Plus-size comic Loni Love is coming to Houston this weekend as part of the Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour.
Even though Love has had a successful stand-up career for more than six years now, her frequent appearances during the round-table sections of the late-night talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler on the E! network have given her an increased profile. (During a round-table section of the nightly show, Handler and three guest comics discuss the day's news, with a decided theater-of-the-absurd spin.)
But while audiences may think they're getting to know Love from her time on Chelsea Lately, she says fans will find a different Loni Love on stage during her stand-up show.
"My stand-up is totally different from the round table because at the round table, you're given a topic and you respond to that," she tells Hair Balls. "But stand-up is more about me, what I believe and think, and what's important to me. That's the reason I like stand-up because I'm more able to express myself. I can talk about my attitude about men, my religious views, things like that. I think people will be like, 'Wow! I didn't think that she was this way.' That's what exciting about stand-up for me."
As one of only a handful of non-white comics to appear more or less regularly on Chelsea Lately, Love often finds herself acting as a de facto spokesperson for African-Americans. In a similar manner, Jo Koy, who is of Filipino heritage, is tagged as "the Asian guy."
It's a position Love embraces. "I think it's important to discuss race," she says. "Both Jo Koy and I have mainstream audiences, and it's good for them to try to understand who we are. We try to squash the stereotypes, and we do that by making fun of them. For instance, people think that all black women are sassy. That's stupid. We're individuals like everyone else. We make fun of those ideas, on the show and in stand up, because it shows people how silly it all is.
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"That's why I applaud Chelsea. She puts different people in the mix. If she wanted to, she could just put the same comedians on the show over and over. Instead she tries to give everybody a voice. Jo and I have become regulars on the show because we can dish it out and we can take it. Chelsea is kind enough to give us a platform to speak up on."
But Love admits the joking can sometimes skirt the line and threaten to stray into offensive territory. "Yeah, it's a comedy show and it's supposed to be funny, but sometimes it goes just a little too far. So I'll say, 'Look, we ain't gonna have no more black jokes. That's enough.' Or, 'We're not gonna have no more fat jokes. We're not gonna have no more weed jokes. Everybody just cut it off.' But that's just me," she says before laughingly adding, "Because if I start really joking, I'll hurt somebody's feelings."
Love, who will be appearing with fellow Chelsea Lately regulars Sarah Colonna, Heather McDonald, John Caparulo and Chuy, is anxious to get to Houston, which she's visited often. "It's a great city for comedy. The thing I like about Houston is that when they come to a comedy show, they come to laugh. They like to have fun, and they're open-minded. You do it big in Houston. I can't wait to have a good time with some Houston folks."
Asked how the four comedians, who each have a very different style, will gel into one show, Love is quick to answer. "The show is like a buffet. I relate everything to food, so I say it's like a buffet of comedy. You're gonna get a little bit of soul food with me, you're gonna get a little bit of white people's food with Sarah, and you're gonna get a little bit of redneck food with John. And then you're going to get a little bit of long boobs with Heather," she laughs, referring to McDonald's nickname. "Hey, be sure and quote me on that one!"