Interview: Loni Love: American Sister
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 20, 2010
So I've been given the opportunity to interview Loni Love, a stand-up comic I've seen a number of times on television, including appearances in those VH1 brain-magnets, "I Love the 70s" and "I Love the 80s," so I quickly snap up the chance. And then I think: Just exactly what do I ask a stand-up comic in an interview? Do I play it straight and get an interview that's totally unlike the image people have in their minds? Or do I try to go for the funny, essentially putting the interviewee on the spot for a "free show." Either way made me feel nervous. Fortunately, the funny and gracious Loni Love was comfortable on both fronts as we talked about making it as a professional comic, her upcoming Comedy Central one-hour special, and what her first act as President of the United States would be.
When did things go from being "troublemaker" to "professional comedian" for you? (Because they're both the same thing, right?)
(Laughs) Sometimes! It depends. It starts being professional when it pays your bills. I used to be an engineer, and we ended up having a layoff. That's when I decided to save someone else's job and I would try to venture out on my own. That took about maybe eight years to do that.
So you sacrificed your job -- for someone else's sake -- to do this.
Yeah, it's like it was a second career. I just figured that I could do it, and the timing was right, and I haven't looked back.
You're busy with television, but you're also still a hard-working on-the-road comic. How crammed is your schedule these days?
Right now, because of everything that's going on, I travel every week. I'm usually in town for a couple of days, and then I go out on the road. I'm mixing schools with clubs; right now it's springtime and school's in session. The schedule will get a little easier for the summer. But then, because of the Chelsea show, they've added a Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour, so that's added some more dates to my schedule.
But I just fit it all in -- this is what you have to do when you're trying to get your name out there. And it helps you to build up your fan base, and this is the best way to do it. Even singers have to do it -- people have to see us live, they have to know what we're doing, so you have to go on the road. There's really no other way to do it unless you get an instant hit show on TV. If you don't do that, then you have to do the road first.
One of the ways you keep in touch with all your fans is through your Twitter page. About how much time do you think you spend on Twitter in an average day?
Twitter is probably... oh my goodness! I don't know. It's like a boyfriend -- it's like, right there all the time. (Laughs) Maybe three to four hours in a twenty-four hour period, because I'm always updating if I think of something or I want to check to see if anybody responded -- and people do! Now that I have like 28,000 followers, and the more followers you get the more people respond, and they have interesting things to say.
What I like about Twitter -- I don't really try to push my agenda, I like hearing what other people have to say. It's so quick and fast -- you can do it from your phone. So it's really a good instrument for me. If I'm in town somewhere, it's so great to send out an update and say, "Hey, I'm at this club," and I'll get twenty or thirty people responding, "Where is it? I didn't know!" It's really helped me to get my message out there quickly other than the traditional ways, so I'm really thankful for Twitter.
Tells us a little about your Comedy Central special coming up.
My Comedy Central special is titled "American Sister," and it's my first hour special for Comedy Central. I'm very excited about it. I've put a lot of hard work into it, and I named it "American Sister" because I'm basically talking about a lot of things that are happening in America, and I'm trying to get Americans to laugh at them. We're talking about everything from "Fat People, Unite" to "Our First Black President (Who's Half White)" to relationships. It's a really good special and people will need to check it out.
That leads me almost seamlessly into the first of my off-the-wall questions, which is: What would you do if you were President of the United States?
If I was President, I would have a barbecue, because I think everybody likes a good barbecue, and I could get everybody together and then we could talk while we're breaking bread. The only people that would probably have a hard time with that is the vegetarians. I'd have to put some corn on the grill for them, I guess.
What kind of superhero would you be, and what would be your powers?
I would be Bacon Woman, because I love bacon and I think bacon gives me super powers. So every time I would eat some bacon, I would be able to fly around the world and help women fight domestic violence.
After a long road trip, and you're home and trying to sleep, who doesn't get killed for making an unannounced 3am booty call?
(Laughs) Who doesn't get killed for an unannounced booty call? George Clooney!
This week is Earth Day. Do you have any ideas for saving the world from ourselves?
Well, we do need to be more conscious of just little things that we do, like leaving our phone chargers in the wall -- we need to take it out. Or we leave water running or dripping -- we need to fix our drips. It's little bitty things that don't take money, it just takes actions that we need to be more aware of to help save the Earth. I try to announce that, too, during my shows -- just be a little more aware of what you're doing.
Do you ever get tired of people coming to your shows expecting Loni Anderson?
(Laughs) No, I've never had that yet. Maybe Aretha Franklin, but not Loni Anderson.
What's the one thing you promised Chelsea Handler you wouldn't reveal in an interview?
Actually, we haven't promised anything -- she's very open. I love Chelsea because she allows us to be ourselves; there's nothing off-limits that we can't talk about. So whatever we want to talk about, we talk about.
How did you get hooked up with Chelsea Lately anyway?
I knew Chelsea from stand-up comedy, and then I did a couple of episodes of the show she was on, Girls Behaving Badly. And then when she got this show, she asked me to come in and see if I liked it. It was a good time, and I've been on the show ever since.
Loni Love's one-hour Comedy Central, "American Sister," airs Saturday, May 8, at 11:30pm ET, with a DVD release on June 1.