Comedian with local roots comes to DL Saturday during his Sweet Potato Tour
Though comedian Louie Anderson now makes his home in Las Vegas, Nev., he has a lingering affection for his Minnesota roots.
“Minnesota made me the comic I am today,” he said in a Thursday interview.
In fact, Anderson added, he was in Minnesota recently, for a Twin Cities event at which he was the keynote speaker — and of course, it was right after the first big snowstorm of the winter.
“I get back there (to Minnesota) a lot, because I like seeing my brothers and sisters,” he said. “I miss the people in Minnesota, but I don’t miss the weather.”
Nevertheless, Anderson added, he finds that he quickly becomes acclimated to the cooler temperatures. “It comes right back to you — the slipping, and sliding, and shivering.”
Much of Anderson’s early comedic writing was focused on life in Minnesota, and he will be revisiting some of that material during his upcoming visit to Detroit Lakes, where he will be making an appearance at the VFW Club on Saturday, Nov. 30.
“I do lots of stuff about Minnesota when I’m in Minnesota, because that’s my home base, it’s where it all started for me,” Anderson said.
His comedy performance in Detroit Lakes is part of his current “Sweet Potato Tour,” and as the name implies, “I’m going to do some of the Thanksgiving and holiday stuff I’ve done from way back, and then I’m going to do something on all the F words – food, being over 50, being fat, and getting off the couch, which is my new thing.”
Anderson’s “new thing” is at least partially the result of his recent stint on the summer reality show “Splash,” where he and nine other celebrities trained and took part in a regulation platform and springboard diving competition in front of a live poolside audience.
“I lost 40 pounds from it,” he said. “I think it was a life changer.
“It was my chance at climbing the rope in gym class, in my own way. I’m probably not going to win a sports trophy in any other way. For me it was a fun project, but also, you know, it was for all the people out there who are struggling with not moving and being on the couch.”
Though it provided much material for his future comedy routines, he also knows his stint on “Splash” was inspirational to many people.
“Every day somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I loved you on that diving show, you were very brave to do it,’” he said, adding that many people also told him that his appearance on the show provided the impetus for them to get out and ride a bike or go to the gym after years of inactivity.
“I think it kind of inspired people, but it was also so much fun, and I met a lot of great people,” Anderson said, referring to his fellow competitors on the show. “It was kind of like a little family.”
As for whether he’d ever do something like that again, Anderson didn’t rule it out.
“If somebody came to me and said, ‘Why don’t you do a show where you help people do the stuff they’re afraid to do?’ I would definitely have to take a hard look at it,” Anderson said, adding that yes, leaping from a 33-foot-high diving platform to the 17-foot-deep pool below was definitely a fear-inducing experience.
“The only reason I jumped off there was so I didn’t have to go back down the stairs after getting all the way up to the top,” Anderson said. “What’s more humiliating than that?”
His stint on “Splash” will definitely be a part of his performance in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, as will some of the material from his most recent television special, “Big Baby Boomer,” and “some new stuff I’ve been working on… I am working on a brand new comedy special that I’ll probably shoot sometime in either late December or early January. I’m having a lot of fun with the material, and it’s good, so I’m real excited about it.”
Besides his comedy writing and performing, Anderson said, he also recently shot a pilot for a television show on the Food Network.
“I can’t talk about it too much right now, but I just shot it yesterday in Los Angeles, and I have high hopes for it,” Anderson said of the pilot. “It went really well. It’s a really different type of show that I was part of creating… a food-centric show, which is something I know a lot about.”
As for why he continues to spend so much of his time on the road doing standup comedy, Anderson said, “I’m really good at it, and it still inspires me.
“There’s nothing like a live audience. It’s a really great job, and nothing competes with it, with that feeling. There’s no writer, no camera, no director, just me and the audience, and when we get together, hopefully I give them a night of forgetting about their troubles. I get a really great joy from their response, from making that connection.”
Anderson is particularly looking forward to visiting Detroit Lakes because he has family ties to the area. Not only did his father grow up in Frazee, but one of his nephews, Mark Anderson and his wife Tracy, own and operate a convenience store in the lakes area as well.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been up there,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to getting reacquainted with the area.
Anderson’s show at the Detroit Lakes VFW begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Tickets are $35 general admission and $50 Gold Circle VIP; the latter includes a pre-show “Meet and Greet” with Louie at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com (Search/Keyword: Louie Anderson) or in person at the VFW Club, located at 500 Washington Ave. in Detroit Lakes.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.