'Celebrity Apprentice': Lisa Lampanelli says she does 'absolutely not' regret her treatment of Dayana Mendoza (including using that racial slur)

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Lisa Lampanelli is going to tell you what she thinks. She will say it loud and she will say it often. Unfortunately for Dayana Mendoza, what Lisa thought of her was not all that much. Mendoza was on the receiving end of a barrage of Lampanelli-led insults on this season of Celebrity Apprentice, and last week Dayana told us what it was like dealing with such venom. Now that she too has been eliminated, it’s Lisa’s turn to talk. Does she regret the things she said to Dayana on the show? What about off the show (including that racial slur she uttered during a radio interview)? Lisa also weighs in on other topics including: her BFF Aubrey O’Day, negotiating with Teresa Giudice, whether her temper kept her out of the final two, and whom she thinks should win (her answer may surprise you). Hey, they don’t call her the Queen of Mean for nothing!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So after all that screaming, after all that cursing, after all that crying, how dare you go out with class and dignity at the end when Trump fired you? What the hell happened?
LISA LAMPANELLI: I know! Here’s what happened. When he said the hair dryer task was worth a hundred grand, something in my gut told me, I’m gonna win and I’m gonna go out on that note. Maybe this is giving Donald Trump too much credit, but I thought, he wants me to go out on a high note for really helping the charity and for working so hard. This is just my feeling. I go, “I’m not famous enough to be in the final two.” That was my whole feeling. In my gut, I kind of knew it and Aubrey kept trying to talk me out of it. I go, “Dude, I’m going home and I’m going to be happy about it because I can not wait to get some sleep. I can’t take it anymore.”

Let’s get right into the Dayana Mendoza thing. You are the Queen of Mean so let me ask you point blank: Were you too mean to her on the show?
Absolutely not, because you guys did not see the 48 hours on each task that I had to deal with a gnat in my ear. Now, I get it. I was 25 myself once. I also thought I knew everything. I also thought that I could give singers singing advice and comics comedy advice. When you’re that age, you know it all so I understand it. But when you’re tired and you don’t have patience for it, you definitely snap. So no, I don’t think mean is telling the truth. I think mean is maybe hitting somebody — that I fell just short of doing, even though Clay threatened to kill her.

Clay said he agreed with the content of what you were saying but not necessarily the delivery. Do you agree with that?
No, absolutely not, because Clay gets to deliver it how he does. I get to use my style. If I was trying to be insincere on the show, it would have been a lot different. I was trying to be 100 percent hardcore, how I am in my life, and show feelings and emotion that people actually have on the job. The age group that’s really getting it are women on the street 40 years and up who go, “Oh my God, I had to deal with annoying people in my life at work. I get it.”

What about that racial slur you used when referring to Dayana in a radio interview. Is that something you regret doing?
Absolutely not. Are you out of your mind? Of course not. I’ve been doing comedy for 22 years. The minute I apologize for a joke is the day I quit this business and I ain’t quitting anytime soon. I say every slur on the planet — racial, homosexual, everything to do with every ethnic group on the planet and guess what? I will never apologize for that because I know why I do it and it is to make a valid point about ignorance in this society. If she doesn’t get it, that’s a shame.

Lisa, when you go on stage and perform, you control the content and you control how it’s delivered. On a reality TV show, however, it’s different. Obviously, you control what comes out of your mouth, but they often control the context and what ends up being shown and what isn’t. Were you worried about that? And how do you feel about the way you were portrayed?
This is how stupid I am: I wasn’t worried in the least and thank God I was not surprised or unhappy with anything. I think the editing was fantastic because, first of all, it’s the greatest show. It’s been so much fun to watch. Me and Jimmy sit there with our group of gays every Sunday and we laugh our asses off. But also, they didn’t misrepresent me. That was exactly how I am and I was thrilled with it. I loved it. I didn’t even give it a thought. I said, “They’re going to be honest.” And you know what? I’ve got to hand it to NBC — they actually were honest.

