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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feb. 27: Johnny Scoop

Tonight, Jonathan Skupowski (aka Johnny Scoop) joins us for his second go-round on What's So Funny? What could we possibly talk about that we didn't exhaust back in November of 2009? Well, let's see...He's got multiple shows going on at the Hennessey (or Henne$$ey, as he writes it) and the Kingston (King$ton?), his partnership with a commercial radio station, his participation in a documentary, and he's got a new theme song, I hear. And who knows, we might even talk Oscars since that's happening tonight. I've seen a whopping zero of the ten best film nominees so I've got some pretty strong opinions, as you can imagine.

Podcast episode 217ish: Paul Anthony

When Paul Anthony guested on the show a few weeks ago, we had a grand old time. I pressed him on whether his monthly talent show was to be appreciated on its own merits or if something more sinister, something akin to laughing at, as opposed to with, the performers was going on. He also talked about his love for Carrot Top and why the phrase "bike rentals" will always take him to a special place in his head. Plus we got a call all the way from Las Vegas.

As always, listen here, download at iTunes or your favourite podcast server. What's So Funny? is where you want it to be.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Canadian Olympic record

Remember about this time last year? Remember the hordes of people everywhere? Downtown was a zoo. Well, it turns out Vancouver was hosting the Winter Olympics. Who knew?! That explains so many things.

This is the one-year anniversary of those games. See, there was a legacy afterall! Each year we can relive it over and over again. Man, the five-year anniversary is going to be off the charts. Remember that time that Canadian athlete (I forget his/her name) got the bronze? Totally awesome. A country remembers.

Okay, so I'm not the biggest Olympics fan. I just figure if I don't watch the sport any other time of the year, why should I care during the Olympics? But I will admit I liked the extra-curricular activities. One two-time What's So Funny? guest was, it turns out, responsible for a lot of the goodwill and general bonhomie of the viewing populace. David C. Jones tells me that the Vancouver games had more on-site entertainment than any other winter games. Ever. That's dating back to the ancient Greeks... Or maybe not. That'd be the summer games, I guess. Anywho, it's still something.

Especially when you consider that one year prior to the games, on-site entertainment was cut from the Vancouver Olympic Committee budget. What were they thinking? I'm not sure, but five months before the games were to start, on-site entertainment was added back into the budget.

The goal was to distract venue-goers from the long waits and, presumably, the outrageous prices they paid to watch ridiculous sports in person when it was all on TV. The entertainers would keep the crowds laughing and clapping (to keep their hands warm, I guess) and before they knew it, they were inside the venue watching Canada dominate the other frigid countries of the world. I didn't see any of these 1086 performers making up a total of 108 acts, but apparently they included flash mobs, rock bands, show choirs and "outrageous costumes!"

And David recruited and helped create these acts. Good on him. For once Canada has a record at an Olympic games!

Check out this video Jones edited, and congratulations to all the performers (most of whom were volunteers) for their part in the record-setting achievement.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Podcast episode 216ish: Mike Storck

It's been a long time coming, but the Mike Storck episode is finally available in podcast form. I hear one factor in a podcast's success is a regular drop date. I'm going with that excuse for why we're not more popular. In the meantime, enjoy them when I get the chance to post them. Hopefully we'll get a few more up in the next week.

In this episode, Baltimore native Storck talks about performing for bikers, being homeless in Florida, getting drunk with John Waters, and crashing motorbikes. And more. It's one hour, doncha know?

Listen here, over at iTunes (where you promise you'll leave a rating and a comment), on ye olde Comedy Couch, or wherever fine podcasts are sold (it's free, though, don't you worry – you don't even need to sit through endless sponsorship announcements or pleas for your hard-earned money, which is all in vogue on podcasts these days).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Feb. 20: Ryan Hamilton

Sorry about the false alarm earlier. We had scheduled Dino Archie for tonight but no sooner had I posted the info did I get an e-mail from Dino saying he had to cancel. That's show biz.

I've got a pretty good episode in the can, though, I was saving for a rainy day. Well, here's that rainy day (metaphorically speaking). On Friday I recorded an hour-long interview with Idaho native and New York resident Ryan Hamilton, who was headlining the Comedy Mix this past weekend. You may remember Ryan from two seasons of NBC's Last Comic Standing. Or maybe you read about him in Rolling Stone, where he was named (in a piece titled, appropriately, What's So Funny?) one of five new comics to watch. Or maybe you saw him at the Vancouver comedy festival last fall. Or maybe it was at the Just For Laughs comedy tour.

