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Louie, Louie

Comedian and Family Feud host Louie Anderson has left his childhood behind.

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 7, 2002

[Publicity photo]
Three years as host of a TV game show have changed Louie Anderson’s stage act.
Family Feud has changed Louie Anderson, or at least his stage show.

He used to trade almost exclusively on his childhood: a past that inspired both an animated TV series for kids and the serious books Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child and Goodbye Jumbo . . . Hello Cruel World. But his three years as host of the TV game show seems to have lent a free-form, Bill Cosbylike feel to his act, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

During a recent show in Las Vegas, Anderson interviewed fans in the front rows as if he was warming up his game-show audiences. And when he wasn't asking questions, some people felt free to yell out information anyway.

The comedian disguised his material to give the casual impression of having thrown out the memorized script to wing it with the crowd. Having a police officer in the front row gave him all kinds of openings, including the chance to ask the burning question, "So, do you have a quota?"

When the guy tried to deflect attention to his wife, who worked for Arizona's welfare agency, Anderson thanked him sarcastically: "Great stuff there. We were on welfare when we were kids. Thanks for reminding me of that."

That gave Anderson the perfect opportunity to turn his act back to his family: his late mom and dad and 10 siblings.

People who want to use their dysfunctional family lives as the springboard to a lucrative and glamorous career "have to be funny about it and honest about it," Anderson said in a recent interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "And you can't leave yourself out of that mix. You have to be honest enough to say, 'Oh, I'm that messed-up one in the family."'


Louie Anderson, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, the Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. Tickets: $26 advance, $28 at the door. For reservations, call (813) 864-4000.

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