Terry Morrow: Comic Loni Love molded a career out of one-time college 'mistake'

Loni Love

Loni Love

Loni Love got into comedy "by mistake."

She needed the money. "I was broke and in college," says Love, a semi-regular on E!'s "Chelsea Lately" who'll be performing at Side Splitters Comedy Club next week. "I just kind of made up a story, and that was my first time on stage."

And that's how the 41-year-old Detroit native discovered she had a gift for entertaining.

She says of the night: "It kind of made me realize, 'Wow. People get paid to make up stories.'"

She got $50 for the gig and then started working on a regular basis doing her observational comedy in Texas, where she was attending college. She earned her degree in electrical engineering before accepting a job at Xerox in California.

She worked there eight years and quit her job when the comedy gig started taking off. Love also gave up her job during a layoff period to prevent someone else from losing their job.

In her act, Love touches on topical subjects and pop culture. Kim Kardashian jokes are worked into her act only "if she had something to say this week. I don't do (jokes) on her just to work her name into what I'm saying. First of all, I like to do a well-rounded show.

"I want people to take away something at the end of the night."

Love doesn't recall ever bombing at a show. It's not because she blocked it from her memory.

She just thinks it's never happened.

"Everybody has their nights when they may not be 'on,' but there are also nights when they are doing good," she says.

"With comedy, it's about timing, and it's about energy. I think that's more important than anything."

Love has worked the road for well over a decade and still enjoys it.

"You get to see different parts of the country," she says. "You actually get to see what makes 'real people' laugh," she says.

Comic Chelsea Handler uses Love often on her nightly talk show and the faux-reality show "After Lately." Love sings Handler's praises.

And by the way, Handler's bark is worse than her bite.

"It's all an act," Love says. "She's a tough girl, and she doesn't take (garbage) from people. I think it's great. You shouldn't have to take (garbage) from anybody. What I have learned from her ... is that whatever comedy you do, she doesn't judge it. She lets you do your thing."

Love will be at Side Splitters Feb. 14-16. Admission on Feb. 14 includes a Valentine's Day package of $60. Feb. 15-16 shows are $18-$22. More info: call 865-934-5233.

Upcoming gigs

Oak Ridge native Elaine Hendrix is keeping very busy these days. She'll be guest starring in an episode of the Lifetime drama "The Client List" with Jennifer Love Hewitt and is working on "Two and a Half Men" this week.

She did an episode of Nick At Nite's "See Dad Run" starring Scott Baio. It airs the Feb. 24.

"I'm not sure what I can say or not say," Hendrix says of the "Men" episode.

"I can at least tell you I'm funny in it, along with Courtney Thorne-Smith and my pal, Judy Greer."

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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