewife.

Then she opens her mouth.

Lampanelli turns to Flavor Flav, the ’80s-rapper-turned-reality-TV-stud, who is sitting on a throne.

“If Flavor Flav was any smaller and darker, Brad and Angelina would try to adopt him,” Lampanelli quips.

The Flav explodes into laughter, the oversized clock around his neck swaying.

“Dude, enough with the clock. You haven’t had to be anywhere in 13 years,” Lampanelli continues, segueing into a string of insults so crude, the Vail Daily can’t print them.

Hey, that’s how the Queen of Mean rolls.

Whether she’s tongue-lashing celebrities on Comedy Central Roasts or slinging putdowns on her standup special “Dirty Girl,” Lampanelli spares no one from her f-bomb-laced wit.

Beaver Creek audiences will receive a verbal beating from Lampanelli tonight at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, where she performs as part of the third annual “Humor on the Slopes” event.

Beaver Creek officials are banking on the fact that local audiences will laugh at Lampanelli’s bawdy, racially-charged humor that “pulls the covers off these ridiculous stereotypes we find ourselves surrounded by,” Beaver Creek Resort Company executive director Tony O’Rourke said.

“We believe in the first amendment,” he said. ‘We’ve told people it’s for mature audiences.”

Potty mouth pay off

Lampanelli is a study in contrasts. Even though her stage persona talks like a high school dropout, pronouncing whore like “who-uh” and using “ain’t,” she has a Harvard education.

In fact, Lampanelli, 46, grew up in Fairfield County, Conn., a white enclave packed with soccer moms.

“I kind of hate those people but kind of envy them at the same time,” she said. “It’s really, really rich in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It’s like Charlotte in ‘Sex in the City’. You kind of see her and think, ‘She’s so classy and beautiful’ and you love that she has manners but at the same time go, ‘God, that’s boring.'”

Anything but boring, Lampanelli started out as a journalist for “Rolling Stone,” “Spy” and “Hit Parader.” She interviewed “every bad hair band throughout the ’80s” before trading her pen for a mic at age 30.

Looking back on it, Lampanelli draws few parallels between the lives of journalists and comedians.

“You people earn $12,000 a year; I’m a multimillionaire with two Toyota Camrys,” she jokes. “I don’t like to brag, but I’ve got tinted windows on my Toyota Camry, so step off bitch.”

Unapologetically bawdy, Lampanelli found her niche as an insult comedian. She charms audiences with racial jabs and blunt commentary on her sex life. Much of Lampenelli’s material focuses on getting busy with black men.

“It’s never really that busy because it takes them about 20 seconds,” she said in the interview. “That adds up to about a half hour a week. It’s like, I really just think they are exotic and adorable, and it has nothing to do with their girth or length.”

Lampanellis’ potty mouth paid off. She became a regular on Comedy Central roasts, lambasting everyone from Chevy Chase to Pamela Anderson. In “Dirty Girl,” her standup special, she unleashes a slew of insults that landed her the ultimate compliment: a Grammy nomination.

Americans know Lampanelli as a thick-skinned professional who laughs off stabs at her weight and sexual habits, but the comedienne has a sensitive side.

If she gets a negative fan letter, she has her assistant destroy it (“so it doesn’t hurt my feelings,”) and avoids her Myspace page “because God forbid they send me a nasty email.”

Mostly, though, people get her sense of humor. After all, poking fun at racial stereotypes is a way of debunking them.

“I mean, let’s be honest: When [Don] Rickles does it or I do it or Howard Stern does it, you know we don’t have racial problems with anyone,” Lampanelli said. “We really love everybody the same or you can’t get away with it. You’d be totally screwed if you meant anything that you said.”

She also admits to going a little easy on Pamela Anderson during the Baywatch star’s roast, after it became clear Anderson was tearing up a bit at some of the other comics’ harsh-but-not-quite-funny insults.

Looking into the future, Lampanelli will appear in the Owen Wilson flick “Drillbit Taylor,” which hits theaters March 21.

She recently roasted Kiss legend Gene Simmons for an upcoming episode of his show “Family Jewels” and is working on two more TV projects: A cartoon in which she runs from the law with a black man; and a dramedy along the lines of “Entourage” or “Weeds,” which she is pitching to HBO and Showtime.

Oh, and she appears on the Tonight Show next month with “Cruel Intentions” heartthrob Ryan Phillippe.

On a personal level, the comedienne is thinking about selling her home in Fairfield County, Conn. and moving to New York City, where she has lived off and on for 20 years. Her love life is going, cough, well.

“I’m handling my co-dependency by only going on nice, lighthearted dates with boring asshole guys who end up just being friends anyway,” she said.

And she’s handling her eating by trying to stay fit and frequenting the Canyon Ranch spa in Tucson, Ariz., where she owns a home. Lampenelli said she recently lost 40 pounds and doesn’t want to backslide.

“So basically, I’m just trying not to be into any of my addictions, which are men and food, both chocolate.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.


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