Anderson’s first stint with stand-up comedy was a major disaster. His role of ‘Tasty Tony, the One and Only, and if there's another, he's a phony’ for The Comedy Act Theater was a complete mess. However, taking Guy Torry’s words of consolation and encouragement, he did not budge.
He appeared in television movie, ‘Alien Avengers’ in 1996. It was his role-play in ‘Avengers’ that earned him a guest appearance in the NBC Saturday morning teen sitcom, ‘Hang Time’. Soon he was made a regular. Anderson capped the role of Teddy Brotis, a high school basketball enthusiast.
In addition to appearing in ‘Hang Time’, he took to acting in several other television shows, including ‘In The House’ and ‘NYPD Blue’.
Anthony Anderson’s career’s big break came in 1999 with the film, ‘Life’. Set in the 1930s, the film was prison comedy and had established stars such as Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. Same year, he starred in two more flicks, ‘Liberty Heights’ and ‘Trippin’.
Year 2000 was a year of advancement for Anderson in terms of career. He portrayed the role of Nolan in the comedy film, ‘Big Momma’s House’. The film was well appreciated and so was his character. Same year, he appeared in other films such as, ‘Romeo Must Die’, Urban Legends: Final Cut’ and ‘Me, Myself and Irene’; the role in latter earning him rave reviews.
After doing a couple of comedies, Anderson turned his attention to drama, appearing as Junior Slocumb in the film, ‘Kingdom Come’ in 2001. He also did an action-thriller ‘Exit Wounds’ that year. Interestingly, though Anderson wasn’t the main lead, he stole the show with his talent and timing.
Year 2003 marked the breakthrough in his career. First, he starred in the commercially successful film, ‘Kangaroo Jack’ which earned him rave reviews. He followed this up with a self-produced-written and starred television sitcom, ‘All About Anderson’ on the Warner Brothers Network. The sitcom debuted in the fall of 2003.
‘All About Anderson’ was partially inspired from Anderson’s own life. It had Anderson play the lead character of an aspiring actor who along with his young son moves back home to live with his parents while being jobless. The show was outrageously hilarious. Though the sitcom was panned by certain critics, overall it was commercially successful.
Anderson juggled between television and films, enjoying the best of both of worlds. Though his flagship show ended in 2004, he was seen in several television series including ‘Veronica Mars’, ‘The Bernie Mac Show’, ‘K-Ville’ and ‘Chappelle’s Show’.
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In 2008, he appeared in one of television’s most successful crime dramas, ‘Law & Order’. He portrayed the character of Detective Kevin Bernard. The show ended in 2010. Following this, he made guest appearances on numerous television shows such as ‘Soul Man’, ‘Raising Hope’ and ‘Rake’.
In 2009, he made his directorial debut with a one-minute short film, featuring Jeremy Sisto. The short was first aired during the ‘Law & Order’ episode ‘Reality Bites’. Following year, he was cast for a minor role in ‘Scream 4’.
In 2013, he starred in the boxing flick, ‘Grudge Match’ as Mr Sandpaper Hands. He followed this up with the 2014 film, ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ as “Lone Wolf” Morales. Same year, he acted as the host of the food festival, ‘Eating America’ series.
Currently, he is seen in the sitcom, ‘Black-ish’ which is about a middle class African-American family as Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson, Sr.
Anderson is best known for the 2003 sitcom, ‘All About the Andersons’. Self-written, produced and starred, the show was a major hit during its one-year of runtime. It gave a glimpse of Anderson’s early life, when he had moved back home after graduation but was jobless. His role-play of Detective Kevin Bernard in ‘Law & Order’ was also memorable.
He has played to perfection the second fiddle in blockbuster films like, ‘Life’, ‘Barbershop’, ‘Big Momma’s House’, ‘The Transformers’, ‘The Departed’ and so on.
Had it not been for the consolation and encouragement by comedian Guy Torry after Anderson’s first attempt at comedy, he would not have hit the stage and become famous.
For the sitcom, ‘All About the Andersons’, he was inspired by the nature and behaviour of his own family, who had gone so much so crazy with his no-work life that they padlocked the refrigerator and substituted the home appliances with pay phones, coin-operated washer and dryer and so on