Louie, Louie: Big laughs from the big man

Louie Anderson brings his humor Jan. 3-6 to Capt. Brien's Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, on Marco Island.

Louie Anderson brings his humor Jan. 3-6 to Capt. Brien's Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, on Marco Island.

Growing up with 10 other siblings, comedian Louie Anderson said laughing was a normal part of his upbringing.

And he said he took that approach when he began his standup routine more than three decades ago.

"Starting out, your crowd is about the same size as a large family," he said.

Anderson brings his humor Thursday, Jan. 3, through Sunday, Jan. 6, to Capt. Brien's Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, on Marco Island.

He said he has no theater background, but living with so many brothers and sisters, he was "the guy who made everyone laugh."

For Anderson, nothing can replace the intimacy of live comedy.

"There's that great connection you have between your family and yourself and then there's a similar connection that you get when you do standup," he explained.

"It's another kind of family. These people have followed your career and have a connection to you that is similar. I call it my show-business family."

Growing up, the Minnesota native followed comedic legends including Jack Benny, Jonathan Winters, Henny Youngman, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson.

He reached the big-time in 1984, when he made his first appearance on the "Tonight Show" and met Carson.

Louie Anderson

Where: Capt. Brien’s Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, 599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, Friday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Jan. 6; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5

Cost: $30 for general admission, $60 VIP

Information/Tickets: www.captbriens.com

"That was like a dream of my whole life," said Anderson, 59. "That's the 'American Idol' show of my lifetime. If you got on Carson and he approved of you, that changed your whole life. I felt very fortunate. I worked very hard to do great Tonight Shows."

Anderson said he was born to be a standup comic for a few reasons.

"It just fits me," he said. "I really understand the idea behind the timing and studied that a lot. I love a great joke. I'm always looking for the best joke in the world. If I can write a new joke that's really strong, it makes me very happy."

Part of Anderson's standup is his weight, which he said he addresses in every show. He joked that if he doesn't mention his weight, his audience may wonder if he knows he's that big.

Comedians must address the "F-words," he said — food, fat, funny and family.

"One of the things I learned is I have to get the weight thing out of the way right away," he said. "You have to mention whatever it is about yourself."

Anderson said he finds humor in everyday life.

"Even when I push at a pull door, I still laugh at myself," he said. "I say, it never changes, they still haven't made it simple. There's a joke everywhere, you just have to look for it."

Anderson continues to work on various projects. In the mid-1990s, he created and produced a Saturday morning animated show called "Life with Louie" that was based on his childhood. It ran three years on Fox and won two Daytime Emmy Awards.

He also worked as the host of the "Family Feud" game show from 1999 to 2002. Anderson said he grew up sitting on the arm of his couch in his family's St. Paul, Minn., home, watching host Richard Dawson kiss female contestants while his father complained about Dawson's bussing.

"When they offered me the job, I thought this was a show I watched with my family," he said. "I love game shows. And when you give people money, they are happy to see you."

They would tape five shows a day for 35 days. Those shows would last for the year.

"I had the easy job," he said. "I was the host and read the questions. It was the most fun job in the world."

Anderson said he left the show on good terms, as show producers prefer to change out hosts about every three years. Actor Richard Karn, who played Al Borland on "Home Improvement," succeeded Anderson on "Family Feud."

Anderson said his latest venture is trying to find a TV home for a game show called "Punchlines," where Anderson will read a joke and comedians must present a punchline — their own or one on a card in front of them.

"Comics always think they're the funniest, so let's give them a chance," he said.

Standup has changed somewhat, he said, as cellphones have become so common.

"You're doing a show and the light goes on in the 12th row and a person's face is illuminated," he said. "You can't take that personally anymore. You're competing not just with the jokes out there, you're competing with electronics and Google and the Internet.

"Do I have a funnier line than your friend does on Facebook?"

However, Anderson said if someone is on a cellphone near the stage, and it's distracting the audience, he won't let that continue during his show.

Anderson said he enjoys mentoring aspiring comedians, and his advice is simple.

"I think comics' biggest problem is they get involved in other people's business," he said.

"I tell them don't get involved in any of that. Then I tell them, it's really simple: Show business is like a big line for a Disney ride. Eventually they'll get on the ride.

"It's about control. You cannot be afraid. I always thought I'd be successful. I knew I'd get on the ride, I'd just hoped the bar would close."

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features