Zach Galifianakis On ‘Baskets’: “It’s Not For Everyone”
“Well, firstly I usually say, you know, ‘I’m in it. Don’t watch it,'” Galifianakis joked. “It is an acquired taste. And that was the point.”
The FX show stars comedian Galifianakis as a French clown school dropout, who has moved back home to California. There, he finds work as a rodeo clown, but must compete with his twin brother for his mother’s affection. The mother character is played by Louie Anderson, an Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian.
The black comedy series premiered its first season on January 21, 2016 on FX. The series is currently on its second season, which aired on January 19, 2017. Galifianakis co-produced the series with Louis C.K., who created the hit series Louie, which also features dark comedy and surreal humor.
Galifianakis describes Baskets as a concoction of the strange and dramatic, but punctuated by jokes. “It’s just a weird mix,” the comedian said.
One of the more eccentric aspects of the show is the casting of Anderson as the protagonist’s mother. Galifianakis expands on the reasoning that went behind that choice.
“The voice is what I was trying to cast, not the physicality of it … I kept explaining to Louis C.K., ‘It’s a voice. It’s a voice.’ And then [Louis C.K.] said, ‘You mean like Louie Anderson’s voice?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ And two seconds later he said, ‘Should we call him?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ And that was just it.”
The pair called Anderson on the spot, and the comedian immediately accepted the role as Chip Basket’s mother.
“Comics in general are risk takers … We come with a thick, thick skin… It was just a gut feeling that we had [and] we got lucky with. And [Anderson’s] won a trophy for it.”
Indeed, Anderson won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Baskets in 2016.
Galifianakis also compared this role with his character in the Hangover movies. Though both were comedic roles, the one in Baskets was substantially darker and carried more depth.
“That Alan guy was a big, big, loud, dumb character. Dumb I can do,” Galifianakis said of his role in The Hangover. “Not to sound too pretentious or actor-y … but you want to kind of challenge yourself.”
“I think comedians have a lot inside of them, a lot of angst and a lot of sadness, and that can be really good for drama,” he continued. “I think if you’re a comic people expect you to be a fun-loving guy all the time. … It’s awkward when funny people get emotional.”
Baskets is an eclectic mix of the absurd and emotional, and like the actor described, may not be for everyone. But for those who do appreciate dark comedies that are the hallmark of Louis C.K.’s style, Basket is a gem not to be missed.
Check out the trailer for season two below.