5 Things Lisa Lampanelli Learned From Donald Trump

Lisa Lampanelli
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13:  Comedian Lisa Lampanelli, attend the WP Theater Women of Achievement Awards Gala at Edison Ballroom on June 13, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

This has been the Year of Donald Trump. Turn on the TV, tune in the radio or pick up a magazine and there he is. Well, I’ve seen even more of Donald Trump than you have, because he was my boss. OK, my TV boss.

Back in 2012, I appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice, competing against 17 other celebrities to win money for charity. I did pretty well too, lasting 14 weeks before Mr. Trump looked at me and uttered those infamous words, “You’re fired.”

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In those 14 weeks, I got to see how reality television, and Donald Trump, work. Even though the weekly boardroom segments lasted only a few minutes in the show, we sat across the desk from Trump for hours each week to film them. I try to draw life lessons from everything I do, and my Apprentice experience was no exception. So here are five things I learned from Donald Trump.

1.  Have Passion in Everything You Do

In Week 2, I was the project manager for my team, and we ended up losing our task. Usually, defeat is the death knell for the project manager. But Trump said I showed great passion and, because of that, I was saved.

2.  Keep People Talking About You

When the cameras were off one day, I asked Trump why he keeps his hair like that. He said, “It keeps people talking.” So, for any of you out there who think his hairstyle is the result of a barber with a grudge, think again. It’s a marketing strategy! So, since the show, I’ve shaved the sides of my head and I’ve dyed my hair pink, then blue, then green. I change my hair color like Taylor Swift changes boyfriends, and guess what? It keeps people talking!

3.  It Takes All Kinds

On the show, I got to work with some smart and creative people, and I also had to put up with some…uh, others. And they had to put up with an overly emotional, menopausal maniac—me! But I learned that, in order to keep the show interesting, it takes all kinds of folks. The same is true for life—whether we all like each other or not.

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- "Puppet Up" Episode 1210 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Lampanelli, Clay Aiken -- Photo by: (Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Lampanelli (left, seated next to Clay Aiken) got emotional in the boardroom when she was a Celebrity Apprentice contestant in 2012.

4.  Don’t Micromanage

Trump surrounded himself with capable people in the boardroom to help him make decisions. I’ve always had a tendency to try to take on too many of the responsibilities of my career myself, but now I try to hand over some of those tasks to people I trust. Now I have more time for things I like to do and, best of all, there’s someone to yell at if something gets screwed up!

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5.  It’s OK to Be “One of the Guys”

Trump complimented every woman celebrity on her physical appearance except for me. Once he even said to me, “Lisa, doesn’t Patricia [Velásquez] look beautiful today?” like I was one of the guys. At first, I was a little hurt about not being noticed as a woman. I was tired of being the “fat chick,” and I eventually got bariatric surgery, lost 107 pounds and wrote a play about it, Stuffed, which will open this fall off-Broadway. So, thanks in part to Donald Trump, I will be fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing and acting in a play in New York City. Oh, and I’ve also come to appreciate being viewed as one of the guys, because that means they’re taking you seriously and not trying to sneak a peek at your boobs.