We know Loni Love from The Real, her standup specials on YouTube, her regular appearances on Ellen, and for her hilarious dating advice. Now, the comedian is telling us how she became a star in her new memoir, I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To: True Life Lessons, out today with Hachette publishers. It follows her humble upbringing in Detroit, bad boyfriends (and their mothers), office jobs, comedy breaks and mistakes.
This breezy read is an inspirational tale of one woman who had the odds pitted against her, and still landed on top. The media personality, comedian, writer and podcast host, speaks about the shift in comedy and what she loved most about Joan Rivers.
You’ve been doing standup for over 10 years, what are your thoughts around comedy today?
Loni Love: What people don’t know about road comics is you have to be constantly on the road to build up your act, your name, who you are as a person. When you travel, you see different regions, and what’s funny one place isn’t funny somewhere else. We now have Instagram comics who tape stuff, edit really hard and put it out in one minute bites, but they’re not standup comics: Getting up on a stage and making people laugh. Deliver jokes. It’s a whole different type of muscle you have to exercise. Its harder for women because you get into a relationship, or you have a baby. I chose not to have children because I wanted to commit to my career. Here I am, 10 years on the road, at the same time I was working my day job because you don’t make a lot of money on the road. It’s a lot of balancing you do when you’re trying to change.
You have your own plus-size clothing line, what do you think about Adele losing weight?
I’m a huge supporter of women who want to get healthy. What I like about what she has done, is she hasn’t ben putting out a thousand pictures of people in People magazine. She puts out one photo and people go crazy. Instead of being depressed, she said she started hiking, working out. She can be a source of inspiration of me. Adele is gorgeous, nothing has changed. We put so much pressure on artists to look a certain way—versus being healthy. One day at a time.
What do you love about Joan Rivers, who you quote in this book?
She was an influential person because she started her comedy career, had lots of ups and downs, but always came out on top. I remember going to her house for her YouTube show In Bed With Joan. But off camera, she gave me some advice. I remember her leaving the kitchen and coming back, “I need to tell you one more thing,” she said. “Don’t take a break, Hollywood will give you a break.” That’s why I hustle so much. The second thing she said was “Always sign your own cheques.” The look on her face, I will always thank her for that. Oprah has said that, too.
In the book, you also talk about people along the path of your career who have felt fated. Do you believe in guardian angels?
I know it has God who has helped me, unequivocally. I know for me, there were times I quit my job and went into standup full-time, those gigs were few and far between. I remember going up in a $450 seedy apartment in Los Angeles and was unable to come up with my rent money. I said my prayers, stayed positive and something would happen—boom. The phone rings. “We got a comedy gig for you.” I try not to be a hateful or envious person. I believe in the power of prayer, I came from the projects and I’m on TV and movies. If I can do it, you can too. I have a belief system, he has shown me time and time again.