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‘Fat Chance’ and ‘Raisin’ in Sag

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:14
Lisa Lampanelli

Audiences at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor can look forward to two nights of laughter and an afternoon of drama this weekend with a visit from Lisa Lampanelli, a new all-star comedy show, and a screening of the 1961 film “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Last year, in an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, Ms. Lampanelli, long known as the “queen of mean” for her insult comedy, announced that she was quitting stand-up. “I loved the insult comedy,” she said during a phone call, “but it just wasn’t serving me anymore. I wanted to do something that had an element of heart and service in it.”

Her new show, “Fat Chance: An Evening of Conversation and Story with Lisa Lampanelli,” will showcase the kinder, gentler — but still funny — comedian on Saturday at 8 p.m. Ms. Lampanelli, whose 30-year stand-up career includes Grammy nominations, tours, and national television specials and guest appearances, made headlines in 2012 when, after bariatric surgery, she lost 107 pounds.

“Food, weight issues, and body image stuff has been so big for me for all my adult life,” she said. Her play “Stuffed,” which engaged those issues, played Off Broadway in 2016 and 2017. Before taking it there, she workshopped the play at Bay Street. “I love Sag Harbor,” she said, “and Bay Street is a great theater.”

“Once the runs were over, I adapted it into ‘Fat Chance.’ While it’s not technically stand-up and it’s not technically a play, it is still really funny and heartfelt.” The show is scripted, but there is room for ad-libbing. “It’s the furthest thing from insult comedy that I can do and still be funny.”

Ms. Lampanelli will be joined by Frank Liotti, a storyteller, actor, and comedian who will talk about his own struggles. A question-and-answer session that is not scripted and “goes pretty deep with people” will follow the performance, she said. “I think everybody wants to be seen and heard, and that’s what the show helps me do for other people and myself.”

She doesn’t miss stand-up. “Every Friday and Saturday it’s like, oh my god, I don’t have to go onstage and make people laugh. I can just be myself and have a social life and spend time with family and friends. But doing ‘Fat Chance’ never seems like work. It’s like stand-up used to feel.”

In addition to her storytelling programs, Ms. Lampanelli conducts workshops that use meditation, journaling, brainstorming, and other techniques to enable participants to understand and overcome their obsessions with food, weight, and body image. Tickets to “Fat Chance” are $40 to $75.

Presented in partnership with the comedian Joseph Vecsey, the All Star Stand-Up Comedy Show, set for tomorrow at 8 p.m., will be hosted by Marion Grodin (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The View”) and include sets by Eagle Witt (Comedy Central, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network) and Sean Donnelly (“FBI,” “Inside Amy Schumer”). Tickets are $30 in advance, $40 tomorrow.

“A Raisin in the Sun” will be screened at 2 p.m. on Sunday, the 60th anniversary of the play’s first production on Broadway. Directed by Daniel Petrie with a script adapted by Lorraine Hansberry from her Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the story focuses on an African-American family that hopes a $10,000 insurance check will enable them to improve their lives.

Allen O’Reilly, Bay Street’s director of education and community outreach, will lead a discussion after the screening. Tickets are $12. A live staged version of the play will be presented at the theater in November as the 2019 Literature Live! production.

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