Louie Anderson is one of the most versatile and successful comedians working in Hollywood today, loved by the television audiences who never missed his nightly hit series Family Feud or his appearances on late night chat shows. He is adored by standing room only crowds in Las Vegas and respected by readers of his books. He is worshiped by the rising comics he mentors and encourages with his honesty and wisdom. Sharing the ups and downs of his childhood experiences as one of 11 children in Minnesota, Anderson crafted comedy routines that rang true for his early club audiences while reducing them to helpless fits of laughter, routines that led him from his career as a counselor to troubled children, to the first place trophy at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition. Henny Youngman, who hosted the competition, recognized the diamond in the rough genius of the young comic and hired him as a writer, providing invaluable experience that soon put Anderson in his own spotlight on comedy stages all over the country. Johnny Carson, the comedy icon for generations of rising stars, invited Anderson to make his national television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984, and the rest is history. Jay Leno, David Letterman, Comic Relief, Showtime, and HBO specials followed. This made Anderson a household name and opened doors for him as an actor. He has guest starred in sitcoms like Grace Under Fire and dramas like Touched by an Angel and Chicago Hope. He has had memorable featured roles in film comedies like Coming to America, opposite of Eddie Murphy, and the classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He is also host of the hilarious Comedy Showcase, the late night series that follows Saturday Night Live. In 1995, Anderson put his creative energies to work on the Saturday morning animated series, Life with Louie. The long-running series based on Anderson's own childhood and life with his father won him three Humanitas Prizes for writing on a children's animated series, making him the only three time recipient of this award. It also earned a Genesis Award for its depiction of the proper treatment of animals, and most significantly, two Emmy Awards. His best-selling books include Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child, a collection of alternately touching and outrageous letters from Anderson to his late father, and Goodbye Jumbo...Hello Cruel World, self-help for those who struggle with self-esteem issues, as only an award-winning comedian could write it. Anderson recently finished writing his newest installment on family, The F Word: How to Survive Your Family. Now, Anderson is traveling the States doing what Anderson loves to do, stand up comedy. Anderson again delivers to his fans his inimitable brand of humor and warmth.
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I'm a stand up comic, creator of Life with Louie, Host of Family Feud, McDowell's employee, and now playing Zach Galifianakis's mother, Christine, on FX's Baskets which airs thursday at 10pm/9c
Thanks everyone! Feel free to keep asking me questions and I'll do my best to answer them periodically throughout the day.
Hi Louie! Thanks for doing this AMA. You are easily my favorite part of Baskets. Up until now you've been hysterical as Mrs. Baskets, but episode 4 was just heartbreaking. I couldn't look away from your performance.
So I'm wondering, has it been a stretch for you to play an older woman? Have there been any challenges, foreseen or unforeseen? Your portrayal is so incredibly human, and I'm wondering what goes into that.
Thank you! If there is any hard part of doing Baskets, the physical stuff (standing on my feet all day, hours of makeup and prep in early morning) but once I get in to the role, it all disappears. The script. The cast, and especially the director have guided me through the emotional parts that were at times difficult. I tried to call upon the hard times in my moms life, and the heartbreak that all people go through, and try to portray it in an honest way.
I have had gastric bypass surgery and believe me when I tell you that it is no fucking picnic. It is a common misconception that it is simply have the surgery, wake up, a lil recovery and then all the weight magically melts off.
It is one hell of a lot of work as we have to battle other health concerns that skinny people do not. I was 405lbs the day I was on the table and got down to 235 and I have skyrocketed back up to 290lbs. Its a constant battle every single day.
I investigated it, and realized it would be an aid, but no solution. It all goes back to eating well and exercising. Struggles are with you your entire life, how you live with them, and how you respond to them, is the important part.
How did the Life with Louie cartoon come about? How much of it was based on your actual friends/family growing up?
It came about from Margaret Loesch at Fox Kids who told me that she thought my life could be a cartoon. Matt o'callaghan animated my family, and put my voice from my standup act over it one day, and I saw it come to life. Most of it was based on my life. Other people added character ideas also
Hi Louie, I'm so glad you're doing this AMA 'cause you're by far one of my favorite performers :) I'm a big fan of your Life with Louie series, as they were very popular when I grew up, so my question for you would be what was your favorite memory from your childhood that you also transcribed into an episode?
Lots of love from Romania
The nfl football episode! thanks for the love.
Hey Louie, how the hell are ya? Thank you for stopping by reddit today. A few questions from one St. Paul boy to another.
