BY VIRGINIA STILL
With an extensive resume in television, sitcoms, movies and standup both Louie Anderson and Kevin Nealon know a thing or two about making people laugh. They will be bringing their comedic genius to the stage at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Aug. 12.
Anderson plays Christine Baskets on the FX series “Baskets” alongside Zach Galifianakis in a comedy about a professional clown that becomes a rodeo clown in Bakersfield, California.
“‘Baskets’ is so much fun, I am having the time of my life on that show,” said Anderson. “Zach (Galifinakis) is a wonderful human being and is great to work with.
I had five sisters growing up and I channel my mom and them when I play the part of Christine. I was just playing my mom and using all of the things she used to do to make the character. It is a lot of fun.”
Starting his comedy career with a dare in 1978, Anderson never intended to pursue comedy but here he is 39 years later with the epitome of experience. He was the voice for several characters including the cartoon he co-created called “Life With Louie,” where he relived and shared his memories of growing up in a large family.
“Making it on Johnny Carson was when I felt I had arrived in the business,” said Anderson. “The next night, after making it on the show I was booked in Vegas, then the next week I opened for The Commodores. From then on, I was blessed enough to have a successful career.”
With standup being his first love, Anderson feels very blessed to have been in the golden age of comedy with the likes of Jack Benny, Jonathan Winters, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson and Rodney Dangerfield. He was named one of the top 100 comedians of all time by Comedy Central and is currently nominated for another Emmy Award.
Anderson expressed that Nealon is one of the funniest and nicest people that he has ever met.
Nealon is currently starring on a traditional sitcom with Matt LeBlanc called “Man with a Plan” on CBS. He plays Don Burns who is Adam Burns’ (LeBlanc) brother and they own a construction company together.
“It is really fun and we go back to work in a couple of weeks,” stated Nealon. “I thought I knew everything about sitcoms, acting and everything like that, but he (LeBlanc) is the master. I am just learning so much from him.”
With dreams to become a musician or a singer/songwriter, Nealon was just too intimidated to sing in front of people so jokes made it a lot easier for him. He loved the reaction he would get from people when they would laugh so he memorized the jokes in the back of the Parade Magazine that was in the Sunday newspaper and share them with his personalized touch. Hitting the comedy scene, Nealon moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles to pursue standup comedy.
There were three big influences in Nealon’s comedy — Steve Martin, Albert Brooks and Andy Kaufman, due to their unique and different styles.
Spending nine seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” Nealon was able to work with several cast members like Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks and Adam Sandler to name a few.
“I enjoyed working with everybody,” stated Nealon. “It is like a family. I just love that whole notion of being on a live TV show where you can do topical material and live in New York and work with these incredible hosts and musicians that I grew up idolizing.”
Nealon said one of his favorite characters was the Hans and Franz skit with Dana Carvey. They wrote those characters and would be in a room with non-stop laughter.
He did some rogue sketches, like the bathroom attendant with Harvey Keitel and Gannon P.I. P.I. a politically incorrect private investigator.
Although he loves standup, which is his passion, there are several movies that Nealon has been in along with a stint on Showtime series “Weeds.” He has a new web series called “Hiking with Kevin” where he interviews different celebrities each week as they go on a hike together. This web series can be found on his Twitter Kevin Nealon.
“I am lucky because I get to do all these other things,” added Nealon. “I get to act and write and be in movies and TV shows. I never get bored. I am always doing different things.”
Nealon has never been to Modesto or toured with Anderson so he is very excited for the upcoming performance. He will be sharing his life and viewpoints with the audience in the Central valley through a very conversational, and at times, absurd and exaggerative humor.
“He is such an incredible comic,” said Nealon. “His jokes are so well crafted. His structures are phenomenal his whole act and his reactions on his face and his timing is impeccable.”
“Our comedy is a little different but we have the same goal and that is to make people laugh and smile,” said Anderson. “I stick to the three F’s when I perform, food, family and friendly. Hungry when you walk in to the show and full when you leave.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.galloarts.org.