The comedy world had to say goodbye to a local hero last week. Emmy-winning St. Paul-born Louie Anderson died Friday at age 68 after a battle with cancer. His stand-up career began on a whim after a friend challenged him to perform one night at downtown Minneapolis’ comedy club, Mickey Finn’s. This performance would launch a career that would take him to the Late Night stage, a plethora of guest spots across film and TV, and even propel him to showrunner status. Reminisce about Anderson’s work as an actor and comedian with a few clips that span his one-of-a-kind career that spanned more than four decades.
On November 20, 1984, Anderson made his first appearance on national television. His performance on the Johnny Carson show propelled him into his acting career. He became a regular on the Late Night circuit soon after.
Anderson got his first taste of acting in the ’80s with cameos, including Ferris Bueller’s day off and Coming to America.
In the 90s, Anderson launched a Saturday morning animated series titled Life with Louie. The show was largely based on his difficult but humorous childhood and family life as one of 11 siblings.
In 1999, Anderson became the new host of family quarrel. His spiritual returns made him an exceptional host until 2002, when he was replaced by Richard Karn. He was welcomed back to family quarrel stage as a contestant in 2017 with the same stage presence he had when hosting.
In 2016, the American comedy Baskets created by Louis CK, Zach Galifianakis and Jonathan Krisel is out. The show starred Anderson as Christine Baskets, mother of two sets of twins. The character was largely inspired by her kind and caring mother, who had been a source for her comedy for years. In 2016, he won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In his funny but heartwarming acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to his mother and “everyone who loved him when he couldn’t love himself”.
In 2017, Louie Anderson was one of many notable Minnesotans who Mpls.St.Paul Magazine interviewed for our series My North. From the start of his career, he boasted Minnesota pride and returned year after year to star in and mentor thriving comic books. In the interview, he says, “I can’t wait to go home because I’m them, I know how to play for them.”
Anderson regularly featured his sketches on Comedy Central. This clip showcases Anderson’s local humor and polished storytelling skills. Returning to its original source: the family. This routine, centered around her father’s parenting skills, is driving audiences crazy.