Louie 'Live!' is 90-minute cure for any ills
Who would have thought that after 40 years in his career, Louie Anderson would love it as much now as he did Oct. 10, 1978, when he first stepped on stage at Mickey Finn's in Northeast Minneapolis?
Anderson, who will perform Oct. 26 and 27 at Red Wing's historic Sheldon Theatre, waxed a bit nostalgic as he prepared for a return visit to his home state, Minnesota.
He grew up in the Twin Cities, the second youngest of 11 children. Long before he decided to be a comedian, others seemed to recognize his innate talents.
"People always laughed when I talked," Anderson said. "I had a funny way of saying things. And when I was serious, they'd laugh more."
From the moment he began performing at Mickey Finn's, "I knew I could do standup comedy," he said. His parents both came to show their support, and his mom was pleased. "She loved it," Anderson said. "She was happy for me."
While his father was "unpredictable," he added, "Mom was the rock, the lifesaver. We all loved her, and she really lived for us."
Anyone who has followed Anderson's career knows his mother and family have always played a huge role in everything he does.
"As a standup, he shares the ups and downs of his childhood experiences as one of 11 children in Minnesota, crafting comedy routines that ring true for audiences of all walks of life while reducing them to helpless fits of laughter," Sheldon officials commented.
"I love Minnesota. I love performing there. I think we know Midwesterners are a certain breed. We are survivors," Anderson said. If anyone is left after the end of the world, "it will be Minnesotans. We are prepared."
Among other things, he explained, "I always keep jumper cables with me," even though it's still October. And if the snow comes early, as it did last weekend, "I'll be prepared for it. A little snow's not going to hurt you."
He's even thinking about getting himself some new Red Wing shoes.
"Mom said, 'You should get a pair of those Red Wing shoes. They're the best,'" he recalled. He had a pair once, but it's not easy finding size 13 super-wide.
"I was born with a big head and wide feet," Anderson explained. He considers the big head an advantage 'cause it means he has enough brains.
"You need a few brains to do comedy," he said. "I have always believed you can do it or you can't." Comedy isn't necessarily something a person can learn.
Over the past 40 years, Anderson has become one of America's most recognized and adored comics, Sheldon officials noted.
He was named by Comedy Central as One of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time. He is a best-selling author, star of his own TV specials and sitcoms, a television host and an Emmy Award winner.
His most recent book, "Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too," was published earlier this year.
"The new book is letters to my mom," Anderson said, adding that he wrote it long after she had died. "There were questions I never got a chance to ask her," apologies not spoken, regrets he wanted to voice.
He also wanted to thank and acknowledge his mom and to encourage others to recognize that moms are more important than a lot of people realize.
If anyone wonders what his mother was like, they need look no further than their TV sets. In 2016 Anderson was cast to co-star on the FX comedy series "Baskets." He won an Emmy for his extraordinary portrayal of Christine, the matriarch of the Baskets clan.
The character is based mostly on his mother.
"I'm doing her," he admitted. "She was quite a special woman. I'm old enough to figure out a lot of ways to play her, (to demonstrate) what really matters in life. She had a lot of humanity, a lot of love."
Anderson is looking forward to a return visit to Red Wing and a chance to perform in the beautiful Sheldon Theatre.
He's doing the comedy tour and taping the TV series in New York at the same time. That will enable Anderson to appear on the Seth Meyers late-night TV show on Oct. 25, just before he heads to Minnesota.
He will perform at 7:30 p.m. both Oct. 26 and 27. Tickets are $35-$50, plus there are $90 VIP tickets including a meet-and-greet, treats and premium seating.
For reservations, visit www.sheldontheatre.org, call 651-388-9700 or visit the box office.
"For 90 minutes," Anderson promised, his goal is to help people "forget your troubles, have good nostalgic memories, have a great time — and let it all hang out."
If you go...
Who: Comedian Louie Anderson
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-27
Where: Sheldon Theatre
How much: $35-$50, VIP $90
More info: 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org