Even by FX standards, “Baskets” is an out-there comedy series. Louie Anderson’s win for supporting comedy actor caps a first season in which the show defied the odds against its survival. And that’s perfectly in keeping with the theme of the show.
“This show is all about not fitting in and then fitting in perfectly,” he said. Creator Jonathan Krisel “really wanted to help people see different kinds of families and embrace those families.”
Anderson plays the mother of an offbeat family including twin brothers, played by Zach Galifianakis, who work as clowns.
Anderson said backstage his win would help “get more eyeballs on the show.” He added “Numbers matter.” But in the same breath he noted that FX gave the modestly rated show an early vote of confidence. “After five episodes they decided to keep us for another year,” he said.
Anderson said he has made a deep commitment to the drag performance. “I’m just one of the gumballs in the machine,” he said of being part of the ensemble. He wants people to watch and say “Is that Louie Anderson?”
As for the impact of “Baskets” on his own career, which was at a low ebb before he was recruited for the part by Krisel, Anderson said he felt it offered him a second chance. He gave credit to his own mother for informing his decisions in his role as the earnest Christine Baskets.
“I’m playing my mom,” he said. “This is her award. Everything little thing your mother does at some time in your life you’ll find yourself doing. You might as well just embrace it. There’s nothing you can do.”
Anderson’s own troubled childhood has also been a source of inspiration throughout his career. Comedy was a life saver, he said.
“We live in a society of exclusion,” Anderson said. “I remember that when I was a kid we lined up in ‘the Projects line’ and the ‘rich kids’ line. I remembered that. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for being different.”