Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks
What is not to love about a comedian who combines the raunch of Margaret Cho with the political incorrectness of a Don Rickles, and the acerbic wit of a Dorothy Parker? Lisa Lampinelli deftly employs all of these qualities to describe a hard-fought but nonetheless victorious perspective on her own decisions and accomplishments. She is at all times irreverent and few escape the barbs of this “equal opportunity offender,” but Lampinelli focuses most on the two loves of her life: comedy and 'the blacks' as she says, hence Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat, and Freaks.
Lampinelli might proudly proclaim herself “the queen of mean” but she is also apparently one of many microcosms of today's prototypical feminine persona. She is the woman who yearned for love but once believed she did not deserve that for which she had yearned for. She is the woman who shakes off external expectations and mores and discovers what is equal parts a mundane aspect of the human condition and a uniquely and revelatory idiosyncratic fact. That those who choose their own path in search of their own truth and own the consequences are usually happy. Something that legions of her gay fans, myself included, can attest to as we seek to balance our masculine and feminine personae on a daily basis. To follow now with some cases in point. She offers a window into her own experience concerning her transition from settling for Constitution State doughboys which she considered a compromise for her true desire to dating men who actually “turned her on”:
...I didn't date hot guys—I loved' em! And I started going after them. Andre had gotten me hooked! They were new to me. Finally I could walk down the street with a guy have other girls say, “Where'd you get that one!” That has never happened to me before. I know it might sound shallow, but for once in my life, I didn't want the smart one, I didn't want the funny one, I wanted the hot one. Andre was my first piece of fine chocolate—and I started going through men like New York City was a Godiva wholesaler. And to be honest, my mouth was always full!
Lampinelli, the proud woman, fell in love with the type of man that had a six-pack and was sensual on the mattress and made her feel the élan vital, but also cuddled, wrote poetry, and cheered on every one of her successes. She describes her thinning waist and her subsequently growing confidence from size twenty-four to a size fourteen, and giving men a taste of their own medicine and catcalls the cat-callers all while realizing that waist size and ego size need not be proportionate.
Lampinelli's other love, comedy, was a long time in the making with the traditional training of life that renders our best comics. As an example, she chronicles her role as the jester of her small family, and a devoutly Catholic upbringing as the middle child in search of attention who ate weird things and put a smile on the face of her mother even in the worst times. She traces the evolution of her trademark mastering of the Roast as a result of her working to never be caught unawares if a heckler should seek to ruin her performance.
Lampinelli's portrayal of her adventures are endearing for someone who is larger than life on stage and for someone who frequently grasps the mantle of relieving us of the ubiquitous burden of political correctness.