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Louie Anderson on the Threat of "French Fries"; Encourages Us to "Get off the Couch"

Whether you got to know Louie Anderson from Life with Louie or Family Feud, chances are you watched with a smile on your face and two, possibly three, cheeks planted firmly on the couch. Now that lovely resting device is exactly what he is trying to get you off of. After a run on the celebrity diving show Splash, Louie was inspired to take control of his weight and make some healthy changes. He's spreading his new gospel of "Get off the Couch!"

Before a string of headlining dates at the Palm Beach Improv next weekend, the veteran standup comedian told us how he's adapting to his new, healthier lifestyle. After years of tipping the scale at 400 pounds, it looks like this more slender Louie is hungry for new projects and boring sandwiches. He broke the news to us about a possible Life with Louie movie and Dr. Oz appearance, but what really emerged on the other side of all his hard work is a slimmed down version of the longtime funnyman with a clear passion for helping others ready to achieve similar results.

New Times: Where in the world are you right now?

Louie Anderson: I'm in Vegas.

You live in Vegas, right?

Yeah, I live here.

How long have you lived there for?

Seven years.

I ask because I lived in Vegas for a little bit when I was growing up. There is a big difference between being a local and being a tourist. Do you have any insider tips that a visitor might not know about?

I think it's fun to go off the strip and check out the downtown area. Not just because I work down there, but because it has had so much revitalization. The Mob Museum is down there. There are a tremendous amount of wonderful restaurants and cool bars. They are putting up a zipline that you can go right down Fremont Street. It's definitely a must.

It's great to see you take on a new, healthier lifestyle. What is the hardest part of maintaining that when you are out on the road doing shows?

French fries.

I believe you!

It's hard to find healthy food after a show, so it's about being prepared. You have to have it all set up before. The more prep you make, the better off you will be.

Do you have a goal you are trying to reach?

Well, right now my goal is to get under 300 pounds. My first goal was to get under 400 pounds.

I see you are using the term "Get off the Couch!" What does that mean to you?

It's getting people moving again. Because I think people aren't moving very much. What happens is, you start not going anywhere and not doing anything, and it takes a toll on you, and then suddenly, you are sitting more than you are moving. So what I try to do is encourage people who are obese or morbidly obese to start moving again. Not to feel like they have to join a gym, just start moving. Baby steps. I'm just trying to motivate the people like Splash motivated me.

Right, Splash is what helped you make better decisions. Are you still getting in the pool for exercise?

Oh yeah!

How often?

I go three or four times a week. That water is so good for people who are overweight because you can do a lot of exercise and a lot of movement in there without being hard on your joints or your body. You can feel active in a pool where you might not be able to achieve that same amount of activity outside of a pool.

I read that you're going to be on The Dr. Oz Show soon. Is this what you're going to be talking about?

I think it's September 19. We talk about how to motivate people and what has worked for me. There are a couple of nice surprises on there that I didn't know about, and I think people will really enjoy the segment.

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Life With Louie.

I'm glad. I love that. That is one of my crowning achievements. I'm in love with the idea of what it meant to different people which is always amazing to me. It's so cool to find out that you really meant something to people.

In what I could find, that was the only animation you have been a part of. Are you into cartoons at all?

Oh yeah, I love cartoons.

What are some of your favorites?

South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill.

So do you have any ambition to get back into that medium, or were you one and done?

Well, we have been talking about doing a Life with Louie movie. We are trying to get the funding for it.

Oh, that sounds like a Kickstarter in the making!

Does it? Do you think I should try Kickstarter?

I think that you would definitely get the funding that way.

I'm going to take your advice and I am going to try Kickstarter with Life with Louie.

Awesome! This is breaking news.

I am going to call the co-creator and I am going to tell him "Let's do it!"

I think we just changed the world. Family Feud is a classic, before, during, and after you were the host. How often do people run up to you and say "Survey says!"?

Lots of times people say "Louie, you were the best host" or "I really miss your hosting" and they always want me to sign something or say "Survey says!" and I always do it. Because isn't it a wonderful thing if that makes someone happy? Why wouldn't you do it?

Do you ever still watch it?

If I come across it. I definitely watch Fast Money! It's so much fun. I think Steve Harvey is doing a good job on it and people like him. He's no Louie Anderson, but...

You headline a show in Vegas, so how often do you find yourself on the road?

You know I like to get out of here once a month. And I love that Improv down there in Palm Beach.

Yeah, how do you like it in Florida?

Oh, I love Florida! California and Florida are one-two punches in terms of places to live. If I would have found Florida first, Florida would probably be my number one choice. But I found California first. I think any place you can drive on the freeway and see the ocean or palm trees, you should think about never leaving.

What is your favorite kind of sandwich?

Ahh...I'm going to give it a few seconds of thought. It's a really important question.

I'm going to do it in three parts. Younger in my career, when I was a young person and could eat anything, it was a big B.L.T. In the middle part of my career, it was a turkey club. And now in my career it's turkey, no mayo, no bacon, no cheese, just some mustard on rye.

I love it. Louie, is there anything else you want to get the word out about?

Just that people can get in touch with me at Louie@LouieAnderson.com. If they have somebody they want me to help and reach out to that is suffering, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I just want to reach others. The more people I help, the more it helps me.

Louie Anderson, September 13 to 15, at the Palm Beach Improv, 550 S Rosemary Ave. Suite 250 / West Palm Beach. Tickets are $22.50 plus fees with a two-drink minimum. For more information, visit palmbeachimprov.com.

Follow Dana Krangel on Twitter @DowntownDana

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