People's Party

Anthony Anderson Discusses His First Big Failure On Stage And How It Shaped His Career

“Tasty Tony, the one and only. If there is another, he’s a phony.”

— Anthony Anderson

If you spent any time in the ’00s as a kid, you grew up with Anthony Anderson. Barber Shop, Kangaroo Jack, All About the Andersons — he was everywhere, but he didn’t quite reach household name status until 2014’s Black-ish hit big. Now Andre is like America’s dad. But still, no matter how famous the man gets, Tasty Tony is a pretty rough stand-up comic name.

Anthony knows this. And, as he explains in the latest episode of People’s Party with Talib Kweli, while he was always funny he wasn’t always funny enough to stand on stage and tell jokes. In the clip above, Anderson recounts his early days of stand-up back when he was still *gulp* Tasty Tony. While its hard to picture an audience not laughing at Anthony Anderson, his first time on stage was a failure so spectacular that they cut his mic and the lights.

“I was on stage maybe 20 seconds and I left and I had never failed at anything in my craft like that before. So I went to the bathroom and I was shaking uncontrollably, and Guy Torry came into the bathroom… He was like, ‘hey man, how you doing? Don’t let that get to you man, keep getting back up… you know what not to do next time’ … I drove home in silence with the windows down, and tears streaming down my face because I was so humbled by that experience.”

Anthony eventually figured it all out (and it probably started with dropping ‘Tasty Tony’) but it’s encouraging to know that even the funniest amongst us had to start somewhere. Remember, you might fail on stage, but you’ll likely never bomb so bad that they turn off the lights and make you cry. Check out the clip to find out why Tasty Tony bombed so badly and how that moment led to the Anthony Anderson we know and love today.

People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Subscribe via Apple, Spotify, or YouTube.