For some people, once you find that spot in a career when there is nothing left to do, they stay right where they are and push through, day after day, doing the same thing. Luckily for those in the western Southern Tier, Lisa Lampanelli did not do such a thing. She will be bringing her second career to the Seneca Allegany Casino's Events Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Lampanelli started out, straight out of Syracuse University, as a journalist. Her career took off as a writer for entertainment magazines like Rolling Stone. But, after interviewing all the people she wanted to she found the desire to try something else.
"I had interviewed everyone that there was to interview, in my mind," she said. "I got tired of the same thing and only making $11,000 a year. I have always been able to make people laugh, so I thought, 'Let me try this one.'"
She said she took the stage and all went well. Development into the Queen of Mean had started. The first leg of her journey was not what is seen on stage now, by any means, she said. Lampanelli's insult style, akin to a female version of Don Rickles, is something that has had to take its time developing.
"I don't think anybody starts where they end up," she said. "I mean, that first-year doctor, right out of medical school, isn't going to go out and conduct brain surgery by himself right away."
Building on the concept of the monologue, Lampanelli said she really had to develop who she was, and how she got there by finding out more about herself, doing what she says she likes to see in other comics.
"I like a comic that will work on themselves," she said. "I like someone that will go to the therapist to learn more about themselves."
Though she said she likes to hear others on stage, she said she does not have any close friends that are comics. The business has a history of one performer stealing material from another, as well as a general cutthroat atmosphere.
"I got along with other comics for about the first 10 years," she said. "They didn't know who I was yet and I was still trying to figure that out as well. After that, though, for the next five years, they were real (jerks) to me. I was starting to become known and had proven myself.
"Comics have a tendency to be really jealous of others," she said.
As her career developed, Lampanelli said she started to pick up on audience behavior and found that picking on them, turning the show around, had people in the audience in stitches, so she continued to go with it. Her methods had a dual effect to help build her show as well; it keeps the material new, and people will not hear the same jokes on stage as they have heard on a television special.
For the audience, hearing fresh material is always great, but that material could come with a cost, Lampanelli said. You see, she likes to find her material from the first six to 10 rows. You'll notice that the lights seem to be up a bit brighter on that section. She likes to be able to find that new victim, or, material, right away. But, she says she can tell who she needs to stay away from, and who is going to be a good mark.
"I tend to find those that look open with a warm personality," she said. "If they are sitting there, looking insecure and look like they are just there to laugh and have a good time, I will leave them alone."
She found out, the hard way, that reading a room is vital.
"I was doing a show and found this guy that I wanted to use for material," she said. "Turns out it was the reviewer from (a major New York magazine). I really found the worst person in the room to insult that night."
Those who are going to the show are warned, it is a 16-and-over show. Some people will bring children younger to shows, expecting the television comedy, but that is not the case, she said.
"It's not an R-rated show," she said. "No one takes off their shirt. That's a good thing. No one wants to see me without a shirt. I don't want to see that. It is a PG-13 show. If you have a rich sense of humor, come out and sit in the front row. If not, sit back and enjoy it."
Lisa Lampanelli has been on Donald Trump's show, "Celebrity Apprentice," countless Comedy Central Roasts, the roast of Gene Simmons, on his A&E show, "Family Jewels," and has had a Broadway show of her own, as well as "The Howard Stern Show." She has been the face for a major weight loss campaign, losing more than 100 pounds in a year after having gastric sleeve surgery. The procedure is related to gastric bypass.
The show is close to a sellout, but a few seats remain. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and start at $25. Lisa Lampanelli takes the stage at 7 p.m.