New Jersey Stage 2017: Issue 6 - Page 55

guys who I didn’t think were re- ally very funny,” he recounted in an almost apologetic tone. “So when we left, my friends said to me, ‘If you think you’re fun- nier, you should give it a try’ and I thought; why not? So I went back to the same club the next week and I did well and thought to myself, hey, I can do this and I haven’t stopped since.” Three Emmy awards, countless movie and television appear- ances as well as being named by Comedy Central as, “One of 100 Greatest Stand-up Comedians of All Time,” has all come his way over the last 30 years. However, like most, it was timing and a nice break that led to his career opening up. After deciding to pursue comedy, he entered the 1981 Midwest Comedy Com- petition, hosted by comedic legend Henny Youngman. An- derson took home the first place trophy. Youngman found his NJ STAGE 2017 - Vol. 4 No. 6 work and style to his liking and employed him as a writer. Youngman is one of several key comedic influences who shaped Anderson’s career; others in- clude Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and the great Johnny Carson. Anderson made his national television debut on Carson’s To- night Show in 1984. “Johnny, Bob Hope, they had such great writers,” he stated. “I learned so much from these guys. And Johnny, well he was a friend to all young comedians; I’d have to say he was my favor- ite. Johnny was a mid-western guy like me and we have simi- larities. Jack Benny had the tim- ing. I mean the way he’d just roll the eyes or give that look was perfect. Bob Hope, I modeled my delivery somewhat after him. Hope had this way of deliv- ering his material that was, well, there’s not been anyone like him since.” INDEX NEXT ARTICLE 55