We sat in his hotel room and talked about his life in comedy, his unique look, comedy competitions, why he performs clean, and his private life. So there you go. Hot off the presses.

Feb. 20: Dino Archie -- CANCELLED

A few weeks ago, this space started with the lyrics to theme from Alice. Well, if Alice were a dude, like Cooper, it would have started, There's a new boy in town...

Okay, I'm struggling here but that's because I know almost nothing about tonight's guest, Dino Archie. I just happened upon him about a month ago out at Lafflines, where he was emceeing. Who is this guy, I wondered? He's funny. He's African-American (hold on to your charges of racism – I draw attention to it because Vancouver usually only has one black comic at a time). I guessed that he was American by his accent. And he is. Yet here he was hosting a show. American comics tend only to come up when they're headlining.

I spoke to him a bit that night and he said he'd be in town for the next couple of months. Bingo! I snatched him up for What's So Funny? I've since seen him do a set at Nevermind on W. 4th and he killed just like he did at Lafflines. Tonight we'll find out who, exactly, is Dino Archie and why he is here? Is it for a woman? Is he on the lam? Or did he just hear that Vancouver is the place to be for his comedy career? How long will he stay? Tune in.

THIS JUST IN: Just got word Dino can't make it tonight. Doh! But we'll figure out something. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yet another local makes good

Just last week we had news that Vancouver's Lachlan Patterson (two-time guest on What's So Funny?) made his Tonight Show debut with a solid stand-up set. This week we get news that our very own Phil Hanley (three-time guest on WSF?) will make his debut on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tomorrow night. That'd be Friday, Feb. 18. Set your PVRs, folks. Phil is hilarious.

The Ferguson show has been kind to Vancouver comics. Todd Allen (three-time guest on WSF?) and Larke Miller (recent guest on WSF?) have both done sets on the CBS late-night talk show. (Am I missing anyone?) These are all comics you can see around town at various clubs, restaurants, bars and anywhere fine comedy is served. So often John and Jane Q. Public only get out to see celebrity comics who have been validated by the power of TV, preferably American TV. Well, they're here all around you. Go check 'em out sometime. Who will be the next?

THIS JUST IN: Uh, never mind. Phil just posted on his Facebook page this note:
"Hey everybody thanks again for all your comments. I just found out that because something unexpected happened at tonights taping my set won't air tomorrow. I'll keep you posted."
That's a shame but it doesn't change what I wrote above. We'll keep you posted when his set is due to air.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stand-Up, Scottsdale!

I'm back, safe and sound. While on vacation in sunny Arizona I found myself staying right next door to a comedy club. This, believe it or not, was not by design. But at least now I can answer the question, "What's so funny in Scottsdale?" I'll tell you: It's a club called Stand-up, Scottsdale!

I wasn't expecting much. The "club" was a room off Papi Chulo's Mexican Restaurant, which itself was part of the Clarion hotel. And they only held shows on Friday and Saturday. Still, I'm always up for comedy so gladly paid my ten bucks admission (I got $5 off the $15 cover charge with my receipt from Papi Chulo's). The early show was sold out so I had to come back for the 10 o'clock show, which was almost sold out, too. I use the past tense because it turns out I was there for the penultimate weekend at Papi Chulo's. So if you head down to Scottsdale looking for comedy, check their website for their new location. I believe, if my chickenscratch serves me, it's at a location called Anderson's Fifth Estate, a legendary Scottsdale club where, Google assures me, a young David Spade and the Gin Blossoms cut their teeth.

But back to the show. The host was a guy named Howard Hughes. Turns out he's also the owner of Stand-Up, Scottsdale! You gotta love a guy with such a famous name who doesn't make a single reference to it in his act. He just comes out and plays the aging cool guy to perfection, giving medical tips and reliving the '80s. I talked to Hughes after the show. It's nice that a comic is running the show. I got the impression that art is more important to him than the bottom line. He hates cookie cutter comedy, which he'll readily tell the crowd is what is offered up by his competitor down the street. I call it paint-by-numbers comedy; he calls it balloon animal comedy. Same difference.