I'm curious how you and Tom Barnard over at the KQ morning show got to be such great friends? For the curious - national top rated radio morning show
I absolutely loved Life With Louie, but I am curious why you betrayed us and had it set in Wisconsin vs Minnesota? ^^^^^Fuck ^^^^^The ^^^^^Packers
Is Teddy Bridgewater the future of the Vikings?
What is your favorite watering hole here in the Twin Cities when you decide to go out?
What is the craziest thing you witnessed when on one of the KQRS Vegas trips? I have, well had, a picture of you and me there a few years back but I am currently homeless and someone decided they wanted my laptop more than I did so it got ripped off. Bunch of savages in this town.
What is your favorite cuss word?
The Big Mac or the Big Mick? And did you ever get out of washing lettuce and make your way to assistant manager?
Would you take me to Mannys for dinner? Matt's Bar for Juicy Lucys would work too ;)
Take care & love you Louie!
Tom and I enjoy eachothers company, and more than that we love to eat. So we've had many great meals together. His family has adopted me into his. Love them. He has helped my career, and I hope I have done some small thing to enhance his.
The lawyers made us do it. We didn't want legal trouble from people thinking the characters were them
Yes. Teddy looks great, the only problem he has is the same problem that Russell Wilson has, because he isn't as tall, his passes get knocked down and intercepted. I am excited about the Vikings, and even more so about the Timberwolves
Favorite new hotel is the Blue hotel at Mall of America. Great wild rice soup!
what's your favorite pair of shoes you own?
My favorite pair of shoes are yellow leather loafers but they are too narrow for me to wear. My most comfortable shoes are my Loon slippers.
For years my kids have asked me "Want to hear something funny?" I always follow up with "Is it a knock-knock joke?" So, my question... Are knock-knock jokes funny?
Thanks for all the laughs over the years!
Yes, knock-knock jokes are funny. Especially because they introduce kids to humor! Usually its the first joke someone tells as a person
You're portrayal of Christine Baskets is the best thing on television right now. Bravo. Is there a specific person you utilized in the development of that character? How much input did the creators have?
Mostly my mother, and for the mean parts, my dad. and of course growing up with 5 wonderful sisters and several nice sister in laws
Hello mr. Anderson. I would like to tell you that your animated series "Life with Louie" was huge in Romania (Eastern Europe) , everybody was watching it when i was young , and people quote you all the time even today. What was your favorite moment from "Life with Louie"? Thank you for this AMA.
One of my favorite things was during my show in las vegas, I did my meet and greet, two fans from Romania had come all the way there just to see the real me. I still have that picture framed!
What was the best curly fries experience you've ever had at an Arby's?
I asked for a small, and got two larges
What's your favorite memory from Family Feud ?
One of my favorite memories was the time that during the commercial break a family member was told they would have to find their own ride home because they screwed up the answer
Who do you resemble the most in your family? What about the least?
I resemble my mom the most, and my dog the least.
hey Louie, when you dress for your character on Baskets, do you look like your mom?
I think I look like my mom. Here's a pic: http://imgur.com/M0v14wo
Hello senor Anderson. Do you have any hobbies or passions other than acting?
I'm in the process of putting together a project for the homeless in Las Vegas. Working with some people there to get a mobile bus where people can come wash their clothes, shower, and get things they need. Always have had a special place in my heart for people who have been displaced, because my brother lived on the streets for a while.
Louie...saw you in Las Vegas, you were awesome. You were nice enough to give a picture to my buddy with Down Syndrome and it made his day!
When's the next book coming out?
Good question! Publisher asked me the same question. To be honest with you, I am hoping to finish it by the end of the year. Out early in the spring. But right now I just released Dear Dad on Kindle!
Hey Louie! I'm a friend of Deyle's, you were kind enough to have me over at your pool a number of years ago. People should know you're as clever in person as you are on stage. I just wanted to say hello. Since this is an AMA: What makes for a good society?
Pool parties, compassion, understanding, and empathy make for a good society. If we don't have empathy, we really don't have anything
Hi Louie, let me just say, I love, love, love you! 1st live show we saw was at the Guthrie in 1986. I bought the sweatshirt ‘what’s this one size fits all stuff’ and 28 years later you signed it at the Cinema Grill – it was a thrill to meet you in person. We are loving you as Christine Baskets, you are stealing the show! So, questions, Hmmm….when are you coming back to Mpls to do a show? Cinema Grill and Brave New Workshop were great venues to see you in. Love from Mpls!
I'll be back in April! Thanks so much for the kind words!
How difficult was it growing up with 9 brothers and sisters? Any funny stories from having such a full house?
