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Louie Anderson, comedian

Longtime Vegas performer Louie Anderson recently brought his act to the Plaza from Palace Station, another transition in a career filled with them, including that make-or-break moment for comics of a certain era – the first appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

“(It was) the show you sat next to your parents and watched. The person who came into your living room every night,” says Anderson.

Finally standing behind that curtain he’d seen on his television so many times as a kid was a huge deal to the comic.

“The spotlight hit it, and I was behind it and I go ‘Ooooh, there’s the spotlight,’” says Anderson. “And you could hear Johnny hitting his pencil on the desk. And the band is really loud.”

Other than that the comic doesn’t remember much. “You kind of leave your body.”

Anderson says he killed it during his first appearance – he still uses a clip from that particular Tonight Show appearance in his live stage act.

“I mean, you now, it’s like your first major league home run, I would imagine,” says Anderson. “At that time, that was the show, that was the American Idol, America’s Got Talent, all wrapped into one. That was it. If you did well, that was it.”

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