by Cesca Janece Waterfield
Fans of comic Loni Love never know what she’ll say next. But a couple things are certain; her views will be irreverent and witty observations of American culture. She’s seen American life from several contrasting perspectives while sustaining a work ethic to match her full-bodied laugh. Growing up in the Brewster-Douglass projects of Detroit, Love worked in an auto factory and saw education as the way out of a life defined by manual labor. After attending Prairie View A&M University, she was an electrical engineer when, struck by how few women were performing stand up, she took to the stage. Before long, she was a favorite on the LA comedy club scene.
Host of “E!’s Wildest TV Show Moments” and a panelist on “Chelsea Lately,” Love’s film credits include “Soul Plane” in addition to guest spots with late night TV hosts Jay Leno and Craig Kilborn. “Loni Love: America’s Sister,” airs Saturday, May 8 at 11 pm on Comedy Central. www.lonilove.com
A lot of people are looking forward to America’s Sister this week.
It’s my first comedy special hour. It’s one of the few female hour long specials that Comedy Central airs. It’s stand up with me talking about the things I talk about. I’m talking about things concerning America. Basically, there are five things I talk about throughout the whole act: relationships, of course, politics, current events, celebrities, and also fat people uniting. You know, there’s gay pride, there’s black pride, there’s all kind of pride. Well, I’m the leader for fat pride.
What happens when everybody gets together in support of fat pride?
The goal is for all of us to go to the buffet and eat and have a good time. That’s the whole purpose of fat pride.
You were an electrical engineer before you were a comic. When did you begin doing stand up?
I did stand up in college occasionally. Once I got out, I was just going to be an engineer. But then I went to a comedy club one night and I saw that there was only one female. That meant there were these different points of view. There were always a bunch of men instead of a bunch of women. So I decided to start back up and it just kind of took off from there.
What was it like growing up in Brewster-Douglass in Detroit?
I grew up in the same place as Diana Ross and a lot of the Motown people. The projects are exactly that: a bunch of people without any money and I guess the project is for them to survive. I was poor but I didn’t know I was poor until I watched television. Once I watched television, I saw that other people had things I didn’t have. It actually occurred to me to get out of the projects because I wanted to do something different and better, which kind of was the reason why I like TV now. I like to tell my story because there may be someone out there who doesn’t have everything they want or they’re not well off, they can listen to my story and it can encourage them to do better.
At a young age, you worked on an assembly line in an auto factory. Was that motivation as well?
Oh, definitely. I was working in an automobile factory when Detroit was still making a lot of cars. [I worked] ten hours on Saturday, eight hours on Sunday. You made a lot of money, but it was a lot of hard work. When you’re doing that hard of manual labor, you know there has to be a better way. That kind of encouraged me to go to college.
What was it like as a CNN correspondent during the Inauguration of President Obama?
I was working for the D.L. Hughley show. I was actually able to go to Washington and cover the Inauguration. That was a very exciting time. That’s the nice thing about doing something different with your life. For me to be able to be a part of something that is so historical for our country and to be able to go for free [laughs]. It became my comedy. It shows what can happen when you try to pursue your dreams. We actually did a comedy piece on me trying to find a hotel room because I just decided [last minute] to go there for the Inauguration. It was virtually impossible. It was a very funny piece and it’s on my website if people want to see it.
Loni Love can’t drop her name at the Hyatt Regency and immediately get a suite? Was it
really that hard?
Oh, definitely. It was really hard to find a place to stay.
Last year, you were named by Variety as a comic to watch. Does that put pressure on you?
There’s no pressure. I enjoy doing what I do. When you enjoy entertaining people, I think, it’s just like when you go to see a good movie. Their peers vote on those performances. That’s all those things are. I enjoy entertaining people so they voted me a hot comic. The reason I like college people is I know what it’s like. I encourage them to finish school, to live their dreams, and do better for America. It’s just nice to see that people recognize my messages and they give you a little recognition for it. That’s anything in life: If you enjoy it, you’re going to be good. I’m not the best comic but I enjoy making people forget about their problems for a while. We need to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. When it comes to that, I’m trying to be a doctor.
You’re making everyone else laugh, is it hard to know how to take care of yourself?
No, I take a day off. Me working for myself, it’s no different than when I worked as an engineer. There were times when I took time off, when I took a vacation. There are people who make me laugh and I enjoy them.
Who are some of your favorite comics?
I like people that make me laugh but also I like for people to give me a little message. So I like Bill Maher, I like Whoopi Goldberg. I like those types of comics. I also like the older comics like Richard Pryor and George Carlin. I always look them up on You Tube and enjoy their performances.