“Could I make Louie Anderson disappear? If I could disappear, I could do something special,” admits comedian Louie Anderson as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his scene-stealing role on FX’s offbeat comedy “Baskets.” “I didn’t let anyone call me Louie, I never went on the set as Louie. I was Christine,” he explains. “Christine was on the door of my trailer, all scripts came to me as Christine, because I knew that I had to really embrace that character.”
Anderson earned his first Primetime Emmy nomination this year for playing Christine Baskets, the loving but overbearing mother of twins Chip and Dale (Zach Galifianakis). “I was thrilled, but I was really relieved,” he says about this recognition. “My biggest dread was for people to say ‘oh you should have got a nomination.’ I did not want to hear that. ‘You got robbed,’ I didn’t want to hear any of that.” He is delighted that the show has been recognized by the TV academy. “The best thing about this Emmy nomination, for me, is that people are going to watch “Baskets.”
Anderson, who is best known for his stand-up comedy, readily admits it was a big risk to take on this role and make her feel authentic, and not just played purely for laughs or simply as a man in drag. With critical raves and an Emmy bid under his belt, it appears that this gamble has paid off. “What really amazes me is that people come up to me on the street and say that they love Christine,” Anderson says. “One person said to me that her daughter calls her Christine now. And I said, well you must be doing something wrong,” he laughs.
Anderson chose the third episode of the show’s freshman season, “Easter in Bakersfield,” as his submission to Emmy voters. He felt that it perfectly encapsulated who this woman is. “Everything is in this,” he explains. “What you really get to see is the pathology and the family in one scene. You go out on an outing, you try to have your kids be on their best behavior, no matter what age, and at all of those gatherings, that is when all the trouble starts. Those kind of gatherings are just like kryptonite to Superman,” he says. “You got to see Christine as a mother, and as a daughter and as a person. She’s a girl, saying to her own son, what a mess, but we’re in it together.”
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