I know of Lisa Lampanelli through her work on various previous stand-up specials and apparently that she was a contestant on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show, and I very peripherally know her work from her guest appearances on various podcasts I listen to, but I've never taken the plunge to peruse her work until now. While her previous specials were on HBO, this one, Back to the Drawing Board is one that has just premiered on EPIX, a similar premium cable network that has hosted similar specials by Jim Norton and others.
Filmed at the Tarrytown Music Hall in New York, the hour-long special, Lampanelli's fifth, finds her addressing subjects like her recent weight-loss surgery and life as a single woman in her 50s. She also talks about more hot button topics like gay marriage, and through everything over the course of the special, she handles things with aplomb while casually tossing out jokes about those she is talking about and occasionally talking to. While the jokes would fall under the insult comic label (Lampanelli's website is www.insultcomic.com), she charms those that she roasts in the crowd, without having to do the immediate apology like a Don Rickles or Jeff Ross.
There is also the underlying sense in Lampanelli's material that there is a certain feeling of freedom to her newfound transformation, but one without forgetting some of the road she's travelled to get there. She's pleased that she has lost more than 100 pounds and loves how she look, but also bemoans that she can't eat like she once did, and deplores people who may engage in fat-shaming, subtle or otherwise like boarding an airplane, for example. Through it all she is always laughing about and joking with her subjects.
Back to the Drawing Board does not have any extraordinary moments of humor and/or embarrassment within the vacuum of a stand-up special, and Lampanelli delivers the material just fine and is quite comfortable with what she has put together. The special seems to serve as a marker of sorts, that Lampanelli is going to have fun in this second phase of her career, perhaps more than she did with her first.The Disc:
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Back to the Drawing Board is fine viewing for a stand-up special. Colors within Lampanelli's hair and makeup look good, darker moments in the crowd/theater are solid with some moments of crushing but nothing prominent or notable. We received an advance copy and will update accordingly upon receipt of a final product.The Sound:
Two-channel Dolby Digital is the word here, and generally without complaint. Dialogue and crowd noise was clear and well-balanced. Lampanelli works the crowd a tiny bit and the interactions are somewhat discernible. Generally, the sound is without complaint.Extras:
In her fifth stand-up special Back to the Drawing Board (and this writer's first exposure to her), Lisa Lampanelli is a nice comic that has moments of quick on the fly wit and she is showing off a zest for life that can only serve to make her work as a comic even better. Technically the disc is fine, despite a lack of bonus material to speak of. If you have EPIX, definitely check this out, and check it out otherwise if you are a fan of stand-up.