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Louie Anderson performs in Hudson Friday

It has been 34 years since Louie Anderson took the stage as a comedian on a dare and he hasn't looked back.

Anderson will perform two shows aboard the Afton Hudson Cruise Line Laff Boat which will leave from Hudson on Friday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Anderson has built a reputation on his regional humor that earns him laughs nationwide. "When I first got started around here, of course, everybody knew what I was talking about. But when I started to appear on national television and elsewhere around the country, they still got it. Some things, like the importance of "good gloves," need to be explained but most of it people get."

Anderson, who now makes Las Vegas his home base, says he still loves the Midwest and uses it for material but he hates the cold. "But I'm not alone. There are lots of people who eventually leave the cold behind but that doesn't mean they still don't have jumper cables, a shovel and a scraper in their trunk."

Anderson says the world has become a meaner place over that past three decades but he doesn't experience much of it at his shows. Known for his "clean routines," he occasionally will get some heckling from an audience member but he doesn't usually react.

"It is my fans who stick up for me. 'Hey, you shut up, you leave him alone. How'd you like it if someone said that to you?' They pretty much take care of that."

Anderson said another sign of the times is audience members, usually between 10 and 20, who are checking their phones or texting during a performance. He doesn't call any attention to it unless it disrupts his performance. "It's just such an appendage for people. These days if you get 75 percent of the audience to pay attention you're doing good. It used to be 100 percent."

Anderson says his comedy comes directly from his life. "It has always come from the same place. These days I'm getting older and fatter. I realize my shirt size that started at XXL is starting to resemble the Super Bowl numbers. I know I should exercise but I can find 1,000 reasons not to do it. I diet but I realize those muffins that are supposed to be good for you are just a donut with the whole filled in. I'd like to do better but.... I think that's what people relate to."

He has a time-worn test for his material. "If they laugh, like from the bottom of their stomach, then it's good."

Anderson said he marked 34 years on the stage Oct. 12 and says performing never gets old. "I tell myself every day how lucky and blessed I am to do this. I get to make people feel good and laugh. It's a responsibility I take very seriously. People take their time, spend their money, get a sitter, all to see me. I owe them the best experience I can deliver."

Tickets for Anderson's shows are available online at The Laff Boat/Grand Duchess will leave from the Hudson municipal dock.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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