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Tough Love From Lisa Lampanelli

Tough Love From Lisa Lampanelli


Sure, she might be best known for her ribald humor and pointed barbs, but with one fell swoop Lisa Lampanelli became one of Gay Men’s Health Crisis biggest celebrity donors.

Nothing is sacred to Lisa Lampanelli, the raunchy, loudmouthed comedian who makes us cringe and guffaw, especially during Comedy Central roasts. After a tumultuous season on The Celebrity Apprentice, full of emotion and expletive-flinging, Lampanelli put Donald Trump's money where her mouth is by raising oodles of cash for the Gay Men's Health Crisis, the New York City-based HIV organization. Lampanelli recently revealed to us what The Donald's hair looks like in person, what her money will buy, and why she tells jokes about HIV. You made $100,000 for the Gay Men's Health Crisis on The Celebrity Apprentice. Actually, I made $130,000 for GMHC. I sweated for every penny. I earned $20,000 during the puppet challenge, $10,000 was given to me out of the goodness of Mr. Trump's heart, and the big $100,000 win was during the CHI hair dryer task. That's $130,000, so once I take my 10% fee from GMHC, that'll be a lot for them. [Laughs] Tell us how you first got involved with the organization. Was it when you went to battle with the Westboro Baptist Church? You're absolutely right that I did first get involved with the GMHC when I had my scuffle with the inbreds in the Westboro Baptist Church. The WBC is like a 15-year-old on Twitter ' 10 followers and desperate for attention. So after I donated $1,000 to GMHC for each WBC hillbilly who protested my show in Topeka, Kan. ' a total of $50,000 ' I started serving meals at GMHC. I've been a supporter ever since. What will the money be used for at GMHC? The money I raised benefits the wide range of services for thousands of men, women, and families living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. These services include health and nutrition education, legal, housing, and mental health support, vocational training and case management, HIV testing, and prevention education. The money also supports the meals program, where I have volunteered, which annually provides 90,000 nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS. Either that, or it'll be used for one big tea dance. You were a journalist for magazines like Rolling Stone in the 1980s. How aware were you of AIDS back then? I wasn't aware of anything back then. I was a self-absorbed 20-something-year-old whose only concern was meeting bands. And back then, it wasn't even good bands ' it was heavy-metal crap like Dokken, Cinderella, and Slaughter. It wasn't until my 40s that I started being aware of things other than myself. You're an equal-opportunity offender when it comes to race and sexual orientation. Do you ever lob a few good-natured jokes toward the HIV-positive community? Absolutely. My philosophy about comedy is that no one is better than anyone else, no one is less than anyone else, so all people are included. The biggest insult to someone is being left out, so no one escapes unscathed in my comedy. How do you deal with people who don't get your humor? I don't. I don't read negative fan mail, I don't read negative tweets or Facebook messages anymore, and I don't engage people in conversations who don't get it. I just tell them that there are plenty of other entertainers they can go see. And there are. As long as the theaters I'm playing are full, I'm happy. You have a grueling schedule. How do you stay sane on the road? I don't. What about me or my appearance on Celebrity Apprentice would indicate I'm sane? The schedule really does suck, but I fly in to where I play, try to keep everything low-key, and fly back home as soon as possible. Knowing I'm going home soon is the best way to not go completely off the rails. What does Trump's hair look like in person? I think Penn Jillette said it best: 'Pee-colored cotton candy.' Actually, if truth be told, it looks a lot better in person. I know ' I was shocked too.

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Neal Broverman