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'Insult Comic' Lisa Lampanelli on the Amazing Thing That Happens When You Insult Yourself Instead
In comedy, as with any form of storytelling, it's refreshing to make a true personal connection with your audience. It's this lesson that's fueled the next phase of Lisa Lampanelli's career.
Lisa Lampanelli is known as Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean. This equal opportunity offender is a regular on Howard Stern's Sirius satellite radio shows, and she has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Dr. Oz Show, and Good Morning America. She was also a member of the cast of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, Season 5. In 2009, Lisa entered the ranks of comic greats and premiered her first ever one-hour HBO comedy special, Long Live the Queen, to tremendous ratings. That same year, her autobiography, Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks, hit bookstores to critical acclaim. Lisa is well-known for her many Comedy Central and Friars Club roasts. She has lambasted Jeff Foxworthy, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff, Betty White, Donald Trump, and Flavor Flav to name a few. Plus, she was honored to serve as roastmaster on the Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy. Her fifth comedy special, Back to the Drawing Board, premieres Friday, June 26, 2015 on EPIX.
Lisa Lampanelli: I found in the last year I decided I wanted to connect with people more by showing them who I really was instead of consistently going after the audience as an insult comic. I still do insult comedy. I love it. But I've been asked for so many years, "Hey what's the deal with the weight-loss? What's the deal with your personal life? What's the deal with the divorce? What's the deal with like these supposed, like, spiritual retreat to go on?" Because I'll throw little things out about it. And I go people really want to know what makes us tick. People might like to know about our struggles too. So I've decided to talk a lot more about those things and in my new special and probably my specials from now on, I'm just going to talk more about what I've been through as far as an evolution in the last few years and also show people that they're not alone in their struggles too. Because I think that super powerful is going — I struggled for 32 years with my weight and I had no other choice but to get this surgery and get weight loss that way, that extreme. So I think people go oh I'm not alone; I'm not the only one. And that feels good. So that's how I'm challenging myself lately and I think that's enough of a challenge because it's like wow I'm really exposing what's wrong with me. I found that ever since I decided to open up a little more and show people who I am without being heavy-handed and without sort of banging a message home of like, "Hey I'm going to help you through my struggles." Just by being funny about them and bringing them to light, I think it's not a coincidence that the minute I started doing that I started getting standing ovations again. I had stopped getting standing O's about two years ago and I was like I wonder why. Like I'm still super funny. But I think people were like okay, you know, that's cool. We love Lisa. That's fine. But there's something about opening up a little without them even kind of tangibly being able to figure out how that they started just jumping up at the like revelations. And I okay, this is working for them; it's working for me; and it makes me feel like I have a purpose more as a human being. So I kind of love that. So I think it's really resonating.
I feel I learned honesty from Howard Stern. Howard Stern was always, even in the old days, out there talking honestly about his life, honestly about his small penis size or whatever he makes fun of about himself, his looks, et cetera, and I just go I'm just going to be honest about what I hate about myself. I'm going to be honest about my foibles and how idiotic I can be. And I think that's really important for me as a comic. I don't know if it's necessarily important for all comics, but it adds a layer that I think the audience resonates with you and says, "Ooh I want to get to know them better. Oh I want to hang out with them after." I want to leave a show having the audience saying, "Oh she's the type of person I can be friends with." So that's kind of a nice goal to have, even though I'd never be friends with those losers. I mean come on they're paying to see me. But, I mean, I want to just have that feeling of wow we're all on the same page.
Lisa Lampanelli made her name in the comedy world by making fun of people. That's all fine and dandy, and it's not something she's going to stop doing (you've been warned), but her stand-up act has undergone a recent transformation that she considers purposeful and resonant. Now she's incorporating more of what she doesn't like about herself. She runs through her struggles in a funny way that really affects and connects her audience. Lampanelli explains in this video interview how in comedy, as with any form of storytelling, it really makes a difference when you incorporate frank and honest personal testimonies. Not only does it make you more endearing, but also it sends an important message to those who share your struggles: "You are not alone." Lisa's fifth comedy special, Back to the Drawing Board, premiered Friday, June 26, 2015 on EPIX.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>