Loni Love has been a comedy favorite ever since she started spouting witty one-liners on VH1’s flagship I Love the... series. But now this engineer-turned-comedian has become the go-to woman for several funny quips and segments taking up space (thankfully so) on DVRs across the country.
On her way to a gig in Connecticut, Love talks to The Advocate about her career, fending off lesbian rumors, and her upcoming Comedy Central special, an hour-long set, premiering on May 8.
The Advocate: I noticed on your tour schedule that you recently emceed the Equality Awards for Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth. How was that?
Loni Love: It was great. I learned a lot — because it was for Long Island, there were 24 senators who actually voted for the marriage equality act. Some of them were honored there, and it was really like an overall push. They’re trying to raise funds so that senators that believe in equality can still stay in office. There are some threats to them for being voted out of office. A lot of it has to do with them being voted out of office because they don’t have the money to campaign. It was a really good event — they also honored a couple of other actors and it was really nice.
Is this your second Comedy Central special to air?
Yeah, but this is the first time I’ve had an hour. My first special was a half hour, and then they gave me an hour this time and I’m really excited about it. It’s called America’s Sister, basically doing the Loni Love tell-it-like-it-is style of comedy.
So how did you make the transition from being an engineer to doing stand-up?
I was a horrible engineer. I always did comedy in college, just on the side. I got my degree and one night after I moved to L.A., I went to a comedy club, and I noticed that there weren’t a lot of females. There wasn’t really a female voice. I started getting back into doing comedy, and I just did that for a while. Then one day we had a layoff, and I felt really bad because there were people who actually wanted to keep their jobs and I didn’t want to keep mine, so my boss laid me off and saved someone else’s job. So I became a full-time comic, and I never looked back.
There are other women comedians who garner a gay audience. Let’s say you, Kathy Griffin, and Chelsea Handler somehow got into a back alley fight — you never know, it could happen — who would win?
I think Kathy, because she would talk the longest. She would talk and keep talking until she won. Both Chelsea and I would be like “OK, bitch, we’ve got it.” [Laughs] I love Kathy.
If someone, for whatever reason, decides to start a lesbian rumor about you, do you think that would mess up your game?
No, because in my act everybody knows I talk about the lesbians and how I feel about them. If they know me and they know my act, they know that it would be a rumor. I won’t lie — it probably would help me! [Laughs] It would probably help my game.
Related to your hilarious work on I Love the ’70s and ’80s and so on, do you have a year for you that is a personal favorite?
The ’90s were really big. I would have to say 1999, because that’s when I decided I was going to pursue comedy. I hadn’t left my job yet, but I had decided that I was going to really pursue comedy and be serious about it, and there was a lot going on with comedy back then. I think that was my favorite year back then, ’99.
If a network gave you free rein to star in your own show, where you could do anything you’d like, what would it be?
I would love to be the host of a karaoke singing contest show, because I think I can sing ... but I really can’t. Karaoke is such a big hit! That way I could sing and it wouldn’t have to be good, but I could also host and make fun of people. And with the good people, we could cheer them on.
Do you have a signature karaoke song?
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin.
That’s a good one.
Yeah, I like that one.