Hot off his nomination of an Emmy for his role in Black-ish on ABC, we caught up with actor Anthony Anderson who will be hosting a Just for Laughs Gala July 28, in Montreal with a lineup of top comedians. In a delightful phone interview, we discussed his life and successes.
Citynet Magazine: A lot of your roles have been comedic. How did you know comedy was going to be a big part of your route to success?
Anthony Anderson: “When I realized that I could make people laugh – laugh with me as well as also laugh at me. You know growing up, my mother was hysterical, my dad was funny. Growing up with my buddies in Compton, if you talked to them right now, they would say I was the least funny of all of them but I was always good for the one-liner that would make you laugh for the next 10 minutes.”
Comedy Runs in the Family for Anthony Anderson
Anderson gives heavy credit his mom for his comedic roots, with whom he also hosts a show with called To tell the Truth, also on ABC.
“My mother is my co-host on the show and people get to see our interaction and where I get it from.”
Finding a Balance in a Competitive Landscape
With a career as prolific and consistent as Anderson’s spanning over 20 years in film and television, we were interested to know what the secret was to staying relevant and persistent while maintaining a balance between work and a personal life.
“You know, in the beginning, you always go full throttle because you never know when it’s going to cool down or cool off so you have to drive forward trying to create the next opportunity and make it happen. Fortunately for me, it’s going on 23 years now that I’ve been working in the business consistently as an actor and this has been my only job that I’ve had as an adult.
I’ve found the balance of ‘Okay, well if the opportunity isn’t there, you create the opportunity.’ You don’t go chasing for it and looking for it. You create it for yourself and for those around you and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last few years. My Netflix film Beats, or Hustle and Flow, or my television show Blackish….It’s about finding that balance and working for the love of it and not because you have to and not chasing the next gig or the next cheque because you’ll burn yourself out like that.”
Anderson is looking to pay it forward
Anderson admits that despite the major successes he’s earned in the industry, he still feels there’s more to explore.
“I’ve had some huge successes in my career and in my life but still looking for that moment where I can say ‘yes, I’ve made it!’. I don’t think I’m quite there yet and I don’t want to get quite there yet because once you get there, I think you might become complacent and rest on your laurels.”
Is there anything you’re striving to accomplish next?
“I’m directing now, I’ve directed an episode of Black-ish and I’ll be directing more this coming season so, I’d like to do more of that. I’d like to produce and direct documentaries. I’d like to continue to give other opportunities to other artists who are out there who have ideas. My definition of ‘making it’ is not only for myself but it’s also being able to create opportunities for others.”
Catch Anderson at Just For Laughs
Montreal gets ready to welcome the actor this week as he visits city for the first time since the early 2000’s. He has fond memories of good food and friendly people and is excited that scheduling has finally permitted him come host a Just for Laughs gala. Filming of the 6th season of the hit show Black-ish starts just as Just For Laughs wraps up.