If Don Rickles were a woman with a slight weight problem and a well-documented fondness for having sex with African-American men, he'd sound an awful lot like comedienne Lisa Lampanelli.
Described as "Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean," Lampanelli's act is top-heavy with no-holds-barred insult humor and ethnic jokes, along with plenty of material on her appetite for black men ("Now it's hard to get the really fine black guys, because the skinny broads and Asian girls have started stealing them from us, which I resent...these blacks gotta learn to stick with their roots, and that's us fat white chicks"). Born in Trumbull, Connecticut in 1961, Lampanelli studied journalism at Syracuse University and Harvard, and briefly enjoyed a successful career in the magazine industry, working as a copy editor at Popular Mechanics and writing about music for Spy, Hit Parader, and Rolling Stone. In the early '90s, Lampanelli decided to try her hand at standup comedy and paid her dues working clubs in New York City. She slowly developed a following for her routines, which were both raunchy and caustic while revealing a self-depreciating charm that helped the poison go down easily, but it wasn't until the new millennium that she broke into mainstream stardom, partly on the basis on several televised celebrity roasts. Lampanelli became a regular guest on Howard Stern's radio show, where her over-the-top wit fit like a glove, and she made a stand-out appearance on Comedy Central's Friar's Club roast of Hugh Hefner in 2001; she was invited back for subsequent roasts of Chevy Chase, Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, and Jeff Foxworthy. Lampanelli's first cable standup special, The Queen of Mean, aired in 2002, and her first album, Take It Like a Man -- tied into another cable special with the same title -- appeared in 2005. In 2006, Lampanelli made her movie debut alongside fellow comic Larry the Cable Guy in his picture Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, and issued her second album, Dirty Girl, in early 2007, with the simultaneous release of a concert DVD featuring the same material. Long Live the Queen would arrive in 2009, with Tough Love following in 2011. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi