The audiences for Loni Love's shows are starting to look sort of like the buffets that the plus-sized comedian enjoys so much -- There's a little bit of everything.
"I get a good mix of females now and the dudes are finding out about it," she said in anticipation of this weekend's shows at The Pittsburgh Improv in Homestead. "Because of my appearances on 'Chelsea Lately,' I'm getting the hot young chicks. And they're bringing their dates.
"But some of the down-home folks know me from 'Star Search.' And then there's the people who know me from VH-1, which is a younger mix. I even see families, people with their parents, which is kind of awkward, but fun.
"In comedy, you try to be relatable. But I'm a black female and there's a lot of stuff ??? people feel 'I won't relate to her.' But [I tell] family stories and talk about the things we go through in life. Things everybody goes through. I did a Comedy Central special called 'America's Sister,' and a lot of people know me from that. I give real-world observations. I think that's why people connect with me, because I'm like that big sister that everybody likes to hear from and talks craziness."
A native of Detroit, Ms. Love came from a hard-working background where she was always making friends and family laugh. Fifteen years ago, she decided to make a living at it.
"I love Pittsburgh because people are real," she said. "Oh, it's always fun in Pittsburgh. It's that blue-collar type of town. I grew up working in the automobile factories and people relate to my kind of comedy. And I know I only have to work Thursday through Saturday and that I'll have Sunday off because everybody will be watching the Steelers on Sunday."
Like so many comedians, Ms. Love pokes fun at herself. But she's also carved out a reputation for using her observational humor to slice up celebrities.
"There's always some celebrities that you just have to make fun of," she said. "They will give you material. There's nice ones that you don't want to mess with, but there's always somebody doing something that you go, 'Now that was crazy!' Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian. There's enough people out there that we can look at and laugh because they're crazy."
Ms. Love's visit to Pittsburgh this weekend is to promote her new book, "Love Him Or Leave Him But Don't Get Stuck With The Tab." You're welcome to learn from the book, but it is intended to make you laugh.
"This is not advice," she warned. "It's a comedy book looking at pieces of life from a woman's perspective. Expert dater that I am, I share my stories and things that have helped me. I'm doing book sales after the show."
With a book and television appearances, one might think Ms. Love wouldn't have to endure the hardships of touring the nation's comedy clubs. But she insists that she not only loves it, she considers it "an honor and a privilege" to visit a town to entertain people.
"Stand-up comedy is an art," she said, "and it's an art form that people don't respect the way they should. I look at Dave Chappelle walking off the stage. That was so sad. You would like to think people would respect the artist and what he's trying to do."
Ms. Love is trying to help you laugh at life a little bit with two shows tonight (8 and 10 p.m.) and two shows Saturday (7 and 9 p.m.) at The Pittsburgh Improv, 166 E. Bridge St. in Homestead. Cover is $20 with a two-item minimum.
Dan Majors: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/