When I got back to my hotel room, I Googled Howard Hughes. Not an easy thing to do, given the name. But perseverance paid off. I found a great quote by the comedic Hughes in a story on
"People think laughter is the only reaction to comedy; it's not," Hughes said. "You can leave thoroughly disgusted from a comedy show and love it."
As someone who's not a huge laugher, I really love this quote. But beyond that, even, it's exactly right. Any reaction, from laughter to disgust to discussion to reflection and thoughts, is good so long as the comedian is competent. With an attitude like that coming from the owner, it promises an always interesting show. (Read the whole article here.) If the night I went to was typical, you won't see generic comedy at his club. Everyone had a unique perspective on their subject matter that seemed true to them. But before we get to everyone on the bill, let's look at a clip of Hughes in action from a couple years ago. He didn't do any of this material on the night I saw him. In my opinion, he was much better live than in this clip, but you still get a sense of his persona:

First to the stage after Hughes was local legend Steve "ShortBus" Krause. I don't know Krause's disability, but he's in a wheelchair. If there were any sympathy laughs, they soon turned into real laughs. The guy is very funny. As he said, "You guys are staring at me like I'm contagious. Don't worry, you can't catch awesome." And while he necessarily talked about his condition, he didn't harp on it. It obviously informs who he is, but he was the total package. Here's a sampling for you:

Next up was the Mexican Ricardo Rocha, who described his light complexion as "Saved By The Bell Latino". And for those of us who didn't get it, he clarified: "CHiPs Latino". I appreciated the older reference. Like Krause, though, he didn't fixate on his identity. Here's a clip of Rocha:

The feature act was Dean Delray, who you may have seen in The Longshots or Hellride, but I haven't. Again, like the comics who hit the stage before him, he didn't play to type. Delray has tattoos up and down his arms and looks like a rough and tumble character but there was nary a mention of his ink and he showed lots of vulnerability. He did long chunks of material. One I remember was on Radio Shack. His explanation for the store's longevity is that it's a front: they must sell weed in there, that's how they stay in business, then mimicked a stoner carrying out a big item: "Thanks a lot for that VCR." I couldn't find any video of Delray's stand-up, but here he is as Curly from the Three Stooges in a video from Funny or Die:

The headliner was Jay Davis, who was on Dane Cook's Tourgasm. Out of all the acts that night, he was perhaps the most generic, starting with a reference to his look ("like Emilio Estevez and Anne Heche morphed into one") and going into a Smart Car gag. But then he got into a long, painful story about his ex-wife cheating on him which resulted in, after some obsessive behaviour on his part, a restraining order. I hope it was true because it wasn't that funny, yet it was strangely compelling. He also talked about being the manager for Dog Star. I have no idea if he really was, but it seemed he just wanted to do his Keanu Reeves impression, which was, albeit, uncanny. Here's Davis:

So that was my comedy weekend. Even if you can't make it down to the Phoenix area, let this be a reminder to get out to live comedy wherever you are, be it your home town or on the road. Whether you laugh or are disgusted, it's all good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feb: 13: Pete Johansson

No time to waste. I'm sunning it in Phoenix but the show goes on tonight. My trusted manservant, Kevin, will be in studio to play an hour-long interview I conducted with former (and future, it turns out) Vancouverite Pete Johansson a couple of weeks ago in a Kits Starbucks. I wish I could say more but the pool awaits. Listen tonight at 11 pm PST.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Local Boy Makes Good

Two-time What's So Funny? guest, and Vancouver's own, Lachlan Patterson made his debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this past Monday night. I forgot to tune in but thankfully we live in an age where we don't have to. It was a great set, as you can see for yourself below. The former West Van Highlander then flew home (he's living in L.A. but Vancouver will always be home) the next day and you can see him live in an extended set tonight at Nevermind on West 4th and then tomorrow through Saturday at the Comedy Mix on Burrard.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Lachlan Patterson (2/7/11) - Video -

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feb. 6: Craig Campbell & Phil Nichol

Big time show tonight, folks. We've got two mainstays on the British comedy circuit. But, as Don Cherry would say, they're both good Canadian kids.

If you've been around long enough, you'll know Craig Campbell from his days in Vancouver. He went on to play the straight man to Ed the Sock in Toronto before his move to England, where critics have called him a "Crocodile Dundee of North America". Well, one critic did, anyway. He's known to be a raconteur of the highest order in his stand-up act. I interviewed Craig once over the phone and I can attest to the fact the moosefucker can spin a yarn with the best of them. See for yourself:

As for Phil Nichol, he was a member of the famed Corky & the Juice Pigs. Not sure if he was Corky or a JP, but that's neither here nor there. This was a group that Barenaked Ladies opened for, that's how big they were. And, of course, they made several appearances on MadTV. Nichol eventually moved to London (we'll sort out the details tonight), where he's been wowing crowds ever since. One reviewer said his show "actually exert[s] g-force." I believe it, based on this appearance on a British TV show where he sings a song then sits down with the original cast from The Dukes of Hazzard:

I'm looking forward to this. My guess is that it'll not only be a really great show but it'll also be really easy for me. I'm betting I won't have to say much at all to get these guys going.

