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Lisa Lampanelli

Life Coach + Retired Comedian

"When I'm done, I'm done," a bold declaration from a woman who has sold out Carnegie Hall and Radio City, earning two Grammy nominations along the way. 

But Comedy's Loveable Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli, is turning a new chapter. 

After a lifelong struggle with food and body image issues, she's now fully committed to helping others navigate and heal their inner-pain. 
Six years ago Lisa lost over 100 pounds. That opened the door for examining other areas of her life. 

"We may be working on something until we're 80-something years old, but that's our journey. I just feel like I am more equipped to handle it because at least I physically feel healthy." 

​Not long after her weight loss, Lisa's father entered hospice care.

He was, perhaps, her biggest fan. 

"Even when my father was half-deaf, you know when old people can't hear, I would see him in the audience laughing away. I'm like, 'Oh, did you like the jokes?' And my mother goes, 'He couldn't hear a fucking thing.' "

His passing in 2014 was, in part, the impetus for Lisa's big career move. 

"I noticed there was a huge void in my life, not only from him, but from not doing service anymore. What feels purposeful to me is service, so I start thinking, what can I do?"

After growing detached from the blistering zingers which made her a household name, she wrote a play, Stuffed, about food and body image. The New York Times called it her "strongest, funniest and most affecting work." 

This was a turning point for Lisa. She had found a new calling.

"I didn't want to say, I'm a life coach​ and just print out a certificate. That's bullshit." 

Instead. Lisa spent two years preparing to begin working one-on-one with individuals looking to get their lives back on track. 

From marital problems, food and body image, career and life-transitions, to self-esteem issues - these are the hurdles that she finds herself helping others conquer.

"The only reason I went on a comedy stage is because I wanted to connect with people, so that's why coaching doesn't seem like a loss. I'm still connecting but in a deeper way." 

Lisa's break came when the New York Friars Club tapped her to join the 2002 Chevy Chase roast. 

"I called my boyfriend, I said, 'Don't call me for two weeks because I got two weeks to prepare for the biggest night of my life,' and thank god it was on my side that night." 

Before that night, she spent 12 years honing her craft on the road. She recalls being paid in pickles by a club-owner in Philly, and sleeping in a dingy South Carolina motel, where she rearranged the furniture in order to blockade the door with a dresser to prevent a potential intrusion. 

Behind Lisa's brassy public persona was a deep insecurity around body image. One night stands out in her memory, where she was performing in front of her brother and his girlfriend, whom she wanted to impress. 

"All of a sudden this guy yells, 'Bring back the fat chick!' Anybody with self-esteem would have heard the 'bring back', I heard just 'fat chick', and I was so humiliated." 

Lisa announced her retirement from stand-up in late 2018 on the Howard Stern Show. 

"You have to get uncomfortable enough with the pain to go into something else." 

The bulk of her supporters have embraced the transition. Some have not.

"I lost, I think, ten thousand people on Twitter, and I was like, good, those are the ones that had to go."

Today she spends more time practicing gratitude for the opportunities life has afforded her.

"Gratitude cannot coexist with resentment. They cannot exist in the same breath. If I'm sitting around being resentful and going, why does that guy have more than me?, the second I switch it to, but look how much I've got?, that goes away." 

The seemingly incongruous nature of Lisa's career transition is not lost on her. 

"Dude, I used to make so much fun of gratitude journals and the rocks with the sayings on them, but it freaking works!"

And, just as I was growing worried that the coarseness for which the world came to love Lisa was gone... 

"I still contend that yoga was invented by a gay guy so he could learn how to suck his own cock."

Catch up with Lisa on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or visit her website for updates on her latest projects.

Interview Recorded: January 2019

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