With a comedy tour in full swing, her very own one-hour special entitled Loni Love: America’s Sister set to premiere on May 8 on Comedy Central followed by a DVD to hit the shelves June 1st – comedienne Loni Love is loving life. The Chelsea Lately panelist, radio co-host and self-proclaimed buffet lover took some time to talk to us, in New York, between an appearance on Fox and Friends and an emceeing gig at the Long Island Equality Awards.
How did you come up with the name America’s Sister for your upcoming special?
I wanted a title that defined me and how I felt about my comedy. I love America and I love entertaining America. I love the term “sister” because I have befriended so many people through my comedy that I feel like they are my family.
What can we expect to see? I included many surprises to my special. I have a beautiful set, opening dance number and some skits. The taping was very easy and the audience was great. Many comics need to realize that a taping is very different from a live performance. You can look at the DVD and enjoy it, but when you see me live, it is a different show.
Who’s the LOVE in Loni Love’s life?
Right now it’s a wide variety of people that need to laugh. Right now, half of America is upset and the other half is mad. They hope ‘black dude’ is not gonna let us down. Laughter is the best medicine. I love getting letters from people that say I’ve been to your show and haven’t laughed like that in a long time. I’m enjoying that.
Is it tougher being a black comic or a female comic?
No issues with being black or a woman, mainly because there aren’t a lot of black, females on a certain level. I’m lucky wit the timing. Although, the minute you step out on stage as a female you do immediately alienate half of the audience. They start to loosen up and then they’ve had a great time. Men aren’t used to seeing women on stage without talking crazy or dirty.
Do people ever mistake you for Mo’Nique and does that piss you off? Feel better now that she’s won the Academy Award?
They actually mistake me for any black woman on TV. I get Sherri Shepard a lot or Yvette Nicole Brown. Back in the day when Mo’Nique wasn’t an Academy Award winner people used to say I looked like her. People would also tell me that they voted for me on Last Comic Standing because they assumed I was the black woman on there.
Between Chelsea Lately, truTV’s The Smoking Gun Presents: The World’s Dumbest, and roles on Nickelodeon you’ve done quite a bit of TV. Which do you prefer — the TV stuff or the live stuff?
Well, the thing with TV is that it’s hitting more people. I like that. The problem with TV, though, is that it’s restrictive. When you’re live anything can happen. It’s a good time. When I’m on ‘Chelsea’ we plan it. We know what we can get away with and we don’t slip. I never want to mess up or disrespect the show.
Speaking of shows…How’s the radio show (Café Mocha with MC Lyte) going? Do you wear pajamas to work? Tell the truth…
I’m excited about it. MC Lyte is legendary. Actually I call her ‘legendary’ to annoy her. It’s for women and it’s about empowerment. So far we’re syndicated in a few markets. Radio is even better for a comic because you rely on voice and wit. Your hair doesn’t have to be right. You don’t have to worry about your outfit. Actually, we don’t wear clothes at all.
|Loni Love – More to Love|
Who haven’t you worked with who you’d love to work with?
I would love to work on a comedy buddy movie with someone – maybe Mo’Nique. I’d do anything George Clooney does. Even if I could just stand in a scene with him I’d be happy. What fascinates me about this business is that I’ll meet people who tell me they are a fan of me. It constantly surprises me and I’m really humbled by that…It’s like me and Dr. Drew. I call him my Boo. We worked together on a radio show and have been friends ever since. He can pronounce big words that I can’t.
But you’re no dummy, yourself. You got to college on an engineering scholarship didn’t you? Do you use any engineering jokes in your act?
I had an electrical engineering scholarship to Prairie View A&M University in Texas. I actually used comedy to help me get through college. It was the Def Jam era and I was making extra money on the side. I wasn’t expecting to be a comic. It just happened.
You’re actually doing lots of college tours…how do you relate to the college crowd?
If you went to college (like I did) you can relate that way. If you were a kid or had a younger sibling you can relate that way. You don’t have to go with grandpa stories. College students are so open-minded. They just want to hear what’s relatable to them. You don’t have to speak a certain language or talk about Lady Gaga. I can talk about politics or religion and they’ll get it. Plus, it’s a non-drinking environment so you have a captive audience. It’s really helped me develop my material.
What’s your favorite place to perform?
I do love New York. It’s a great place to perform because there are so many different types of people. Certain areas are concentrated like in the Bible Belt. You don’t have that in major cities. Smaller cities are a challenge. People need to hear the jokes and once they hear it they have a different viewpoint.
You talk about food/eating a lot in your act? Do you look for good places to eat when you’re touring?
I really love buffets. In this country there are so many different kinds of buffets. It’s great. God bless my fans who ‘tweet’ some to me and send me messages. I love that. It makes me feel connected to folks. Plus I get to eat at a good buffet.
Do you get a chance to cook for yourself at all?
When I’m home (in LA) I cook. I Invite friends over and have writing sessions and I cook for them. I love to cook any type of steaks, chicken and casseroles. Put some cheese on it – it’s cool. My mom cooked mostly soul food. She’s from the South. I love watching the Food Network’s Paula Deen. She believes in food with lots of butter and wrapping some bacon around it. It’s a meal.
So, you actually play the French horn and flute? Is it flutist or flautist, by the way?
In the ghetto we just called it “someone playing a little instrument.” I played in the symphony orchestra in high school. When I was in Marching band in college I played the French horn. I actually have some musician friends who let me play with them. We jam to Mozart.
|Loni Love – Don’t Do Heat Well|
What’s your comic voice?
Your voice is what makes you comfortable on stage and gives you passion. I’ve learned to start talking about things I like to talk about. If I feel bad about a joke I cut it out and I stop thinking about what the audience wants to hear. I have to entertain myself up there, too. So, for me it’s about loving who I am — me being plus size person. I advocate you loving yourself. That will get you through anything…Look at the comics we love. George Carlin’s seven words, (Richard) Pryor’s drug use. That’s what made us interested in them. The joke doesn’t matter. It’s what message are you conveying.
If you weren’t doing comedy what do you think you’d be doing?
I would have opened a day care and worked with children. I like children, just not my own. That’s why I don’t have any.
When I look at people like Joan Rivers, Betty White and Mickey Rourke. I realize you have ups and downs, but you can maintain work. You just need to be a good entertainer and be positive. I’m not fearful of never working. Bill Cosby still tours and he’s in his 70’s. If you love it and this is what you’re meant to do can do it until you die.
Check out Loni Love’s Comedy Central special America’s Sister, premiering May 8 at 11:30 pm EST. More more info, visit lonilove.com. To pre-order her DVD, click the image below.