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Anthony Anderson Calls ‘Black-ish’ Costar Tracee Ellis Ross the Lucille Ball to His Desi Arnaz (Exclusive)

Comedy dynamite! Anthony Anderson praised his Black-ish costar Tracee Ellis Ross and gushed about their onscreen magic over the last seven years.

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“I have a great time with Tracee,” Anderson, 50, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his and his mom’s partnership with Northwestern Mutual. “[She’s the] modern-day Lucille Ball, and I’m her Desi Arnaz.”

Anderson has played Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson for six seasons — season 7 premieres later this month — alongside Ross, 48, who portrays his wife, Rainbow Johnson, on the ABC comedy.

Anthony Anderson Calls ‘Black-ish’ Costar Tracee Ellis Ross the Lucille Ball to His Desi Arnaz
Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Los Angeles native called his screen partner “immensely talented” and joked that she “thinks she’s better than what she really is … or funnier.”

The Kangaroo Jack actor also gave his TV daughter Yara Shahidi a shout-out, noting that he can “honestly say [she’s the] smartest person in the room whenever I enter the room where she’s at.”

All jokes aside, Anderson revealed that he gets to “go to work with a great group” of actors.

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“To be at work is just [a] joy,” he told Us. “I get to live my dream every day, do what I love to do, and to do it with people that I love doing it with.”

The Guys With Kids alum previously told Us about his “partner in crime” Ross in November 2020, saying “it’s been great” working alongside her for so long.

“The chemistry is undeniable, and it’s been that way since day one,” he said. “We’ve known each other for about 15 years now, maybe longer. And it’s always been great chemistry between us.”

Anthony Anderson Calls ‘Black-ish’ Costar Tracee Ellis Ross the Lucille Ball to His Desi Arnaz
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Kobal/Shutterstock

Anderson noted that the pair have worked together in the past, but never as “intimately” as they have on Black-ish.

“To see where we are and to see how the audience loves our chemistry and sees us as a real couple is just a beautiful thing to be a part of,” he added. “I believe that our show resonates with an audience the way that it does because of its authenticity.”

The Law & Order alum revealed that after seven years as a TV family he is “still enjoying it as much as [he] did the first day that we all came on to set.”

Anderson pointed out that even with new coronavirus pandemic guidelines, the vibe on set has not been altered.

“We have gotten used to it. It’s still a little foreign to us but we’ve become accustomed to that foreign feeling now,” he explained. “We are complying with the rules that have been set in place by our unions and industry. And we are still finding ways to have fun and finding ways to be humorous in the middle of this pandemic that we are all living in.”

The Ferdinand actor added: “But we are still having a great time at work. We haven’t let that dampen our spirits at all.”

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In addition to working on the ABC series, Anderson teamed up with his mom, Doris, earlier this year to teach people how easy financial planning can be with Northwestern Mutual. The To Tell the Truth host told Us in January that it’s “never too soon or too late to speak with a financial advisor to start a financial plan for your future.”

He noted that at 67, his mother is planning to buy her first home and financial planning is about “protecting those assets” and creating a plan that “outlives you and you don’t outlive that plan.” Anderson added: “That’s where we are right now. And that’s what we like to share.”

Black-ish season 7 premieres on ABC Tuesday, January 26 at 9 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi and Stephanie Webber

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