Lisa Lampanelli, the certified* “Queen of Mean” continues her domination of the comedy game with the release of her fourth album aptly titled, Tough Love. It almost feels in vain to truly review a Lisa Lampanelli release, since she’s been doing her thing for the better part of two decades and at this point in the game you either love Lisa or hate her. Lucky for her, Lampanelli doesn’t seem to care what the naysayers think and her acerbic humor has grown ridiculously popular because of this. Add the fact that she’s a comedic juggernaut and you get what stands out most on Tough Love.
Lampanelli starts her performance in her usual fashion, picking out all of the different races in the audience and dutifully making sure to make fun of each one. If there is one thing Lisa can be commended for, its that through all of the perceived racism, she has one of the most racially unifying acts ever. Every member of the audience laughs completely open and freely at each because they know any minute they’ll be next. After getting the crowd lubricated with some delightfully off-color jokes, she proceeds to move on to the regular stomping grounds for her brand of comedy…putting train wreck celebrities and people on notice.
What makes Tough Love stand out is that it showcases how big Lisa really is. While audiences at these recorded shows are usually fans to begin with, Lisa’s fans hang on every word, almost to say that if she forgot any parts to her bits, the audience would be completely be able to finish it for her. Most other comedians are lying if they said they didn’t aspire to reach this level of fame during their career.
If I had one complaint it would be that Tough Love is an album almost made too much FOR the Lisa Lampanelli fan. She self-references her work on the Comedy Central Roasts (including name dropping Jeffery Ross), brings up past aspects of her life (aka love of black dudes), and talks about her marriage to a white guy (Jimmy Big Balls). The audience loves every minute of it, since her acts mimics listening to life stories told by a much more interesting friend. But bits of her material require some baseline knowledge of “Lisa Lampanelli” the character, which could be slightly daunting to the comedy newbie or person who hears this album out of the blue.
Lisa ends Tough Love doing what she does best, and that’s roasting celebs. Her final bit, “The Roast Of Worthless Americans” is a showcase of the ridiculousness of certain people in the public eye. In this arena, there are few comedians that could do it better. This bit makes me curious as to what a full album of just Lampanelli roast jokes would sound like.
Until this happens we have Tough Love, a showcase that would be a welcome addition to any fan’s catalog. Lampanelli hits her material like the pro she is and keeps it funny. Conversely if you weren’t a fan before Tough Love, there’s a good chance this wouldn’t change your mind, but then again Lisa could probably care less what you think. And that in-and-of itself is great comedy.
*someone certified her right?