Oh, by the way, they're here as part of the Snowed In Comedy Tour which is winding up in Vancouver at the Revue Stage on Granville Island on Saturday, Feb. 12. Joining them will be Vancouver boys (and both former What's So Funny? guests) Peter Kelamis and Dan Quinn.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lisa Lampanelli interview, 2008

Look what I found.

I'll be talking with Lisa Lampanelli in about nine hours so I thought I'd go back and re-read our last chat from 2008. I checked the old Comedy Couch archives and... nothing. So I started rooting around the old computer and there it was. Damn, I wonder how many other old interviews are sitting there. That's for another day. Meanwhile, enjoy this "classic" and look forward to the new one in a couple weeks or so.

LISA LAMPANELLI – July 24, 2008

“In about seven years you kinda know what you’re doing, kinda have your on-stage persona. And it takes about seven more to really become good at it. So those people that can last long enough, like go through all the crap and the driving and the 21 hours on the road without stopping to take a piss because you’re late for a gig, staying in crumby motels. If you can get through all that, 14 years of that shit, then it finally hits and you’re a multi-billionaire like myself.” – Lisa Lampanelli


LL: Is it Guy or Ghee, like those French fags.

GM: Guy. You were right the first time.
LL: Thank God because I’m so fucking over the French. Whatever.

GM: Especially the French Canadians.
LL: Ughch! Die of cancer, French Canadians. Put that as the headline.

GM: So you play Montreal a lot, do you?
LL: God, I hate them... Is there kids in the background?

GM: Yeah, there are four of them.
LL: Argh!

GM: I know you love kids.
LL: Oh, I hate them. If they’re not related to me, they’re stupid, ugly, fat and misshapen.

GM: That’s exactly how I feel.
LL: Isn’t it true that you like your own kids or the ones you’re related to but everybody else’s kid should die?

GM: Pretty much. Especially at a playground.
LL: Good, good. Now at least we’re on the same page. I like you.

GM: Are you in New York? Is that where you live?
LL: I’m about to move from Connecticut back into New York because I’m bored shitless out here. It’s all for married soccer mom twats and I’m sitting here with no blacks. No blacks at all. I’m like, why am I here? So I’m moving back into the city next week right after my big show in Richmond, B.C., wherever that is.

GM: It’s Vancouver, essentially. Just say Vancouver.
LL: I like Vancouver. I was there a couple months ago and it was awesome.

GM: You were right downtown. I was at that show.
LL: Oh, okay. It was so much fun. And you’ve got the politest crowds in Canada. Like, after the show they’re very respectful. They call me Miss Lampanelli and don’t call me the c-word, which is really welcoming. It’s very nice.

GM: What are crowds like elsewhere that are rude?
LL: No, no, no. Just after the show sometimes. They get drunk and they’ll be like, “How you doin’, bitch?” and all this stuff. And I’m like, “Look, I’m still, like, way above you.” Like, I don’t know if you know this but I’m like a major fucking celebrity. It’s like me and Heather Locklear, okay? So they can just suck it, you know what I’m saying?

GM: Except you’re not depressed.
LL: Exactly! I’m not in rehab anymore.

GM: Anymore.
LL: Exactly.

GM: You are like this big, major fucking celebrity, as you say.
LL: I’m a huge fucking star. I don’t know why Canada hasn’t caught on yet. But they can suck it, too.

GM: You were an overnight sensation. But, really, it took about twelve yeaers?
LL: Seventeen, nigger.

GM: No, but from when you really hit it with that Chevy Chase roast.
LL: Oh, that was 2003.

GM: And you started doing comedy in about 1990?
LL: Yes, exactly. So it’s been 17 years.

GM: Yeah. So there was a 12 or 13 year period before you were thrust onto the big stage.
LL: Yeah, exactly. Like, you know they say it takes a lawyer seven years to become a lawyer. To study. Then seven years to become a good lawyer. Same thing with comedy. In about seven years you kinda know what you’re doing, kinda have your on-stage persona, kinda have your sea legs. And it takes about seven more to really become good at it. So those people that can last long enough, like go through all the crap and the driving and the 21 hours on the road without stopping to take a piss because you’re late for a gig, staying in crumby motels. If you can get through all that, 14 years of that shit, then it finally hits and you’re a multi-billionaire like myself.

