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Posted on Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 8:29 a.m.

Insult comic Lisa Lampanelli heckles the Michigan Theater crowd

By Jennifer Eberbach


Lisa Lampanelli


What did you think of the show? Leave a comment and / or vote in the poll at the end of this post:

There are very few comediennes who have mastered insult comedy like Lisa Lampanelli. Her preferred habitat is a comedy niche that is most often occupied by snarly dudes. The "Loveable Queen of Mean," as she bills herself, has often been compared to Don Rickles and Archie Bunker; her big influence is Dean Martin; and she is a favorite of shock-jock Howard Stern. That should give you an idea of how far she can take a joke.

True to form, Lampanelli's performance at the Michigan Theater this Saturday threw hard punches at all sorts of people, races, her gay fan base, celebrities, and even herself. Ann Arbor's crowd got what you would expect from her stand-up—piles of profanity, offensive jokes, and spiky jabs at people who annoy her.

Many fans of comedy are familiar with Lampanelli as one of the premier female roasters out there. She is famous for cutting celebrities down to size on 8 of the New York Friar's Club roasts that air on Comedy Central, and she was roast master for Larry the Cable Guy.

She also came close to making it out of Donald Trump's boardroom with her dignity on the "Celebrity Apprentice." Eliminated from the final four, the show portrayed her as a good competitor but also an emotional basket case who frequently squabbled with the other contestants.

Lampanelli made plenty of fun of Donald Trump and especially co-contestants Clay Aiken, who she got along with, and Lou Ferrigno, who she called the "dumbest person on the planet" at the show. She ripped apart a lot of celebrities, including a story about her Twitter war with Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife that started with a joke about her lady parts. And she told a tale about how badly Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino bombed at Donald Trump's roast. And she shared some tasteless jokes about Zsa Zsa Gabor, Chaz Bono, and Roger Ebert that would surely disgust a lot of people.

You do not tend to buy tickets to one of her shows unless you like that kind of humor. And those in attendance at the Michigan Theater sure seemed to eat it up. Initial gasps of shock, and sometimes even disgust, turned into laughter all night long.

40 minutes into the show, Lampanelli paused to tell the audience that we had passed her test. She wanted to know how far to take the second half. And she found out that her fans in Ann Arbor laugh at everything, no matter how offensive or nasty. She commented several times on how much she was enjoying the crowd.

Nothing was off limits at the show—racial slurs, dirty gay jokes, poking fun at the handicapped. But I could see why she is frequently called an equal opportunity offender. Everyone is fair game.

People in the first few rows found that out. From the start of the show Lampanelli was heckling audience members, including a black security guard who she called "Green Mile" at one point.

Lampanelli spoke with Kevin Ransom for's preview of the show about dropping 97 pounds after weight loss surgery, a topic she used to poke fun at herself at the show.

Mark Mueth of Ann Arbor and his friends were some of the people who got heckled by Lampanelli. He reported after the show that "it was everything I expected it to be. She was just as raunchy as I expected, so she delivered," he said. He had a feeling they might be heckled when he bought third-row tickets to an insult comedy show. "No one wants to sit in the front row of a comedy show! But I was like, I'm not afraid!" he said with a laugh.

His friend Ian Frank of Pleasant Ridge called Lampanelli's heckles "abusively fun."

Although husband and wife Dale and Amanda Hall of Coldwater found themselves a little offended by a couple of the jokes, that did not really bother them at all. "I've watched her stand-up, so I knew what to expect. I love her...My wife didn't really like her joke about shaking babies though, because she runs a day care," Dale said. But Amanda says, "I was ready for it. I can take a joke. You come to the show already knowing that she is going to say things that not everybody is going to like. It's just a joke," she said.



Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

She is disgusting. There's nothing funny about taking "humor" to the point where it's target is in tears, where the target is handicapped or disabled or a military veteran, or god forbid ends up dead as a result of the vitriol. She is an example of the worst of the worst as evidenced by her own emotional breakdown on Apprentice when the tables were turned on her.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Not my thing....stupid stuff. But to each his/her own. Too offensive and I don't find extreme humor at other's embarrasment or humiliation funny. Kind of like what happened with the shock jocks in Australia who orchestrated a prank phone call on a radio show imitating the Queen of England and obtaining (illegally) confidential medical information about the Duchess of Cambridge, and a day later, the receptionist who was hoodwinked by the call, committed suicide. An extreme example, but I don't feel that insult comedy is comedy at all.

Kai Petainen

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

i believe in free speech... and it's good to see equal opportunity offending (as a symbol of free speech)... but we still live in a word where equal opportunity offending does not take place -- just watch south park, and you'll realize that certain stuff is still off limits. why? because others don't share the ideals of free speech.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

jm: the mohammed scene was so lame it wasn't even funny. But it did tick off muslims so bad there hasn't been an islam joke since. They haven't done a good skit on obama yet. Other than that nothing is off limits.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

What is off limits to Trey and Matt of South Park?

Steven Murphy

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack. When I was doing time at the children's funny farm there in Ann Arbor back in '65, the staff would march me off to the Quiet Room if I said a bad word, and I'd get a little lecture on about how wrong it was to say such filthy words before they'd lock the door on me. But now things have apparently changed, gotten more "sophisticated," and so these days they're actually paying people to stand in front of an audience to be vile, vulgar and disgusting. I sincerely expect that The Good Lord will return to this pornographfied world soon and do more than send the culpable to a mere QR. I just hope that I'll have my own dirty act a little more cleaned up by the time He decides that He's seen enough, because sin is real and it's most serious.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

So that you aren't offended at every moments notice.

Steven Murphy

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Stop, why would one not want to have clear unobstructed vision in a "hate filled world"? Doesn't make sense.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Oy ve...say a couple hailmarys for us all while you are at it. Please pick up your blinders at your church of choice and hopefully they will allow you to live in this hate filled world.

Steven Murphy

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

ibit, I don't get your point. I never said she has a monopoly on her evil means of making a living.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, etc. Have you ever seen their material?