Louie Anderson is on board to make a ‘Splash’
He’s a fish out of water compared to Katherine Webb, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and others.
It’s time for 10 celebs to make a real Splash.
ABC’s new reality show, Splash, kicks off Tuesday (8 ET/PT), with stars who will take the plunge — off a platform and springboard diving board. They’ve been mentored by Olympian Greg Louganis. They’ll be judged by U.S. gold medalist David Boudia and Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director Steve Foley. And as on Dancing, they’re vying for a coveted new Splash trophy.
While it’s easy to see how hotties such as Katherine Webb, Kendra Wilkinson, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Nicole Eggert would have no qualms about slipping into a swimsuit, and athletes including NFL star Ndamukong Suh, and NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar are no strangers to competitive sports, comedian Louie Anderson has found himself to be a fish particularly out of water.
“Of course, every fat person does not want to put on a bathing suit,” he tells USA TODAY, knowing that jokes are being cracked at his expense. “On Twitter, people say I can’t wait to see Louie in a Speedo.”
That’s partly why he agreed to be on the show. Anderson, who turns 60 this month, grew up in Minnesota. He taught himself how to swim when he was 55. This is the first time he’s tried to dive.
“I’m doing it for every fat person or every person who’s afraid to do it. I represent all the people on the couch. Seven weeks ago, I was on a couch watching TV. I want to inspire people who are on their couch and laying in bed to find their pool or theirSplash or their thing. I’ve never been more active in my life.”
He says he’s lost “7 to 10 pounds” since he got in the pool. He’s been working four to five days a week, three hours each day.
“I definitely have lost a bunch of inches,” he says, adding, “a really funny thing” happened recently. “I was coming up the jetway from the plane. I had my bags in my hands, and my pants my fell down! When you’re fat you don’t wear a belt, and when you fly you don’t wear a belt.”
He says, “A woman who was walking behind me hiked ‘em right back up. I kept walking. It was such a funny, weird thing!”
Anderson’s attitude toward the show? “This should be fun. Whoever would think they’d make a show where you dive and that they would pick me as one of the celebrities?”
It hasn’t all been poolside fun. The show was first named Stars in Danger, somewhat appropriate as Chelsea Handler’s assistant, Chuy Bravo, had been training along with Anderson, until he broke his heel earlier this week. But he can’t really blame the diving for his accident: He jumped on a table on the first day of taping near the pool and it broke, according to ABC. (He’s still on the show, but soccer star Brandi Chastain is taking his diving place.)
Anderson says, “I’ve hurt my neck a couple of times by not keeping my arms straight. My neck broke the fall more than my hands. So that really hurts. I have hit that water so hard that I just arrgggh.”
And there was the time he had to be pulled out by Louganis and Suh. He says he got twisted around in the water. “I thought I was going up, but was going down. I got water in my lungs. I started coughing.” He adds, “I was a little scared. I went home that day.”
Every time he gets up on the platform, “I look down at the water and go, ‘Are you out of your mind?” Then I steel myself and say, ‘Oh well, this is something that you get to say you can do.’ But mostly it’s just each time kind of overcoming the fear. Not just one time — every time for that split second.”
As for injuries, he says he’s not alone. “Every single athlete is always hurt. It doesn’t matter. Everybody on the show has slammed into the water and been hurt. Kareem hit wrong and Kendra hit wrong. Nicole. If you don’t do it right, it can split your head open.”
Although he’s “a little nervous,” Anderson says, “I am ready. I’m prepared. I have worked really hard. I couldn’t even get out in the pool on my own to begin with. I’ve grown.
It’s his chance to “touch the top of the ceiling,” he says. “You know in gym class, when you have to climb the rope? I never could climb the rope. This is my chance to not only climb the rope but put my initials up there.”