Body image issues are an age old epidemic. Few among us can say that we don’t obsess about food, how it affects us, and what we we think about ourselves when we look in a mirror.  Comedian Lisa Lampanelli knows firsthand. As a yo-yo dieter for over 30 years, she struggled with her weight until she underwent gastric sleeve surgery a few years ago. Her weight dropped by over 100 pounds.

Cast of STUFFED. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

The hilarious Stuffed chronicles many experiences with emotional eating in this Off Broadway play, written by and starring Lampanelli. In addition, she is joined by a talented group of ladies, each with their own struggles: a bulimic (Eden Malay), an overweight gal comfortable in her skin (Lauren Ann Brickman) and a size zero who can never gain weight (Marsha Stephanie Blake).

Monologues and vignettes are delivered with each of the four addressing the audience and each other about their individual outlooks on the topic. In between, Lampanelli interjects with her well known, crass brand of humor that toggles between delicious self-deprecation and sweet poignancy.

Set designer Antje Ellermann has created a cozy and comical set that serves as both a kitchen and stand-up comedy club.

Stuffed is smartly directed by Jackson Gay and premiered last year with the Women’s Project Theater. After critical acclaim, it moved to the Westside Theatre where it currently resides through this weekend.

Cast of STUFFED. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Although it’s been primarily marketed towards women, there is something here for everyone.  If you’ve never obsessed over food and weight…well… you’re probably lying. If you honestly have not, you’ll gain a world of empathy and understanding in under 90 minutes.  If you’re one of the chronic strugglers, grab a ticket, come inside, and feel welcome. It’s likely to be one of the funniest and warmest support group meetings in town.

Stuffed plays Off Broadway at the Westside Theater (407 West 43rd between 9th and 10th) through Nov. 19th. For tickets and information, visit Stuffed play.