Video: Why Louie Anderson doesn’t want to get too highfalutin with all the love for ‘Baskets’

Louie Anderson talks about playing Christine Baskets on FX’s “Baskets.”


Louie Anderson’s aching, vulnerable and, yes, at times funny turn as Zach Galifianakis’ mom on the first-year FX series “Baskets” has been one of the most welcome surprises of this television year.

The show’s creators — Louis C.K., Jonathan Krisel and Galifianakis — came to Anderson, remembering the way the comic had included his mother’s voice in his act for the past 30 years. Anderson, 63, tells The Times in a video interview that he wasn’t surprised by the offer of playing a woman, accepting the job on the spot.

“It’s really funny. I could see it completely the moment they mentioned it, and I don’t even know why,” Anderson says.


PODCAST: Listen to our full interview with Louie Anderson

The goal, Anderson tells us, was not to make the character, Christine, campy or cartoon-like. He wanted to pay tribute to his own loving, funny mother and the process, he says, began in wardrobe.

“When you put the clothes on and then you put the wig on and you look into the mirror and you see the transformation ... and then when someone puts lipstick on you, I don’t care who you are, you go like this ...” And here Anderson purses his lips and makes like he’s gazing into the mirror. “I look pretty good.”

“And that’s how the character took over me,” he continues, adding that when extras would come in for makeup and sit next to him, he’d introduce himself as Christine.

“I didn’t want people to get any other idea except that I was Zach’s mom,” Anderson says.

Anderson spoke about bringing his own experiences into the show, talking about the ways some of his parents’ words (“highfalutin”) and actions made their way into episodes.

He also reveals that he has been in the writers’ room while they plot “Baskets’ ” second season, saying we should expect much in the way of character growth and craziness.

“Christine is not content in just taking it easy,” Anderson says.

Nor would we want her to.

To hear more about what Anderson had to say about his work on “Baskets,” watch the full interview here.