GM: Living in Connecticut.
LL: Very wealthy. Enormously wealthy.

GM: You had a couple other careers and you quit. Was there a point in those 14 years where you thought, “I don’t know. I should get out of this racket”?
LL: No, no, no, no. Never with comedy because the first time you do it you know it’s meant to be or it isn’t. I just knew it was meant to be. It’s like meeting the right guy or girl – or in your case guy. It’s like when you and your lover decided to adopt those four ugly kids, you said, “Hey, I’m gay.” You know what I’m saying?

GM: I hear you.
LL: You just know what’s right for you and you know what career’s right for you. So I knew it instantly. The minute you took this job to interview celebrities for minimum wage, you said, “I’m going to stick with that. Some day it’s going to pay off.”

GM: Some day. I’m still waiting for that day.
LL: (laughs)

“I always did it with the right kind of intention to kind of point out stereotypes and how retarded they are. And you just see the more you kind of commit to it and the more ballsy you are, for whatever reason you have to be doing this kind of comedy, the more you just stick to it and go, ‘I’m taking more and more chances.’ Like, there’s nothing I won’t say now. I can’t even think what subject could possibly be ‘oh my God, I won’t touch that.’” – Lisa Lampanelli

GM: When you started out in comedy, did you want to be an insult comic or did that evolve?
LL: It just evolved. You can’t force it. You can’t force it into doing anything that it’s not gonna do. Like, for instance, Roseanne didn’t say to herself, “Hey, I think I’ll be the angry housewife.” You just kinda are yourself and you see where it leads. And I always liked the Dean Martin roasts on NBC when I was growing up. It always looked like they were getting along and they all had a good time. And I was like, well, maybe that’s the kind of comedy I like. But you can never sort of force it without seeing if you’re right for it. So thankfully the more chances I took, the people bought in and I’m like, “Wow, I’m pretty lucky.”

GM: You talk about getting the tools or the skills to pull off these kinds of jokes. You can’t just jump right into it.
LL: Exactly.

GM: Was there an “aha!” moment where you just go, “Ah! I get it. I know how to do this now”?
LL: God, I don’t think there’s just one moment. I think it’s just a gradual build. Like, you say to yourself, “Okay, I’m gonna try this: Let me say ‘spic’ or let me call the Canadians dirty people from a country that’s inferior to us.” And when they actually laugh instead of getting mad, you’re like, “Ooh, I can take more of a chance! I can say the n-word, I could do this, do that.” But I always did it with the right kind of intention to kind of point out stereotypes and how retarded they are. And you just see the more you kind of commit to it and the more ballsy you are, for whatever reason you have to be doing this kind of comedy, the more you just stick to it and go, “I’m taking more and more chances.” Like, there’s nothing I won’t say now. I can’t even think what subject could possibly be “oh my God, I won’t touch that.”

GM: Really.
LL: Yeah. Because there’s a line in comedy of, “oh my God, don’t cross this line, don’t push the envelope”. But there’s no envelope, there’s no line; there’s funny and not funny. And thank God I can pull off the funny part so it always seems to be okay.

GM: There must have been some instances where people took it the wrong way.
LL: Oddly enough, I can count on two hands in 17 years the number of times people were vocal with me. I think the fact that it is okay, they sense real prejudice. I’ve talked to real black people – believe it or not, there are real black people in this world who speak English – and they’ve said to me, “Hey, if you know what’s behind it, if you know there’s warmth and no hate, we know how to take it.” And I’m like, yeah, it’s the fear-based comic who won’t go there that minorities and people that are outside our little white devil circle, they’re the ones that people are like, “Hmm.” They’re holding something back. But people can tell with me I wasn’t holding it back; I was kind of doing it for the right reasons. Really, like I said, a handful of people got pissed. And thank God because I’m not good pickin’ beating, I never have.

GM: There is a danger with ironic racism. The vast majority of your audience gets it. But do you ever attract the wrong type?
LL: I’m sure. I’m sure I do. And that’s why I make my donations to the NAACP and the Phone in the Spic Today Fund and the Save the Gerbil Foundation for the fags because the guilt I have is assuaged when those cheques are written. What are you gonna do? You have to. You can’t worry what everybody thinks. Do you worry every time you hit your kids when everybody’s telling you you shouldn’t? No, you beat them senseless, don’t you, sir?

GM: No, but I wait till nobody’s looking.
LL: See, now that’s why you’re smart. I like how you think.

