Suzi Landolphi, Who Makes Comedy Risque Business by Hitting Aids with Her Shtick
The comic is cookin’, and the Boston College audience is eating it up. They laugh when she makes fun of someone’s wardrobe. They crack up at the double entendres. But what really drives them wild is when she pulls a condom over sophomore Steve Iannelli’s head.
For Suzi Landolphi, this is what show biz is all about: She’s got them laughing, and, more important, she’s got them thinking—about safe sex.
Landolphi, 40, tours the nation’s college campuses using humor to combat AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. “Genitalia,” she muses in one of her few quotable riffs. “Doesn’t that sound like an Italian liqueur?” For Landolphi, though, there’s no business like show and tell. Hence the condom cap on Iannelli. “Girls, if you ever have a guy who says, ‘I’d use a condom, but it’s too small, ‘just show them Steve’s head,” she says.
A longtime producer of TV commercials, Landolphi volunteered for the AIDS ACTION Committee in Boston six years ago. That work, which included making public-service commercials, led to high school lectures on safe sex. In October 1988, she took her show to a college. The response, she says, was overwhelming. “I thought if I could really make some money doing this, I could donate back [to the AIDS committee] and then I could become a funding source,” she says.
Landolphi has already made 78 appearances this academic year. She charges $2,000 (plus expenses) per appearance, although she waives the fee for those who can’t afford it. She expects to be making a profit—and donations—by June.
For Landolphi, who lives in Peabody, Mass., with her fiancé, heavy-equipment repairman Guy Crudele, 30, safe sex means more than just condoms. It also calls for communication, honesty and trust. “It might be just about a kiss or a touch,” she tells her student audience, “but I’m going to make sure whenever I have a relationship that—from the beginning—we’re both going to talk. We’re not going to have intercourse until we’ve done a whole bunch of things together. We’re going to know each other well.”