Comedy Central, Soul Plane, Chelsea Lately and many other onscreen opportunities have been stomping grounds for comedian/actress Loni Love. Focused not only on laughter and enjoying life, Love also values music, strength, perseverance and the ability to help everyday people forget about their troubles.
In this exclusive interview, while at work on her first-ever one hour Comedy Central special, Love sheds light on reality television; American Idol; Whitney Houston; the state of music and two of Hollywood’s leading actors Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Singersroom: It is often pointed out that laughter is healthy, what is your motto when it comes to comedy and stand up ?
Loni Love: I really try to get people to forget about their problems for a little bit and just enjoy life.
Singersroom: People may recognize you most for comedic roles but, is there a serious side of you that would surprise others ?
Loni Love: A lot of people don’t know that I used to be an electrical engineer and I actually have a degree in electrical engineering. The thing is that I used to work in the automobile industry and I used to mess up the cars so bad that I decided to become a comedian (laughter). But, yes, that’s as serious as it gets as far as my studies and things like that.
Singersroom: Now I know you’re a fan of music, how do you feel about the return of Whitney Houston, Maxwell, and others this year ?
Loni Love: First, I think American Idol hasn’t really helped. There are so many great people out there, of all ages. When you look at American Idol, they have an age limit. I think that they should open it up to all ages because there are people that, once they get into their 30s, still need a break. I think the music industry is suffering because of that. A sixteen year old does not have the experience that a thirty year old has.
As far as Whitney Houston though, I’m eager to hear her comeback. She’s missed out on a lot. There just aren’t a lot of people out there that are real singers anymore. It’s either they’re singing behind a machine or they’re dancing a lot. It’s likeâ¦ “where are the Barbara Streisands for this generation ?”â¦ we don’t have that. I think this generation is missing out on truly great singers. So, I would love to see more of that.
Singersroom: With that said, what, in your opinion, makes people support Whitney Houston after so many years ?
Loni Love: First, Whitney has left a beautiful imprint. But, I think the reality show (“Being Bobby Brown”) kind of hurt Whitney a lot because we saw a side of Whitney that we didn’t believe. You know, when you see somebody sing the way she sung “I Will Always Love You,” you say “oh my goodness, she’s just classy and she’s great. But, when we saw her on the Bobby Brown reality show we were like “wait a minuteâ¦ she’s ghetto” (laughter). I mean it was like she was just a whole different person and so we want the ‘old Whitney’ back. I think that’s what everyone wants. We want that “I Will Always Love You” Whitney. We want her back. We don’t want this new Whitney that we’ve seen running around with Bobby, dancing, singing and being accused of using crack. We want the old Whitney back. That’s why we’re rooting for her. We want to see that comeback.
She has let Bobby Brown go; she’s let the crack go allegedly; and we want to see if she can comeback.
Singersroom: You brought up a good point about reality shows. Some celebrities are opting for series that sort of follow them around while on tour; in the studio; at home; and all of the above. Is that a good thing or is it ruining that sort of ‘surprise’ element?
Loni Love: The reality show is hurting a lot of people. The thing is, television is for entertaining people and for people to forget about their problems. But, the reality show has, first of all, taken away a lot of jobs. We don’t have writers anymore. We don’t have a full crew with reality shows because the networks say that reality shows are so much cheaper, so scripted television is actually being taken away and being replaced by reality shows.
When you think about all the reality shows that have been on, or have been picked up and are successful, it’s because they’re crazy or they’re acting crazy or they’re not what we think they are. So I don’t know if being a reality tv show star is a great thing because it kind of changes our view of the person.
Singersroom: Would you ever consider doing a reality show ?
Loni Love: For certain people I think that a reality show is needed but, for movie stars and television stars that are serious and ‘A-level’, they don’t necessarily want it. I don’t want to see them in a reality show. For people that are just regular cool people or comedians, yes that’s cool. It’s kind of like what Kathy Griffin said â her life on the ‘d-list’. I don’t want to see a Brad Pitt (show). I want to hold on to my fantasy of him (laughter). I don’t want to see George Clooney in a reality show. I say keep doing your movies. Keep giving us the fantasy that we need. Let’s leave something to the imagination.
It’s like a woman who shows everything. You say, you know what, cover up sisterâ¦ leave something to the imagination.
Singersroom: Cool, let’s talk comedy because you’re being recognized as a hot comic for 2009 at Campus, Variety and Comedy Centralâ¦
Singersroom: When it comes to the crowd and jokes, would you say you enjoy stand up (live!) over television?
Loni Love: That’s a good question. When you do television it’s much more controlled. Live shows are totally different, anything can happen. Anything can be said. It’s like a fun and free for all thing. So when I do live shows, I like having a good time and connecting with the crowd.
Television, because of mass media, there are certain things â¦ standards and practices that you have to be aware of and adhere to.
To answer your question, it just depends on the type of mood that I’m in but, television is definitely much different than my live show.
Singersroom: Is there any extra pressure added in television ?
Yes. The problem with it is that they want comics to be funny but conscientious of what they’re saying. What I’ve learned to do is just enjoy myself. When I think about it, I try to ask myself the question “how do I really feel about this (joke)?” If I don’t feel really good about it then I won’t say it but, if I’m okay with it, then, I can say it.
Watch out for Loni Love’s first ever Comedy Central special due to premiere in 2010.
For more on Loni Love, visit Lonilove.com