GM: Here in Vancouver there’s been some news that I know has made it to the States. Two lesbians were making out in front of a comic who then lashed out at them. Now they’ve taken him to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
LL: Did he lash out at them in a funny way?

GM: I wasn’t there and I’ve never seen this comic.
LL: The key is about intention. I mean, you know about here in the superior country America – you’ve heard of us? – Imus, do you know of this Imus idiot?

GM: Don, yes.
LL: Yes. He’s a fucking idiot and he got in trouble for saying that “nappy-headed hoe” line about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. If he’d have been funny and he could pull it off like a Howard Stern or Rickles or somebody like that, he probably wouldn’t have gotten in trouble. People would have just laughed and said, “He’s a humourist.” So you have to actually, when you’re doing stuff, try to have a punchline. Try to have a point and a punchline. It usually really helps get you through a perceived racist remark.

GM: You can’t just come back, if a joke fails, with, “These are jokes, people, lighten up. This is a comedy show.”
LL: Oh, my God! That’s horrible. I love when comics... If you have to explain that these are jokes, the jokes aren’t funny so the audience is right to have the angry dykes come after you. Because they’re fucking angry people, those lesbos, huh?

“In my real life I don’t go around calling people names and stuff, but if you piss me off probably part of me would go there. Not necessarily to the racial thing but to the anger thing because all comics are really, really, super angry. I don’t separate it so much. I think it’s just part of my personality. It’s in there. It’s, like, one-tenth of who I am. And hopefully it doesn’t come out at the wrong times and keeps making me money.” – Lisa Lampanelli

GM: They sure are. Did you notice a big difference when you went with the cartoonish look? The big dress and the hairdo.
LL: No, I did not. It was all sort of an accident. I was running from an audition to a show, one of these coloured shows we do here: urban shows with black people in the audience. And I was going and I didn’t have time to change and I noticed my set had a little more of an ironic thing to it. I thought that was a funny thing to play up, because I was dressed very Connecticut housewife kinda thing. So I said that’s kinda cute and they kinda liked that. They don’t see it coming. So then I just played it up. But it’s not like they liked me any more or less. I just think for me I got a kick out of it. When I get a kick out of things, people generally get a kick out of it. You know what I mean? You have to sort of like what you do up there.

GM: Can you separate your act and persona from yourself more now because it’s more like a character when you dress that way rather than just dressing like you normally would?
LL: No because whatever we do on-stage is part of our personality anyway. In my real life I don’t go around calling people names and stuff, but if you piss me off probably part of me would go there. Not necessarily to the racial thing but to the anger thing because all comics are really, really, super angry. I don’t separate it so much. I think it’s just part of my personality. It’s in there. It’s, like, one-tenth of who I am. And hopefully it doesn’t come out at the wrong times and keeps making me money.

GM: How do you approach the roasts? Because there is a line you don’t want to cross, right?
LL: What? What line?

GM: I don’t know. I guess being too mean, maybe, or too personal.
LL: No! If it’s funny it can never be too mean and personal. If you like the person you’re roasting, that’s ideal. You can’t roast somebody you don’t like because then it ends up just coming off mean. I had to roast Jerry Lewis for the Friar’s Club. And I like him. But who I hate is that Sandra Bernhardt, that fucking lesbian, because she doesn’t like me. I don’t know why. Because she’s a cunt and she has no audience. That possibly is the reason. So I never met her, but I had to do jokes about her. I couldn’t back down from it. She was there and it wasn’t an ideal situation because I had to make fun of somebody I didn’t like because people might have been able to tell I meant it. And I was like, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna commit.” I’m a decent enough actress to pull it off so it worked. But ideally, like with Pam Anderson and people like that, you want to do it to people you really like and admire and are cute so it can’t go too far.

GM: Good Canadian girl, Pam.
LL: Isn’t she a doll? I love her.

GM: Literally a doll, yeah.
LL: She is! She’s cute, don’t be hating.

GM: No, not at all! Did Sandra Bernhardt talk to you after that or did you just ignore each other?
LL: I left. I had to leave early because I had a gig that night. It was an afternoon roast. But no, she totally gave me the fucking nasty look the whole time and I’m like, “Fuck it, bitch, I’m here for me.” Like, in my head I’m going, I’m here for me, for Jerry Lewis to go back to Hollywood and say how great I am. He requested I be there. He saw me on the Tonight Show and wanted me to be on it, so my feeling was she can just suck a hairy dick. And maybe if she did suck a dick she wouldn’t be so angry in the first place. Dykes have no sense of humour. Ugh!

GM: Those Comedy Central roasts are great. They seem like a lot of fun.
LL: They’re not.

