Loni Love Brings Her Keepin’-It-Real Comedy to Dayton
By Jason Webber
Being from Detroit, Loni Love just tells it like it is -no holds barred, no sacred cows, just pure, let-‘er-fly comedy pleasure. But there’s more to this funny lady than just an inner city ‘tude. Ms. Love also has a background in electrical engineering, plays the French horn and the flute, and was named one of 2009’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch” by both Variety and Comedy Central. Ms. Love will be bringing the sass to the Dayton Funny Bone from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 3. Dayton City Paper caught up with her to discuss Obama, the influence of Tyler Perry, and the joys of an ’80s rock star menage-a-trois.
Dayton City Paper: Since you’re a Detroit girl, I have to ask a Detroit-centric question–what’s your favorite kind of Faygo pop?
Loni Love: Strawberry! Love it!
Dayton City Paper: You discuss politics a lot in your act. How do you think Obama is doing as president so far?
Loni Love: Did you see him a few weeks back in Afghanistan coming in at night, running down those stairs? I think that was a helluva job. I think just like he’s evolving on his stance on gay marriage, he’s evolving as a president. He’s doing the best that he can. The thing is when I talk about a president, I like to do a balancing act. I talk about some good things and I’ll talk about some things that are questionable. But my overall act is “Hey, he’s doing his thing.”
Dayton City Paper: What are some things he’s done that you’ve found questionable?
Loni Love: You’ll have to come to my show to find that out.
Dayton City Paper: Fair enough. What did you think about a few days ago when he came out in favor of gay marriage?
Loni Love: I think he did that because he knows we need to get the economy up and (gays) could have some really fabulous weddings.
Dayton City Paper: You’ve been in a few films like “Soul Plane.” Is it harder for black comedians to get movie roles nowadays? It seems like the only black comic now who can really get a headlining film anymore is Tyler Perry.
Loni Love: Well, Tyler Perry is not a comedian. He writes his own (movie roles). The thing is, it’s hard in general now to get movie roles, and not just for black comedians. The whole nature of the business is hard right now. There aren’t a lot of black comedians who know people who are in the business and can put them in the movies. Judd Apatow doesn’t know any black people and that’s why he doesn’t put black people in his movies; he just puts his friends in the movies. All those guys know each other. Eventually it’ll come around, but until then, we’ll just take what we can get, which is clubs, TV, and then eventually we’ll build up our name and then we’ll get into the movies. It’ll happen.
Dayton City Paper: Do you think white audiences have a certain expectation or preconceived notion when they see a female black comedian come onstage?
Loni Love: Well, as an African-American girl, I can only speak from my experiences. I haven’t received any type of feeling like that from my audiences. What I like about white audiences is that they don’t have any expectation—if you’re funny, you’re funny. I’ve had Def Jam-style comedians open for me that tell real hardcore jokes and white people will laugh at them if they’re funny. But if they’re not they’ll just be silent. That’s what I appreciate about my audiences—they’re not judgmental. They’ll be with you and they will ride with you if you’re funny. The audience wants you to be funny and they’re rooting for you to be funny. Why would they be there if they didn’t want to laugh? That’s the beauty about comedy right now—people are coming there because they want to laugh, they’re not coming because they want to heckle. They want to laugh and that’s what you need to give them.
Dayton City Paper: You’re something of a Renaissance woman. What can’t you do well that you wish you could?
Loni Love: Oh, lots! It’s all a learning process. I try to make sure I’m not a gossip, but that doesn’t work. I try to watch what I eat, but that doesn’t work. I try to be a more religious person, and that definitely doesn’t work. But I take the things I’m trying to improve about myself and put that onto the stage because I think everyone can relate to it. We’re all trying to evolve and improve ourselves as people. It’s hard! You have to enjoy the journey and I try to remind people of that.
Dayton City Paper: Since you were on “I Love the ’80s,” you’re qualified to answer -who would you rather sleep with: Prince or Lionel Richie?
Loni Love: Oh wow. Can’t we have a threesome?
Loni Love performs at Dayton Funny Bone from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 3. Times and ticket prices vary. www.daytonfunnybone.com/937-429-5223
Reach DCP freelance writer Jason Webber at JasonWebber@DaytonCityPaper.com.