You’re an extremely smart and strategic person and you know this show very well. So you know that being such a volatile personality has its positives and negatives. People that tend to yell and scream, they’re kept around because they make good TV, but they don’t usually win. Were you aware of that and worried about how that was going to ultimately play out for you?
From Day 1, I said to my stylist who was on set with me everyday, “I am lasting to the final four because I’m smart, but after that all bets are off, because I just don’t think I’m famous enough.” And Trump, he loves playing that emotion card. He did it with Meat Loaf last year. Look at me — I’m the female Meat Loaf! At this point because of that damn show, I weigh as much as him because I stress ate the whole time! I’m not saying it’s not possible for someone who is emotional to make it to the finals but my whole thing was — win as much as you can while you’re there, be who you are, and hey, if the people love you, they love you. If they hate you, they hate you, but I’ve always been polarizing and I love that.

Forget about how she’s done on the show in terms of actual performance. Just in terms of being a TV character, is Aubrey O’Day the most fascinating thing we’ve seen on network television in a long time?
She is. Aubrey is an animal all to herself, I will tell you. I had never seen, of course, the interviews she did and the stuff she’s been saying. I am laughing so hard. Her quotes are amazing. I’ve also never seen anyone who was so confident in my life. And you know what? I hate to say this — sorry people who hate her — but guess what? She has the goods to back it up. If you’re going to be like, “I’m the best. I’m the greatest. I came up with all the ideas. I helped Arsenio win” — guess what?  She’s pretty much right! I hate to tell that to the people who hate her. Stop with the death threats. Stop with the swear hate, okay? The girl knows what she’s doing and she’s fun as s— to watch.

Lisa, how would you describe Teresa’s negotiating skills?

[laughter] Hold on. I drank something and now I sprayed it all over my windshield. Okay, it wasn’t good. I said it was like taking candy from a baby. I felt a little bad for her. Here’s the thing with us Italian women. We usually let our husbands negotiate the house and the cars. But I never had a husband so I was always buying my own houses and cars so I knew how to negotiate. But I don’t think that’s what she’s familiar with. If you want to know the truth about how I feel about Teresa, we hugged it out. She has a great heart. She worked her ass off more than a lot of people and I’m not naming names. She knew how to get down and dirty with the work. I will say if that’s the one fault she had on the show, I understand.

If you were crowning the winner of this season of Celebrity Apprentice and couldn’t crown yourself, whom would you give the title to? Who did the best job this season?
I’m going to get hate mail from Aubrey about it even though she knows I love her, but I think it would have to be between Aubrey and Clay. Because Clay had a lot more dignity than we did and he still does. I mean, he’s a little bitchy queen and we all know that. He’s probably the only person I met on the show whom I still talk to a lot. I think he’s hilarious and there’s just something about the heart he puts into his charity, that he created that charity. Plus, he’s worked hard and he’s smart. He’s like a dark horse and I think he is amazing. And I’m not like Little Miss Charitable. I totally was on this show for fame as much as charity, but you know what? Clay feels it and I think he should be a winner.

Now, Lisa, would you go through all of this again if they asked you to?
It was awesome, so I’m stupid enough to be like, probably. But I probably would ask to have a little more control. It was really, really physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, but I am so happy I did it. I’ve had the best six months just laughing about it, but it’s really demanding. So I’d have to have a really empty schedule and go, “You know what? Let me have more fun with it. Let me not take it so seriously.” I was just in it to show that comics are much more than people who make you laugh. We also have smarts. Maybe if I didn’t try to be as serious, it would be a lot more fun and I would do it again.

What about if they said you had to do it with Dayana?
You know what? By that time, it will be two years from now. She’ll have grown up a little. Maybe, I’ll be past menopause and won’t be such a hormonal bitch. Maybe we would actually get along. But, you know, she’s a good person at heart. You saw me in the most awkward hug on the show so far with her. But I meant it when I said, “You’re a good person.” She’s a good person. Nobody is evil on that show. I don’t think you could be evil and be on that show.

Make sure to read Dalton’s latest ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ recap. Also, check out our exclusive interview with Boardroom receptionist Amanda Miller. And for more ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ news and views, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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