GM: They’re not?
LL: They’re horrible. It takes like a month to prepare because you really don’t want to repeat any jokes. They always want me to go last because I’m the best. Everybody’s contract says they won’t follow me because they’re all pussies. So I’m like, okay, you know what? It’s a miserable night. We pull it off and try to make it look good and it always comes out doing well. But to be honest, it’s more work than anything in your whole life. So it’s fun for you guys to watch; it kind of ultimately blows for us to be there.

GM: Are there any others coming up?
LL: Yeah, and I’m not doing it.

GM: Because you said no or you weren’t asked?
LL: I had to say no because I got a deal with HBO for a sitcom. You know, I can’t do everything. I’m too busy and it’s fucking great to finally turn them down. I know that sounds shitty but guess what – you know what? Sometimes you just gotta move on.

GM: You got a sitcom! When’s that going to happen?
LL: I got a pilot deal. Jim Carrey’s the executive producer. Jim kinda discovered me in L.A.

GM: Another Canadian guy!
LL: I know. I love him. He was like, “Wow, I want to build a sitcom around you.” We met for about six months working on the pilot idea. We met with HBO and Showtime and sold it to HBO. They both wanted it but we sold it to HBO so we’re working on the pilot now. Plus I’m writing a book. I got a deal with Harper-Collins for my first book. So I just can’t do too much stuff so I just had to turn the roast down. But whatever.

GM: So we’re lucky to be seeing you.
LL: I think you are fabulously lucky. I think you should kiss my fucking ass when I walk through in that door. And I expect you to, mister. Mister Ghee.

GM: Is it tough playing Vancouver because we don’t have a large black or Hispanic population?
LL: You kinda do when it comes to my show. There were a lot of different minorities at the show. There were lots of dykes, I remember that. There were a whole lotta faggots. And there was enough blacks to go around. As long as there’s one, we outnumber him and he has to take it like a man.

GM: We have lots of Asians. Especially in Richmond, where you’ll be playing.
LL: That’s what I love! Is it because it’s a casino?

GM: No. Richmond just has a large Asian population.
LL: Ah. I tell you what, I enjoy those Asians very much so I will have to definitely bone up on my Asian insults. Or, as I call them, Orientals because I’m kinda old-school like that.

GM: I notice you said Down syndrome in your act but not mongoloid. I was surprised.
LL: I don’t even know what mongoloid is. Is that when they have an enormous head?

GM: That’s the politically incorrect term for Down syndrome. That’s what they used to say when you and I were kids.
LL: Oh! That’s right, I remember that. Well, I’m going to have to change that because I would not want to be politically correct.

GM: Is your persona based on anyone in particular? Anyone from your family resemble it?
LL: Half of my act comes from stuff my mom actually says and means, which I think is fantastic. She doesn’t know what she’s saying is racist but it’s hilarious. I definitely got my storytelling ability and my loudness from her. And my little element of class from my fabulous dresses from my father. Not that he wears dresses, but he’s just a classy guy.

GM: Are they all thrilled for your success or are they constantly explaining to their neighbours that you’re not really like that?
LL: No, no. They’re just really cool. Honestly, the only parts they don’t like is whenever I talk about sex and black men and stuff like that. Other than that they’re really into it. I was nominated for a Grammy last year for Dirty Girl and they came to the Grammys. So they’re like tickled to death, which is really cute.

GM: Does it ever amaze you what you can get away with? And do you take advantage of it to test how far you can go?
LL: Yes. I can go really far, so it just cracks me up the stuff I can say and people still laugh. It just astounds me that people have that kind of good sense of humour and they’re really cool like that. So yeah, I’m shocked every night what came out of my mouth and that they’re really into it. So trust me, I know it’s a blessing. It’s the only thing I got. It’s my only gift for life so I said, hey, this is a good thing that at least I can get away with something and get paid for it.

GM: But you were a pretty good writer. Good enough to work for Rolling Stone.
LL: Yeah, I know, but my heart’s not in it. Like, you know, look how you’re phoning in this interview. You know your heart’s not in it. You want to really be a mime.

GM: Was your goal growing up to be a writer or journalist?
LL: No.

GM: Or were you just a big music person?
LL: Yeah. Yeah, I was really into really faggy rock, like Rush, another bunch of Canadian freaks, Jethro Tull, Yes. I was a big prog-rock fag so I think I just really wanted to do something with journalism because I was a good writer. It was the only thing I could really master in school. So it just ended up that I did that for a few years and got bored. I interviewed everybody I ever wanted to interview and I was like, “Alright, I’m outta here.”

