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Louie Anderson bringing his 'Big Underwear' to Pittsburgh

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

From game shows to movies to cartoons, Louie Anderson has done a lot of things during his 40-year show business career.

On June 12, he was nominated for his second Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, for his role as Zach Galifianakis’ mother (that’s right, mother) on the FX series “Baskets.”

But he says his first love will always be where he started, with stand-up comedy.

Anderson is currently touring behind his “Big Underwear” comedy special, released April 3, and will visit the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall on July 21.

You need something big to hold all the topics the show covers.

“I talk about traveling, touring, trying to be healthier when you haven’t been healthy, animals, my Fitbit,” he says. “I do some of my golden oldies and all the F-words: fat, food, over 50, family.”

One thing Anderson won’t be doing is political humor.

“The only thing I do is a very funny, nonpolitical impression of Trump at the very end,” he says. “It’s a very physical thing.”

No offense

Also on the July 21 bill is Matt Stofsky, who Anderson says is “nothing like me, but his comedy is clean also. I’m picky about who opens for me, because I don’t want my people to be offended.

“I try to make people forget their troubles for a while, and everything bad that’s going on in the world around them,” he says.

Anderson says Pittsburgh reminds him of St. Paul, Minn., his hometown.

“There are a lot of similarities — the hard-working people, the emphasis on education and philanthropy. And I’m always reminded of Billy Gardell when I’m there, because we’re friends.”

The venue that Anderson is playing this time around is a happy coincidence for Carol Shrieve, director of administration for the Carnegie Library of Homestead.

“What I find interesting is that he is a writer, and I’m always interested in authors because we are a library,” she says. When we get an entertainer or artist in the music hall who is also an author, I think that resonates with our community.”

She also thinks Anderson’s real-life, observational humor fits the 1,047-seat venue.

“He’s a great guy who just happens to do stand-up comedy,” she says. “We love when any comedian comes here. It’s an intimate venue that is absolutely amazing historically. It’s still as grand as when Andrew Carnegie walked across the stage.”

Homage to mom

Shrieve says she plans to add Anderson’s books to the library’s collection, something she likes to do with every author-entertainer who plays the music hall.

Anderson’s latest tome is “Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too,” which he calls “an homage and love letter” to his late mother.

In both his books and his stand-up, Anderson says, “I try to entertain and to share stories of my life with my fans. It’s helped me feel better about my life and my family.”

Anderson has been candid about the challenges of growing up the 10th of 11 children with an alcoholic father.

“What’s good about (“Hey Mom”) is that it can help you start a dialogue with your mom, especially if you need to,” he says.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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