MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Well-known comedian and Minnesota native Louie Anderson is joining the effort to save a staple restaurant of south Minneapolis.
Pepitos owner Joe Minjares suffers from pulmonary fibrosis, leaving him unable to work and putting the Mexican restaurant he opened nearly 50 years ago in danger of closing.
He had a lung transplant Wednesday and is recovering at a local hospital. In the meantime, some of his famous friends and fellow comics are coming to his aid.
"We have a couple of objectives: One is getting Joe well and number two is saving the parkway and the restaurant you know," said Anderson.
Long before Louie Anderson was a well-known comedian and actor.
He was a customer at Pepitos in south Minneapolis, where he became a fan of the famous chips and queso.
"I don't want to say a bad word, but it was like liquid crack,” said Anderson. “Sometimes I'd eat so much of it that I'd say give those tamales to another table."
He also became a fan of Minjares and is now using his talents to help him.
"When you hear about a good friend or relative being sick, especially in the comedy community - we're all so tight - it was devastating," said Anderson.
After hearing about Minjares' illness, Anderson who is currently shooting season three of the TV show "Baskets" in Los Angeles, agreed to headline a benefit to raise money to cover Joe's medical costs.
The show at the Parkway Theater on Saturday, November 25 at 7 p.m. will also feature another Minnesota comedian, Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgeson.
"I think Joel said Joe gave him free food when he was starting out so now he said it’s the least he can do,” said Anderson. “I feel the same way. It’s the least I can do to help Joe which is really important."
They say laughter is the best medicine and Anderson says if it can help his friend, he's all in.
"It’s a very good cause and I hope people even if they can't make it go to the GoFundMe,” he said. “Help save the restaurant, but mostly help save Joe."