Loni Love has achieved great success as a stand-up comic because of her "take." If you have cable TV, you've probably heard it.
You might have listened to her wax comically about nostalgia on VH1's popular clip shows such: as I Love the '70s, I Love the '80s and I Love the '90s. She's lent her sharp and humorous opinion to politics as a correspondent for CNN's defunct D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.
She comes to Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington for a four-night stand this week.
Love's supersize personality also provides colorful commentary on shows that focus on the stupid (as host of E!'s Wildest TV Moments), the shocking (as panelist for truTV's The Smoking Gun Presents: The World's Dumbest) and the salacious (as a frequent guest who skewers celebrities, gossip and pop culture alongside host Chelsea Handler on E!'s Chelsea Lately).
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For Love, 40, such shows have helped her become a headlining act and are "the best thing to happen for stand-up," she said, because it gives her and fellow comics a chance to expose a broader audience to their talents.
"This is the thing about entertainers. We don't have a lot of avenues to showcase ourselves," Love said. "When I do all this press and all this promotion, it's not just for me. I'm trying to keep the art of stand-up alive."
Love's immersion into stand-up comedy has always had more motivations than just getting laughs. Growing up in the projects of Detroit, Love eventually went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University in Texas. College is where Love took her first crack at stand-up comedy, and she noticed an unbalanced demographic.
"I saw there were a lot of guys and not a lot of females on the show," Love said. "We need entertainers of all different types to be represented. That's what keeps me going in this business."
Love's careers, both in engineering and in comedy, took her to California. She said she chose to quit her engineering job during a period of layoffs to spare some of her co-workers from getting pink-slipped and to go all-out pursuing comedy.
The gamble has paid off handsomely. Since the early 2000s, Love has certainly gotten her name, face and "take" out there to millions of viewers, guest-starring in sitcoms and motion pictures, showcasing her stand-up talents on late-night and syndicated talk shows, and doing voice-over work in a recurring role on Nickelodeon's Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. That eventually led to Love landing her first one-hour special on Comedy Central, Loni Love: America's Sister, in 2010.
Love will be the first to tell you that there is something to that title. She keeps her stand-up act fresh by staying current on celebrity news and the changing political landscape. Whether she's talking about President Barack Obama or her personal battle with weight, Love is often just saying what we're all thinking or enlightening you on her point of view.
"It's kind of like I'm the black chick that gives out advice," she said.
But throughout Love's stand-up shows, she doesn't want any ulterior motives to take precedence over the most rewarding part of dishing out her take to a live audience.
"I'm not there to brainwash or put them on a mission. We're there to laugh," Love said. "This country's been through a lot right now. The thing that people need is entertainment. ... That's what I try to do."