Eden Malyn in
STUFFED - photo by Jeremy Daniel
Blake, Lauren Ann Brickman, Lisa Lampanelli, Eden Malyn
photos by Jeremy Daniel
Lampanelli’s Stuffed opens on an aqua fantasy mid-century modern
kitchen, dominated by a chained shut side-by-side fridge festooned with caution
tape. The fridge shakes, rattles, and rolls, as we hear Lisa (Lisa Lampanelli)
shout “Let me out!!” or words to that effect (edited for family-friendliness;
this show uses language definitely not suitable for delicate ears).
fridge bursts like a lava cake, and Lisa arrives onstage, cursing her years
trapped in it, and kvetching about having gained and lost 372 pounds during
that time. So, from minute one, we’re steeped in Weight Issues, and something
that smells like overbaked honesty.
hard to speak of plot, here, b/c the show’s 90 minutes play out like a standup
routine with layers of confessional moments. Not a surprise; Lampanelli is a
successful standup comic, with an emphasis on being the Queen of Mean.
for ethnic slurs, racist jokes, and no-holds-barred dissing of basically
everyone, Lampanelli pulls in her claws in Stuffed. Not to say that the
text is harmless, but the dig-deep picture she paints of women with weight 2
complete with spotlight, mic, and audience interaction, and the way she works
with the three weight-obsessed soul sisters who invade her act. “You know I
work alone,” she says, when Britney (Eden Malyn), Marty (Lauren Ann Brickman),
and Katey (Marsha Stephanie Blake) arrive onstage and literally steal the show
from Lisa. Yeah, well, not any more. The four women expand Stuffed from
a comedy routine to game show, talk show, and just girls talking girl talk –
all about food and weight.
would have so easy for Stuffed to go off the rails and become confusing.
Which parts are standup? Which parts storytelling? Adept direction by Jackson
Gay, terrific lighting by Amith Chandrashaker, and Antje Ellerman’s smashing
set, set, all keep the four characters popping in and out of our view and our
attention, without getting us lost.
of these women has a different issue with weight. Katey can’t gain an ounce, no
matter what she eats, and the “skinny bitch” comments fly; Britney, a
bulemic/anorexic, speaks of a childhood full of Frito pies (don’t ask); Marty
lives her life fat and happy, she says; Lisa seems to be winning her lifelong
argument with food and the scale. Seems.
four of them chant lists of their favorite foods, completely diss salad, and
tell truths about how the eating-obsessed think about food. Among the truths:
they reveal sneak-eater secrets, make cookie-dough confessions, and spin out a
hilarious riff on jeans.
of that’s funny as hell. Some hurts. A whole section on “the bottom” hurts
most, as each woman tells her own story of totally tanking, and then coming
back. The actors work their roles so lovingly, and with such good humor, that Stuffed
brings the room up, rather than down.
may leave wondering if any of the characters in Stuffed has actually
conquered her demons, but you’ll have had such a good time along the way, you
may not care that you never really get an answer to that question. Lisa has the
last, revealing, line. Go see Stuffed and hear it for yourself.
Lisa Lampanelli at Westside Theatre/Downstairs
W 43rd St
between 9th and 10th
Tuesday, and Thursday at 7pm
at 2 and 8
at 3 and 7
$75-85; premium $95-105
tickets available day-of, $20 cash at box office