Did you hear the one about the limelight-loving guy who opened the refrigerator door and started doing standup when the light went on?
He actually turned out to be one of the “big cheeses” of comedy.
For comedian Louie Anderson, who calls his comedy observational and family-based, admittedly, food for thought for his act can come from anywhere – even the kitchen. Luckily, it comes easily to him since he writes new material every week for his act at The Plaza in downtown Las Vegas.
“I'm blessed because I just think funny,” Anderson, who performs five nights a week. “I once opened the refrigerator and saw two big wheels of cheese that someone must have given me and were put in there. Immediately, a joke came into my mind. I thought, “I’ll have two more wheels on me if I eat these -- and I don’t need another car.
“This is a way I get into a bit,” he adds. “I start out with I quit drinking coffee and started drinking tea. People heard about it and started bringing me tea. Whether I like it or not, I have so much tea that I’m thinking of opening a store. I’m now going to switch from tea to diamonds.”
While anything can spark a joke, Anderson focuses on the everyman's struggle that we all have to face everyday and notes that he has always come from a loving place with his material. He displays his empathy for his fellow human beings, believing that a fun-spirited joke goes a lot further than a mean-spirited one.
“I would run into people all the time who were sourpusses,” Anderson admits. “I used to think that I should try and cheer them up. Now I just use them as material. The big deals in life are losing people you love or someone you care about getting hurt or sick. And there are people out there everyday risking their lives for our freedom. So many of my friends and family are gone – you just never know. I’ve learned not to be so worried about self and that what matters is to enjoy the day we have. We have little control over life anyway. And the more gratitude I have, the better human being I perform as.
“I have really good friends,” he continues. “And I’m very spiritual. I believe that the people I’ve lost are always close around me. When people come to the show that have the same names as my parents or the siblings I’ve lost, I believe that it’s a special hello from them. I’ve made peace with life; we’re all works in progress. The more we can do for others is the measure of our own lives. Rodney Dangerfield said it best –‘it is what it is.’”
Anderson, who originally hails from St. Paul, Minnesota, came from a poor family of 11 siblings that spent time on welfare when he was growing up. He says that his parents and brothers and sisters were all very funny people and that people would laugh when he talked, even though he was trying not to be funny. As for whether or not comics are more introspective than other people, he claims that one can choose how far to take the introspection.
The most important thing to him, Anderson says, is when he is up on stage and he looks out into the audience and sees people wiping a tear from their eye because they're laughing so hard. That's when he knows that they are free and devoid of pain and are only experiencing joy.
“I never worry anymore if I’m going to be funny,” Anderson cajoles. “I’ve been doing comedy for 34 years – and I’ve only been funny for 23.”
Anderson, who recently appeared on the reality show Splash, says he is also trying to be healthier physically and is hoping that the pounds will start melting off. One thing is for certain –you won’t find anyone who is more adept at taking the weight of the world off his audiences’ shoulders.
It’s Louie Lite all the way.