Loni Love is a very funny lady. The seasoned stand-up has been making audiences laugh since her 2004 appearance on “Star Search.” Miss Love has appeared in dozens of films, including “Soul Plane” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” These days Miss Love can be seen five days a week on the talk show “The Real.” The chat show has proven to be a perfect showcase for Miss Love’s quick wit and inability to hold back her often hilarious opinions.
Miss Love will be at Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium, Maryland, Feb. 11, 12 and 13. Miss Love checked in ahead of those shows to talk about her worst comedy gig ever, why she still does stand-up and her upcoming film, “Mother’s Day.”
Question: When and why did you start doing stand-up?
Answer: I originally started in college because I needed some money. [laughs] There was a comedy contest, and it was $50 for the best story. I got up on stage and made up some silly story, and I won the $50.
Once I got my degree in electrical engineering, I ended up getting a job in Los Angeles. I worked for Xerox. While there I started doing stand-up again because I really wasn’t pleased with working nine to five. I worked all day, then did stand-up again at night.
Q: How did you become a full-time stand-up?
A: There had been a lot of layoffs. After the third round of layoffs, I went to my boss and said, “Save a job. Lay me off.” I just went and became a full-time stand-up in 2004.
Q: What was your worst gig ever?
A: The only time it’s really bad is when you don’t get paid. There was this one time, it was a group of comics, and we were hired through another comic. We were in Los Angeles and were flown to Phoenix to do a show for this guy. Turns out the guy was a bona fide so-called pimp who wanted to try to put on a comedy show. And he did not sell one ticket!
Because there wasn’t anybody in the audience, he didn’t pay us. And when I looked at our plane tickets, we realized it was a one-way ticket! That was the worst ever.
Q: What was your best gig ever?
A: My favorite gigs are the ones where I get to work with a bunch of great stand-ups. Working with Ellen [DeGeneres and] being on Ellen’s show. When I do her show, we don’t have a script, we just riff off each other. I still consider that stand-up because you don’t know what is going to happen. That’s the best, because you never know where the comedy is going to take you.
Q: Who were your comedy influences?
A: In my younger years I was influenced by the acts I opened up for. People from Bill Maher to D.L. Hughley. One of the most memorable times is when I opened up for Eddie Griffin. We did seven nights in a row. I remember him getting a standing ovation every night. And he would do over two hours of comedy.
I remember it was a Saturday night [and] Eddie talked till 3:30 a.m. And he still got a standing ovation. And they weren’t standing to leave. [laughs]
Q: When did you know you had made it?
A: I still don’t think I’ve technically made it. I just try to money-manage good. [laughs]
This is the type of craft that you just have to love. People say to me, “You’re on TV. Why are you playing all these comedy clubs in Peoria and Baltimore?” I’m trying to keep the art of stand-up alive. We take it for granted because we can look on YouTube and see stand-up. But there is nothing like seeing a live stand-up show.
Q: How did you end up as host of “The Real”?
A: I had been working with Ellen, and then I ended up getting a development deal. They came to me with the idea of “The Real.” They asked me if I would be interested in working with women on something that was a little different. We had a chemistry test and came up with the table of ladies you see on the show today.
The show keeps evolving. We just interviewed the first lady of the United States. To be in our second season and have that high of an honor is great.
Q: You ladies get loud. How do you get a word in?
A: If they get too excited and too loud, I kind of back up and get quiet. Then because I know about timing onstage, I wait for the right moment to get my word in. The key to that show, or any panel show, is listening.
Q: What can people expect at your Timonium, Maryland, show?
A: People can expect to have fun. I’m bringing some great comics with me. They can expect to hear some stuff on relationships, pop culture, and because of the election coming up, politics. Our shows are a lot of fun. We just want people to come out and escape their problems for a couple hours.
Q: Is there anything you can’t joke about?
A: No. There isn’t really anything you can’t touch. I always say it’s a person’s discretion. There are certain things I don’t want to talk about. And if I don’t want to talk about them, I won’t. But the beautiful thing about living in America is you can talk about anything and not get arrested. [laughs]
Q: You also have a movie coming out called “Mother’s Day,” yes?
A: Yes. It is directed by the legendary Garry Marshall. It stars myself, Jason Sudeikis, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and a slew of other people. It’s like his other films, “New Year’s Eve” and “Valentine’s Day.” It’s a “dramadey” and it’s opening April 29.
Loni Love plays Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium, Maryland, Feb. 11-13. Tickets are $20 by going to Magoobys.com/comedian.cfm?id=695.