Our newest columnist, Vito Calise, is taking on the huge task of reviewing all the comedy specials he can see. You know him from SiriusXM’s Bennington Show, The Interrobang’s Big Brothers podcast, and as the star of the first ever Instagram young adult drama series, The Halls. Born and raised on New York City’s Upper West Side, Vito went to Chelsea’s School of Visual Arts, has danced on bars as a bartender around Manhattan, operated a mechanical bull and was even a doorman for a week. And he loves comedy. And he’s taking on Louie Anderson’s Big Underwear. Comedy Dynamics’ newest hour special is available now on Amazon, Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T, DISH, iTunes, Charter, Google Play and many other platforms. The album will be released on April 6, 3018 on all digital and physical audio retailers.
The beginning of Louie Anderson’s Big Underwear may take you off guard. Anderson is lifted to the stage from the below and comes out with a flashy light show and fast-paced rock music. It seems strange and unfitting at first but after watching the special it oddly fits. Anderson’s delivery comes off so nice and calm that on the surface the show may not seem fast-paced but if you pay close attention you quickly realize how many jokes per minute he uses to start the show. He’s standing, arms crossed and at moments delivering jokes as if he was just having a conversation with you at a party but is actually building, grabbing the attention of the entire room. Even when setting up a joke he’s fitting in quick facial expressions and quips to get a laugh while building up the larger joke.
Unfortunately, the title joke of the show drags on too long and does not have a big payoff. It really doesn’t even feel like there is a punch line, but at some point, you realize he isn’t talking about his underwear anymore and has moved on, talking about his childhood and mother. This is the best part of the special and it’s something everyone has come to love him for. Whether it be his impression of his mom he’s used on Baskets or his beloved cartoon Life with Louie, Anderson knows when to hit the audience with his family material and it’s as great as ever.
The family material segues perfectly into material about the time he spent hosting Family Feud and Louie’ attitude and delivery makes this type of material much more likable than it could be coming from others. When someone like Ricky Gervais spends half their special talking about hosting the Golden Globes or stories from being on Fallon it can come off braggadocios and alienate but with Louie, it feels so welcoming. He also doesn’t stay on the topic too long or try to seem like he’s using it as a way to get you to give him respect, it genuinely adds to a bit he’s already establishing.
Louie Anderson is very aware of the act that works for him. He’s not trying anything new here and he’s not doing anything groundbreaking but he’s doing material that works perfectly for him. This isn’t a bad thing or an insult, this is a world where so many comedians want to be edgy and tow that line but it’s refreshing once in a while to watch someone who has been doing this long as Louie work his act. The way dirty comedy isn’t for everyone, neither is clean comedy. Clean comedy often gets mistaken as being for everyone since it’s family friendly. If you don’t laugh at Anderson talking about cats and fat people in the beginning and comparing himself to an elliptical you’re not going to like the rest. Well, you may enjoy the stuff about his mom and dad because that’s his bread and butter, but give Louie Anderson’s Big Underwear a chance. It is much better than a lot of other specials you could be streaming right now.