GM: Was that in the 1980s?
LL: Yeah, when all the hair bands and stuff were around. It was hilarious.

GM: Do you ever meet these people that you once interviewed and say, “Hey, look at me now?”
LL: No. Oddly enough, Rat I interviewed when their big video for Round and Around came out, and they were at one of my shows recently and they, like, waited in line to say hi. It was so cute. And I’m like, wow, I love that has-been rockers everywhere can say, “I like that bitch.” It’s very flattering.

GM: Rickles always has that overly sincere bit at the end of his shows to let everyone know that he’s kidding. You don’t really do that, yet everyone seems to get it anyway.
LL: Yeah. I mean, I do clap for everybody and I throw in, like, four more insults on top of it. It’s my way to fuck with them once again. It’s really the kind of thing where you go, oh, God, I’m not doing it apologetically. Rickles doesn’t do it apologetically. I do it more like, here’s my chance to call you a nigger one more time. So I don’t know what his intentions are but I’m sure it’s perfectly sincere. My intentions are good so hopefully people get that.

GM: Have you met Rickles?
LL: Yeah, twice, and he remembered me! The second time I met him at his book signing and he said, “You’re the comedian” and all his people knew me. I mean, that is so flattering. To have, like, Rickles and Howard Stern know who I am, I was like, oh my God, I have totally arrived. The first time I was on Howard Stern I was like, “I could die tomorrow and be okay.” Once you’re on Stern... Me, personally, that was my thing, that’s who I wanted to approve of me. So it worked. The fact that guy was in my corner, that guy makes people stars so it felt great.

GM: You didn’t grow up watching comedy, you’ve said, did you?
LL: Nope. Like I said I watched those roasts and that was it. My webmaster, who’s a big old dyke also, just sent me a box set of Carlin because he just died. I hate to tell everybody I’ve never seen one second of George Carlin’s shit. I got called when he died from like ten newspapers asking for a quote and I sounded like a retard because I didn’t even know what to say. I don’t care; he’s dead, he was in rehab, he was 70. What a shock he died, you know? Please.

GM: Was anyone an influence? Was it Rickles?
LL: Not growing up. Growing up it was just the roasts. After I was doing it for, like, seven years people would go, “You remind me of Rickles.” I was like, “Oh yeah, I’ve definitely heard of him from the roasts.” So I bought Hello, Dummy!, which was on CD, which was amazing, and I was like, “Aw, that guy’s the best!” So yeah, I really started to get it.

GM: I know you’ve been in a couple of Larry the Cable Guy movies and I know a lot of comics like to knock him. Are you embraced by the community or not? Where do you stand?
LL: Let’s put it this way: The minute you start making money, people hate you. I don’t like to brag but I’m fucking phenomenally wealthy right now. Okay? I’m not Jim Carrey wealthy, but I’m doing pretty good. The minute you start to be successful and you have, like, five Gucci bags and some Chanel scarves and shit, people like to come after you. Everybody was on my side until I started making money. Now it’s actually going the other way where people are starting to kiss my ass a little and I’m trying to figure out who really likes me and who’s a cunt. So some people hate on me because, like, I’m so old-fashioned, that fucking Rickles bullshit. But I don’t know. Whatever, man. Everybody has the right to do the kind of comedy they want to. They shit on Carlos Mencia because he’s successful, they shit on Dane Cook because he’s successful, Larry, Jeff. Anybody who’s making money and making big theatre audiences laugh, losers have to come after. So enjoy, because guess what? When they’re fucking making fun of me, or whatever, I’m writing a new joke and getting paid, son.

GM: It’s the same in music, too, isn’t it? When they’re an unknown alternative band, everybody sings their praises but as soon as they get a hit, they suck.
LL: Yeah. Rap’s the only honest thing because they just hate on each other in songs themselves. I wish there was like a song where I could fucking go after all these douchebags. But it’s alright, I just won’t thank them on my next album, that’s all.

GM: I see a big closer for you. A song where you insult all the other comics.
LL: There you go! Now you’re getting it!

GM: Lisa, thanks so much for calling.
LL: Dude, you’re really cool.

GM: So are you.
LL: No, seriously. Thanks for your good attitude and your good thoughts. It was really, really interesting to talk to you.

GM: Oh, thank you very much.
LL: Cool. Well, I hope we see you at the show.

GM: I’ll be there.
LL: Cool. Yay!

GM: Okay, bye.
LL: G’bye, buddy.