A Chat with... Lisa Lampanelli who is debuting a new show at the Fairfield Theater
FAIRFIELD — Lisa Lampanelli is marking a change in the direction of her standup career, but that change is still being handled with humor.
Lampanelli, a Trumbull native and a local resident, will be debuting her new show, “Lisa Lampanelli’s Losin’ It,” at the Fairfield Theater Company Nov. 3.
It is, Lampanelli said, a storytelling show with a difference. The 57-year-old said she has been “obsessed” with food for as long as she can remember — eating butter by the stick as a child, chowing down to please her Italian mother — and lost and gained more than 372 pounds during her lifetime.
Lampanelli has curated her new show with professional actors, storytellers and special guests who have all dealt with weight and body-image issues and hopes it will let everyone “laugh their way to a little bit of sanity around food and body image.”
But Lampanelli, who lost more than 100 pounds with the help of bariatric surgery in 2012, is not just putting on an act.
The veteran comic is also planning a food and body image workshop Nov. 10 at the Life Balance Center in Weston, “Love Your Body, Feed Your Soul: From Starving & Stuffed to Fulfilled & Enough.”
“Do you spend much of your day obsessing about what you’re eating and how you’re eating it,” Lampanelli said. “Do you feel guilty about eating, hate yourself for eating what you enjoy, and cram down foods that are ‘good for you’?”
Well, she has too, Lampanelli said, and the workshop will provide participants with the tools they need to get them on a path to inner peace when it comes to food and body image. The workshop will use storytelling, sharing, meditation, journaling, brainstorming, deep listening and self-reflection.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s High School, and Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a journalism degree, Lampanelli first made a living working for publications like Rolling Stone, Popular Mechanics and Spy, before deciding once and for all, at the age of 30, to go into the field of standup comedy. Lampanelli said she failed at improv because she wanted all the laughs for herself.
Lisa Lampanelli’s Losin’ It
Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 3 and 8 p.m. $175 (premium)-$75. 203-259-1036
http://bit.ly/LisaLampanelliGW1 (3 p.m. tickets), http://bit.ly/LisaLampanelliGW2 (8 p.m. tickets)
Love Your Body, Feed Your Soul: From Starving & Stuffed to Fulfilled & Enough workshop
The Liphe Balance Center in Weston.
She has been on the stage ever since, doing tours and TV guest appearances and specials, along with some Grammy nominations. It was after her surgery and weight loss that Lampanelli started to talk about her lifelong food and body-image issues, leading to her new storytelling show, and her workshop.
“My comedy heroes have always been Don Rickles and Howard Stern because both were and are able to say whatever they like with such a huge degree of warmth that people knew they had real love for their audience in their hearts,” Lampanelli said. “I have always hoped that I've come across this way, and now that I'm venturing into storytelling, life coaching, and workshops, I want that warmth and love to come through unfiltered.”
Her family has been supportive along the way.
“My parents never over-praised my siblings and me nor under-praised us,” Lampanelli said. “I think they were surprised I went into comedy but by the time I decided to try to make a real go of it, I was 30 and I think they just wanted me to find something I was passionate about the way my father had found that painting was his passion.”
Of course, Lampanelli’s standup routines were not known for being exactly family-friendly. “ I know they probably would have preferred I had a clean, safe routine, but eventually, after I became known around the country, they just got on board and said, ‘Screw it. We're along for the ride.’”