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Lifestyle

May 13, 2013

For Lisa Lampanelli, it's nice to be the 'Queen of Mean'

CHICAGO — We haven’t seen the last of Lisa Lampanelli on the Comedy Central Roasts, not according to the “Queen of Mean” herself.

Lampanelli, the 51-year-old insult comic, said she simply skipped the last two Comedy Central Roasts (which “honored” Charlie Sheen in 2011 and Roseanne Barr in 2012) because she has become more selective about who she skewers. She insisted she would return for the right honoree.

“It’s a lot of work,” Lampanelli said over the phone. “I kind of have a gut feeling which ones will be widely viewed and which ones won’t. The Roseanne one wasn’t good or very well-liked. I didn’t do the Charlie Sheen one because part of me felt like I would be making fun of someone who is unstable, like Gary Busey on ‘The Apprentice’ — someone who is not all there. That wasn’t for me.”

Some would argue Flavor Flav fits the same description, but that didn’t stop Lampanelli from participating in the 2007 roast of the diminutive Public Enemy hype man and joking, “If Flavor Flav was any smaller and darker, Brad and Angelina would try to adopt him” and “Dude, enough with the clock. You can take it off. You haven’t had to be anywhere in 13 years.”

Still, after years of show-stealing performances, Lampanelli has earned the right to pick and choose her targets. And it’s not like she completely turned her back on the genre. She did take part in the Friars Club’s roast of Betty White in 2012, which wasn’t televised. She’s well aware of the benefits of a memorable performance and credits the roasts for giving her career a boost, much like they did, more recently, for comedians Whitney Cummings and Amy Schumer.

“Ticket sales will get higher the day after roasts,” Lampanelli said. “I remember after the Pamela Anderson roast being told ‘You’re sold out — you can add two more shows.’ My (shows) never sold out. The roasts definitely gave me a huge bump, as did appearing on ‘Howard Stern.’”

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