10! Figuring out where to hide the food was the most difficult part. (so that I could have it all)
I'm not sure if anything makes me laugh as hard as your "My Dad doesn't like people" bit from your old standup. So thanks for that. Love you as Christine on Baskets, you play that role perfectly. Whenever I hear you in interviews/podcast/etc....you always seem to have a great outlook on life. Is your positivity something that comes naturally to you or is it something you've had to work on?
It's something that I've had to work on. Easy to say, harder to do, but worth it. While my dad didn't like people, I do. I think people are the best thing going right now. Always interesting, and you always find out something you didn't know about yourself when you deal with others.
Hello Louie, huge fan. I have seen on your facebook page that you are pretty close to Romania, be it the country or its people. Why is that?
Love the Romanians, luckily Life with Louie was featured in 18 different languages! Ive learned that dads are crazy, mean, and unfair everywhere! But we love them
What's your favourite donut from Krispy Kreme?
Plain. Can't go wrong with the original.
Would you say that the younger generation doesn't recognize you when you're out and about? I'm a huge fan!
I'm always happy to meet my fans, Young, old, or really really old like me.
Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
Also, coke or pepsi?
100 duck sized horses that I could roll right over! Pepsi for me.
You were the definition of my childhood, I loved every episode of your series. Thanks a lot for that.
So my question is, what was the episode you enjoyed the most? What was the creation that you were the most proud of? Thanks for the AMA.
I was most proud of having the chance to re create my upbringing in a very positive light. While still keeping the difficulties families face front and center.
any update on whomever the real girl who inspired the Jeannie Harper character? The friend zone is brutal
Jeannie B, just retired as a school teacher, and I heard from her last year. She's doing well, and I still have a warm spot in my heart for her.
Do you think Maurice from Coming to America is finally making the big bucks?
No, I think he is getting closer to becoming the manager. I heard Kevin Hart was going to remake Coming to America, and I think at that point, Maurice will probably be the manager!
One day the owner of Sports Authority flew to Las Vegas, where I was working, and said he'd like to do a bunch of commercials. I said I'll do them if we could make them funny. I think we made some great, funny commercials that were successful both for myself and them.
I enjoyed watching Splash. Does your ribs still hurt?
No they have healed. I still love swimming, I just look funny in the outfits when I show up at the pool
Dennis Wolfberg is a guy I used to love to see on TV that I don't think is remembered as much as he should be. Do you have any memories of him?
one of the kindest, sweetest people I ever met.
What was the equivalent to podcasts and twitter when you were starting out? A lot of comics use ham radios and publish newsletters?
Soup cans with string, and messenger pigeons.
What was bigger for you at the time when you where a young struggling comedian, your first Tonight Show appearance or recognition and support from Rodney Dangerfield?
Great question. Tonight Show
Hey Louie, thanks for the AMA.
Was the Rambler in 'Life with Louie' based on a real life car? I mean, did your father actually own it? Was it as terrible as it was in the cartoon?
Yes we actually owned a Rambler. One of the doors was knocked off by me driving. One time backing up I had the door open so I could see where I was going. I didn't see I was about to hit a parked car. When I did, I panicked, stomped on the gas instead of the brake, and snapped the door right off. I had to get out of the car, throw the door in the back, and drive away so I wouldn't get caught. It was snowing, I was driving down the street with no door, I felt as if I was in a dream. But I knew when I got home it would be a nightmare.
Hi Louie!! Thank you for being here.
Since you have been a part of television for quite a while, do you feel like the television atmosphere has changed? Do you feel it is any easier or more difficult to get into television? Do you like television? lol
Asking as someone who is thinking of going into television. Thanks again and you are awesome. :-)
Much easier to get into! so many more channels, outlets, options. All the rules and the boundaries are being stretched! As long as you can produce content, you're in show business.
Have you ever been to Poland? And I love your show!
Never been to Poland, would love to visit soon!
Love the new show. You're the unsung hero mom-
with the fading cheer of a world weary pragmatist.
Galifinakis' tortured artiste'/jerk is subtle genius.
As much a drama as it is a comedy to me.
How much of the show is improv -off script ?
we get a lot of freedom to improv the lines. As long as we get the content of the story. It's a blast to work with two great comics.
Louie, can you confirm that I saw you in a bar in Boston 15 years ago. And I said "Are you Louie Anderson" and you said "I always thought I looked more like Sargent Slaughter". Can you confirm that??
That was not me
Hey Louie, what brand of shirt do you like most?
I missed you when you came to Niagara Falls, Ontario last! Anytime to come back soon? I saw you in Vegas, and I'd love to see your stand-up again with my mom this time
I'm going to be in Winnipeg April 3rd at club regent casino!