Prior to the arrival of Take It Like a Man, I'd never even heard of Lisa Lampanelli, although I'm sure there are hundreds of solid stand-up comedians I've never heard of. And being a guy who now has very little patience for stand-up comedy, I approached this concert video with a fair amount of skepticism.
But hey, whaddaya know, this Lampanelli broad is actually pretty funny! Sure, her material consists mainly of colorful vulgarities and non-stop insults directed towards her audience members, but there's a profane looseness to the gal's material, plus she really does dive in with both feet, entirely unafraid of using shock value to yank a few chuckles from her audience.
Perhaps best described as a larger, raunchier, and louder version of Don Rickles, Lisa Lampanelli has appeared on a variety of Comedy Central programs as well as a few of those nastily amusing celebrity roast shindigs. Her credo seems to be "Insult everyone equally and nobody can get offended," and boy does she ever.
Her material might not be much more than a lot of colorful euphemisms and non-stop venom, but beneath the brassy exterior seems to be a sweet-natured lady who simply has a gift for rapid-fire raunch. LL often takes time out of her persistent nastiness to offer thanks to the good sports in the audience ... and then it's off to another marathon of mega-blue material. (I'm not kidding, comedy fans; rent this concert and be prepared to hide the kiddies.)
So while it seems that much of Lisa's material consists of simple insults and vulgar rants, there's actually some unpredictable and subversive stuff offered here. Ms. Lampanelli will often (instantaneously) digress and move on to an unexpected topic, stopping only later to finish off a particularly ribald rejoinder. All in all, it's a B- effort, although I do dig what this crazy broad is slinging. If you have a taste for R-rated "insult comedy," you could do a hell of a lot worse. The concert runs about an hour, and from me it yielded a half-dozen mild chuckles and three or four true belly laughs. Not a bad batting average ... especially from a comedienne I'd never even heard of three hours ago.
Video: It's a widescreen transfer, and it looks just fine. C'mon, it's a chubby woman standing on a stage for an hour, not Spider-Man 2.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0. Jokes and laughs are entirely audible.
Lampanelli's a loud and lewd, yet likable joke-slinger, and she's clearly not afraid to dole out some amazingly vulgar schtick. Those who aren't offended by a few choice words (and activities) should find a solid bag of chuckles with this stand-up special.