Emmy-award winner returns June 24 with Little Falls native Jason Schommer
By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Louie Anderson was in Little Falls in March 2011, performing his unique style of comedy to a standing-room only crowd. So many people missed the show, they begged for another chance to see him in Little Falls.
And so he agreed to perform one last time in Little Falls, Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the VFW in Little Falls.
“I promised Jason I would come back, but this is it,” said Anderson. “You know, the last time I was there I got a bunch of Facebook things saying, ‘Sorry I missed you, hope you come back.’”
Jason Schommer, who has opened for Anderson in Las Vegas for a year, is a Little Falls native, and is a comic in his own right.
“Jason and his family are such a nice group of people. I had a tremendous time there,” said Anderson. “Jason is going to be pretty successful as a stand-up comic in my opinion. It’s a nice one-two, with Jason performing too.”
Audience members will get a preview of some of Anderson’s new “Baby Boomer” material. “New material, and some old favorites,” said Anderson. “People are going to have a great time.”
Having grown up in a family of 11 children in the Roosevelt housing projects in St. Paul, Anderson’s humor centers on his family, being fat and being over 50, he said. “All the ‘F’ words,” he said.
Performers like Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Jonathan Winters and Bill Cosby, had a big influence on Anderson and his humor.
Anderson commented on the differences in his and Schommer’s comic routines. “Jason’s is more like what’s going on today — his adventures and he comes from a theater background. I come from poor white trash background,” said Anderson. “I’m Minnesota poor white trash. We always had hotdish — I hate casserole — that’s the thing my aunt had. We had an old pan. Remember those yellow bowls? They were red, yellow or green. When I see those bowls, it always brings fond memories of that big thing of goulash or Swedish meatball mix, or the hotdish with the can of mushroom soup, Spam, chipped beef. Vegetables were corn or peas on a good day. Or my mom would occasionally buy a head of iceberg lettuce and dowse it with French salad dressing.”
“Jason, his thing is a little hipper than mine,” said Anderson. “Mine is more traditional old-school stand-up.”
People in the Little Falls area should be “Really proud to have a person like Jason Schommer who represents them and who introduces me every night in Vegas.”
Schommer, who graduated from Little Falls Community High School in 1992, is excited to bring his mentor to his hometown as well. For many years, Schommer worked with the Little Falls theatre group. He went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in theatre arts from the University of Minnesota – Morris. He has produced, written, directed and acted in numerous hit productions at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He directed such memorable productions as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Grease,” “Evita” and “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” among many others. He was also seen on stage in such hit shows as “Godspell,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Annie,” “Peter Pan” and more.
Schommer opens for Anderson every night. “It’s a great gig. I’m very lucky.”
“We had a lot of fun last time, and sort of kicked around the time to come around one more time. Back in March, we did it at the high school and a lot of people didn’t get tickets.”
And Schommer has kept Anderson in the loop as to some happenings in the area. “I warned him about the debate on urban chickens. He probably won’t mention it. He’s nice that way,” said Schommer.
And while Schommer acknowledges the differences in their humor styles, he said “They’re similar, but we are different. People always talk about how they enjoy seeing us perform together. It’s kind of the same track. We both deal with family, but his is from a different perspective from growing up, like his parents. I deal with my nieces and nephew,” said Schommer.
Performing at the VFW is a positive for Anderson. “The VFW always makes me happy, because my dad was a veteran; he was a VFW guy.” His dad was born in 1901 and is a veteran of both World War I and World War II. “He ran away and joined the service and re-upped in the second world war. Tough guy. He talked about being a veteran and I have his flag from his coffin and am very, very proud.”
Schommer said most people don’t know that Anderson does a lot of work with veterans. “He’s very proud his dad was a vet. In Vegas, he’ll run specials where all military personnel and veterans get free tickets to the show. He really goes the distance to support veterans and military personnel.”
Schommer said, “People don’t really realize how altruistic and philanthropic Louie really is … he’s got a huge heart, there’s no doubt about that. He just doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Louie’s not that way at all, he gives from the true place.”
Schommer, whose biggest fans are his parents, George, and his late mother, Pat and his siblings, Melissa Leners and Jeremy Schommer, said both he and Anderson are looking forward to coming to Little Falls.
“I’m living a dream right now working with Louie,” said Schommer. “He’s fantastic to work with and I learn so much from him. There’s a moment in life when you get to realize a true dream. I’m very fortunate and thankful that I get that opportunity every night. I get to work with a comedy legend. He’s a young 59, and all day long all we do is laugh.”
So, the comedy legend is making good on his promise to Schommer to come back to Little Falls and everyone is invited.
“I love Minnesota,” said Anderson. “I had a wonderful time in Little Falls and I plan on having just as good a show as last time with new material. I think you guys are gonna see a terrific show and the intimacy of the VFW will allow stand-up the way it’s supposed to be seen.”
Tickets are available at the Little Falls VFW, 1210 Third Ave. N.E., Little Falls, and will be on sale until they are either gone or until the day of the show.
Tickets cost $35 for general admission, or $50 for the VIP meet and greet, where people can meet with Anderson and Schommer before the show. For more information, call the VFW at (320) 632-6598.
For more information about Anderson, visit www.louieanderson.com.