Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lisa Lampanelli The Queen of Mean: Grade C


Lisa Lampanelli: The Queen of Mean (2002)

Lisa Lampanelli

Lampanelli is a 35 year old white woman in this stand-up act, performed at some dreadful comedy club in a suburban strip mall in New Jersey. That’s working for a living! She is known as an insult comic, in the style of Don Rickles. This show was entirely racial insults, focusing on Blacks, Hispanics, and Jews. The audience seemed to be mostly black. Her shtick is to hurl racial insults at individual audience members as she points, nods, and responds to their comments and reactions, but the camera stays on her, so she could be performing a fixed piece to an empty house for all we know. No interaction is shown. The jokes are not original or insightful, just gratuitously insulting. She assumes a black man just got out of prison, that an Indian woman doesn’t bathe, and that Jewish men have small penises. The jokes focus mostly on sex and money. The humor, such as it is, derives from the audience members’ squeals of self-recognition and shock at having these racial stereotypes so publicly aired. Stereotypes are pervasive in America and maybe it’s cathartic to air them out. The audience seemed to enjoy the show, judging from the interviews afterward, but it’s not for everyone.

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