First Betty White, then Bob Saget. And now I wake up this morning to the news that Louie Anderson has died. Not a great start to 2022. Might as well try to laugh. So here are five of my favorite Louie Anderson moments.
I know others will have a different list, with things from projects like Baskets or Life with Louie, or from his many standup appearances. These just happen to be the five things that come to my mind first when I think of Louie. Boy, he was so funny and is really going to be so missed.
#5 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
He doesn’t even speak in this at all. But I can’t stop giggling when I watch him in this scene.
#4 Gas Station Food
Nobody was better at talking about food than Louie Anderson, probably because nobody loved food more than Louie Anderson.
#3 Coming to America — The Big Bucks
I loved watching Louie and his very small part in this movie, which I feel like I’ve seen at least 1000 times. And to this day, I cannot hear the words “big bucks” without thinking of Louie Anderson.
#2 First Tonight Show Appearance
This is one of the best debut appearances ever on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. From his very first line — “I can’t stay long, I’m in between meals so bear with me,” he had the audience wrapped around his finger.
#1 Touching the Tools
Louie Anderson did a standup special in 1988, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life. And this bit about his dad and tools is the one thing that sticks in my head most about it.
At the time when this came out and I first saw it, both my parents had died. I was young, alone, and scared. I always just assumed I’d have parents to help support me as I became an adult, but nope, didn’t work out that way.
Anyway, I was especially scared at the time because I had no idea how I would get by in life. After all, I felt like I had zero skills. Other than sports, I just never got that typical male gene that everyone else seemed to get where they were drawn to fixing things and hunting things and driving things and clamping things and drilling things. I don’t like tools or engines or man caves or any of that pseudo macho stuff.
For example, for the last year and a half, I’ve had a toilet that is leaking inside and keeps making this noise. I had a plumber fix it once, but a couple of months later it broke again. So anytime we want to use it, we have to turn on the water source, then turn it off again when we’re done so we don’t have to listen to the constant leaking noise. I would literally pay someone $1,000 right now if that person were to come and fix this thing, and sign an affidavit, subpoena, living will, or some kind of legal document swearing that it will not break again for at least 10 more years.
Yes, I could watch a YouTube video to try to learn to fix it myself. But the moment someone starts explaining to me how to fix something, my mind begins to wander and before I know it I go, “I’m thinking burritos for dinner.”
That’s how much I hate fixing things. But fixing things is a useful skill. You can get through life if you can fix things.
So back in 1988, I didn’t know how I was going to get through life because I had no interest or ability to fix anything or do anything that seemed… useful. And I definitely didn’t like hanging around men who were all about the cliché male things in life. But then I saw this standup special, and let’s just say that it made me feel better, and gave me some hope. Louie made me feel like I’m not alone. I could never relate to Tim Allen in a million years, but I could always relate to Louie Anderson.