Louie Anderson has been flexing his comedic chops for more than 30 years, racking up old-school Tonight Show appearances, numerous stand-up specials, TV and movie gigs, an Emmy-winning animated series, and a stint as the host of Family Feud. His 1989 special Mom! Louie’s Looking At Me Again! remains a sweet and endearing look at growing up in the Midwest, and his recent turn as Zach Galifianakis’ mother on the FX series Baskets is nothing short of brilliant.
Anderson is also a bestselling author; his 1989 book, Dear Dad: Letters From An Adult Child, is a harrowing reckoning with his deceased, alcoholic father, told in emotional and sometimes angry personal letters. Now, in the latest episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Anderson reveals what inspired him to write the book in the first place: a bad experience at Summerfest. It seems Anderson was playing the “outdoor thing” back in 1986 (with INXS “in the stall” next to him), when he was confronted with the sheer drunken-ness of the festival. Describing the Big Gig as “the worst,” Anderson recalls getting heckled by the crowd (“Hey fatty! AHHHHH! You’re alright, though!”) and being shuttled back to his hotel, where “drunks were avoiding hitting drunks.”
For his part, Maron claims he’s never heard of Summerfest. The discussion begins around the 35:30 mark here. (Anderson’s Summerfest appearance is mentioned on our own podcast, with former Summerfest comedy stage manager David “Punky” Wastak, which can be streamed here.)