Not my brand of comedy. When it comes to stand-up comedy I am no expert, but I have seen enough comedy specials to understand the mechanics of how they work. That being said, to be successful in comedy it takes comedic timing, the right level of energy, and relatable material. Louie Anderson latest comedy special, Big Baby Boomer is lacking in each of these departments.
I have a vague memory of Louie Anderson from my early childhood. I remember watching the animated series, Life with Louie, Anderson’s two time Emmy award-winning show on the FOX network that was based on his childhood in Wisconsin. Though I wasn’t exactly a fan of the series growing up, I can now acknowledge its place among similar shows of that generation. However, comedy has changed, and it would appear that Louie Anderson’s acclaim as one of Comedy Central’s “100 greatest comedians of all time” is long gone. The evidence for that statement is all over his newest stand-up special.
In many stand-ups, the beginning is dedicated to testimonials from fans in the crowd waiting to buy their tickets outside the theater (not a requirement, but it usually helps to build up viewer for watching). Big Baby Boomer does not offer that, opting to just jump right into the action. It starts with a twelve-second montage of Photoshopped pictures depicting Louie Anderson in famous backgrounds ranging from the Brady Bunch to him holding the flag that was planted on the moon. Every picture from the montage is framed and constructed in the background, so if you happen to miss anything, you’ll have plenty of time to see it during his act. From there, Anderson comes to the stage and immediately goes into his set. His topics are across the board: food being his version of crack, him trying to eat healthy, a heart episode, and his turning fifty, all of which failed to garner one laugh out of me (I manage to crack a smirk a few times, but it took considerable effort on my part).
The entire special is only 44 minutes long, and Anderson did not use his time wisely. He transitions to the next topic before you even have time to register what the current topic is. Blink and he’s on a new topic; clearly he felt he had a lot to cover and was rushing to get through it all. That’s not how comedy is supposed to work. Again, I am not an expert, but if the objective is to get the audience interested in your subject matter, it stands to reason that such a feat cannot be accomplished with just two jokes.
I did my best to give Louie Anderson the kind of latitude I felt someone like him deserves, but the truth is, he disappointed me. Comedy is meant to make you laugh, and I am still waiting for the laughter long after the credits rolled.