When I interviewed Lisa Lampanelli, she was kind, courteous and about as accommodating as one could hope. … I know, I was disappointed, too.
Then again, the acid-tongued comic known as the Queen of Mean — who made her name mercilessly roasting celebrities like William Shatner, Pamela Anderson, and Donald Trump — was talking about a project that put her in a very good mood. She is one of three famous folks (along with Tamara Tunie and Haylie Duff) receiving a seasonal home makeover in the latest Celebrity Holiday Homes, which airs 9pm Friday on HGTV. She jokes that she was so pleased with designer Bryan Rafanelli‘s Christmas-on-the-beach approach to her Connecticut home that she forgot to make fun of him. It could be the first time people are seeing the “nice” version of her, but hardcore fans should know she didn’t feel good about it. “It was very difficult to not call everybody the c word when they came over and destroyed my house,” she says. “I had to go take a shower afterward.”
The newly svelte Lampanelli, who with her husband Jimmy Cannizzaro recently underwent gastric surgery, took some time to answer our “7 Questions,” sounding off about Donald Trump, Honey Boo Boo, and her unabashed love for The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
Oh my God, I’m going to be truthful, I’m not even going to lie to you. I always get O, because you know Oprah always has these beautiful favorite things she’s got going. I love that. And some advice I like to ignore. I also will always buy some kind of decorating magazine, because it’s a little fantasy of mine to redo my house every year. I’ll buy, like, Country Home or HGTV Magazine or whatever. And I always buy Vanity Fair, because there are articles in there that I try to pretend to understand. So it’s good on an airplane. You look like, “Oh, look at me, how classy I am.”
If your DVR only carried three shows, which ones would you want?
Again, you’re going to say I’m a lowlife, and I don’t care. I love my Dancing With the Stars, my Celebrity Apprentice, and I cannot live without The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Not the other ones. Once you watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey, no other Real Housewives counts.
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
I’m an insult comic, as you know. I make fun of people, and they enjoy it for some reason, whether it’s low self-esteem or high self-esteem. One time I had a guy in a wheelchair roll up to me and yell at me because I didn’t make fun of him. And he said, “The highest form of prejudice is excluding people.” So I told this guy, “Hey, you want me to make fun of you? Come back in two weeks and I’ll ruin you.” So the guy actually came back to the club, I did all my jokes about him and he loved it and left happy. To me it’s very strange that people want to be made fun of, but it’s my job to comply with this.
What are three things you must have in your fridge or pantry?
I have to have chocolate of some sort, because with our surgery you can eat every food on the planet. Nothing is banned, so you want to make every bite you have count. I have to eat high-protein most of the time, but I always like to have a little piece of chocolate afterward, wherein before it would be a pound of chocolate. Now it’s like a bite. I always have to have milk in the refrigerator because my husband is so frickin’ lazy that God forbid he would actually make a breakfast. He’s got to have cereal all the time, this guy. And I always have to have grapefruit because, get this, Dr. Oz says grapefruits help you burn 30 percent more calories. I don’t know if it’s bull or not, but I believe Dr. Oz, so I’m doing it.
You seem to still be on friendly terms with Donald Trump. Is that difficult these days, given the beatings he’s been taking in the press?
Well, I’m not friends with anybody [from The Celebrity Apprentice], I’d say I’m more acquaintances because they treated me so well on The Apprentice. They treat all the celebrities like kings, they really do. I mean, they had me on till the end, I was on in every single episode. They’ve been really nice to me. So, you know, his opinions are his opinions. If I like a Donald Trump tie, I’m going to buy one, but if I don’t, I don’t. I think it’s just like keeping up an acquaintanceship with someone like that is a little crazy, because you get asked about it a lot, but we’re not sitting around at Thanksgiving and hanging out.
This is a TV magazine, and you’re the Queen of Mean, so just go ahead and lay into what you think is the dumbest show on TV right now.
Honey Boo Boo‘s gotta be, right? Put it this way, if I watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey and think that’s good, then I have to think Honey Boo Boo is really bad when I can’t even get through one episode. I just can’t. I don’t get it. I think it’s the English-to-English subtitles. It’s very strange. Any show about celebrating idiots is just horrible, like this frickin’ Gold Rush, and Dirty Jobs, anything that’s all these disgusting people who do this stuff. Moonshiners? Why would I want to watch lowlifes? I already have a family of lowlifes, I don’t have to relive it on TV.
Photos: © 2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. Credit: Anders Krusberg