Lisa Lampanelli: Stories, laughs and truths

Having transformed herself from the Queen of Mean to the Queen of Meaning, Lisa Lampanelli will present a night of laughs and maybe a little bit of, well, meaning in “Fat Chance: An Evening of Conversation & Story with Lisa Lampanelli” at the Ridgefield Playhouse April 11. Lampanelli used to be known as an insult comic in a career that spanned more than 30 years, but she now leads food and body-image workshops and does life coaching to inspire others to live their best lives. The show at the Playhouse promises to be a night of no-holds-barred entertainment filled with truth and hilarity. Andrea Valluzzo spoke with Lampanelli about her show.
Andrea Valluzzo: This is not your typical comedy show. You’re connecting with your audiences on deeply personal themes many of us deal with firsthand.

Lisa Lampanelli: I’m doing a storytelling show kind of like The Moth where people get up and talk about issues they’ve gone through. It’s a really funny show, but since my host Frank DeCaro and I are talking about issues with food, weight and body image, audiences will not only laugh, they’ll relate. I’ve never met anyone without some form of struggle around these subjects — and I’m 57! So, I figure we can laugh our way through the truth.
AV: You underwent quite a transformation yourself.
LL: Yep! I got out of the stand-up business last November, and about seven years before that, I lost 107 pounds and I have kept it off since. It’s great to be able to share that openly and get some laughs out of it.
AV: Tell us about your work inspiring others.
LL: As a life coach, I am working with a lot of people one-on-one. I’m nearly finished with my life-coaching certification program, but ever since I started helping people on an individual basis, I feel amazing. With me, people see someone who has struggled with the same things as they do. Plus, when you do this kind of performing, it’s so fulfilling. I come offstage and think, “Now, THIS is what work is SUPPOSED to feel like!”
AV: Was it a hard decision to retire from doing stand-up?
LL: Not at all! I always go with my gut so I don’t quit anything — a career, a marriage, a friendship — without that deep knowing. A few years ago, I started noticing things more. In the last 10 years I noticed when things were not feeling right, so now, when I make a decision, I say “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and I go ahead and do it anyway. None of my decisions are ever hard because I do it when I know it’s right, and I never second-guess what’s inside. Like, with doing stand-up: it wasn’t miserable. It just didn’t have the spark and the joy anymore. I wanted more of a spark, a fizziness. And now I have that.
AV: What can we expect at your show?
LL: If you want to laugh, then definitely come. If you want to hear stories with a point, then definitely come. If you want to be insulted, call me for private coaching.