Louie Anderson Interview: ‘Baskets’

“As a stand-up comic I feel like I don’t need anyone because it’s a solo performance,” confesses “Baskets” star Louie Anderson. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he continues, “You think you’re the greatest and funniest. You really think you’re a big shot sometimes. At least I do, earlier in my life especially. ‘Baskets’ was a great opportunity to go into a situation and not have the show depend on me. It made me better. I wasn’t the star. It was great for the whole experience.”

The fourth season of “Baskets” marked the last for the FX comedy. The series stars Zach Galifianakis, who plays a set of twin brothers trying to navigate life in Bakersfield, California. Anderson says, “I learned so much acting wise. Zach is a great actor to watch. He’s also such a kind person and the most reluctant superstar I’ve ever worked with. This actual show was about a bunch of misfits in Bakersfield. And we are all misfits in Hollywood. We all found better lives throughout the series.”

Anderson plays Christine Baskets, the mother to Galifianakis’ characters. It’s a role that won Anderson an Emmy for the first season of the show. The actor reveals, “The show led me to find out so much about my mom and what she went through. One day I came home and was very emotional. I had done a scene with Alex Morris. I wondered if my mom was ever this happy. That opened a floodgate and I wrote my mom all these letters telling her I was playing her on TV. It was a really cathartic experience. I took a lot of joy away from it.”

In bringing his mom to life on screen, Anderson reflects on “her nuance and tiny little gestures. But also her humanity. I stuck that in there as much as possible. She loved people. Even though they disappointed her and hurt her feelings, she always lived the idea of a person. She saw human beings for what they could be more than what they were often. I think that’s why people will send me an email saying ‘I wish Christine was my mum.’ I was able to bring that motherhood she so brilliantly portrayed, raising 11 children with an alcoholic father.”

In the penultimate episode of the series, ‘Mrs. Baskets Goes to Sacramento,’ the family goes to the state capitol to protest a high speed rail construction. When Christine finally takes the stand, however, she changes her mind. Anderson explains, “It was very hard because there were a lot of moving parts in that scene. I had to switch from being against something to be suddenly for it. It was beautiful stuff. I always thought my mom could have been a really great politician. I tried to embody her. The character became my mother when she said she wasn’t against it. Afterwards, and even now, it was an emotional scene.”

The episode also had big  comedy moments which Anderson remembers: “When we fall down the state capitol steps. For me it was so funny. Every time Zach would go to pull me up, he would fall down, on top of me, on purpose. It would just make me laugh so much. It was funny with the outfits we wore and how crazy we were about the whole fiasco.”

The last scene of the series Anderson says, “Was super emotional because we were going to drive out of there and that was it. I think everyone was content with that.”

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UPLOADED Jun 3, 2020 11:40 am