“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” exclaims elocution student Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” Less fair and far less sick of words is Lisa Lampanelli, the erstwhile “Queen of Mean,” who appears at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on Friday.
“I have no problem with any word. Any word,” says Lampanelli. “I can’t think of a more controversial term than the N-word or the C-word and all words are equal to me. The thing is, it takes — as Lenny Bruce said — it takes the sting out of it, if there’s no hate behind it and you know that it’s just a word.”
Since she has no hate in her heart, she takes no responsibility for the possibility that her act may engender it in others, particularly as our society pays more attention to issue of youth and bullying.
“That’s on their parents to protect them from seeing comedy that they’re too young to see,” says Lampanelli, who broke ground in 2002 when she was the only female comic invited to skewer Chevy Chase in the New York Friars Club Roast on Comedy Central, and has since made waves roasting Donald Trump, David Hasselhoff, Flavor Flav, Gene Simmons and Larry the Cable Guy.
“I never explain myself. I have legions of fans in high school and college who seem to get the difference between real hate and hate that’s shown in a way to illustrate how silly a stereotype is,” she says.
Described by Joan Rivers as “fearless” and taking no prisoners, Lampanelli’s alphabet soup of acid bon mots includes slurs for just about every ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Regardless of its color, if your skin is thin, she’s fine with you staying away.
To LGBT folks who would equate the other F-word with the N-word, she says, “Those are gays who shouldn’t come out to see me because they just don’t get it. The fact that I have a huge gay following means that gay guys are a lot smarter than most people think. That they can take it with a grain of salt and there’s ironic content and they can handle it.”
She is willing to put her money where her mouth is for her fans.
In Kansas for a show last year, she pledged to donate $1,000 to an LGBT charity for every conservative activist who showed up to picket her. After counting to 44, she rounded it up to a $50,000 check.
“That, by the way, isn’t even scratching the surface,” she says with gusto. “When you see the amount of money that was raised by me ... let’s just put it this way, on a popular TV show that I can’t talk about yet ... I think you’ll be very, very happy. May 19 all truth will be revealed.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Fox Theatre, 2219 Broadway, Redwood City
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Contact: (650) 369-7770; www.foxrwc.com; www.livenation.com