Louie Anderson: Playing a woman is a tribute to my mom

Comic Louie Anderson waited for the role of a lifetime. He found it playing his own mom.

Louie Anderson: Playing a woman is a tribute to my mom
Louie Anderson: Playing a woman is a tribute to my mom

There’s one thing comedian Louie Anderson always sets straight from the get-go: he knows he’s overweight, he knows you’re probably going to laugh about it, and so, he cracks the jokes before you do.

We followed him into that make-up trailer, and for the next two hours, watched Louie Anderson transform from the self-deprecating gap-toothed comic most of know, to a not-so-bad-looking middle-aged woman that, he says, he recognized right away.

Ora passed away nearly three decades ago, and yet for the last three seasons, Louie Anderson says he’s been channeling her.

He’s pretty convincing as a mollycoddling mom – even in person, when you know it’s him, and he/she straightens out Cowan’s jacket collar for him.

“I want you to forget that Louie Anderson is playing Christine Baskets,” Louie said.

“You know, it’s hard to have your own show and not be the most popular one, but I’m fine with it!” Galifianakis laughed.

“Yeah, I mean, you know the great thing about my mom was she protected us. She took all the brunt, and this is such a great repay, and tribute. I get to pay her back.”


For Louie Anderson, a return to stand up, the role he loves best

For Louie Anderson, a return to stand up, the role he loves best

Comedian Louie Anderson has always drawn inspiration from his family, so when cast as the mother of Zach Galifianakis in the FX series “Baskets,” he based the character on his mother and five sisters.

There’s a key difference between Mama Anderson and Mama Baskets.

“My mother was never mean,” Anderson said in an interview with NJ Advance Media.

Erson, who recently won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of Christine Baskets, said the show has given him – and his career – new energy.

“Life with Louie” earned Anderson two Emmys and was a hit during its 1995-98 run.

“She’s much more aware of who she is than people think. She’s like a lot of people, a women trying to survive, to be good mothers, good people, a suburban/small town girl trying to make her family whole again and make a life for herself,” he said.

“I try to make Louie Anderson disappear,” he said.

Comic Louie Anderson waited for the role of a lifetime. He found it playing his own mom.

Comic Louie Anderson waited for the role of a lifetime. He found it playing his own mom.

On FX’s Baskets, which recently completed its third season, comedian Louie Anderson plays Christine Baskets, owner of a “Family rodeo” and mother of twins Chip and Dale, a part for which Anderson won an Emmy for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016.

In the latest episode of my podcast, I Think You’re Interesting, Anderson describes the experience of playing Christine not as trying to put on a character but, instead, as channeling his own mother, Ora, a South Dakota native who spent most of her life in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota.

I think we have tics as humans, so I stole all my mom’s nuance and tics and put them on me to disguise Louie Anderson, to get him out of there.

That’s what happens when you see really good parts, I think you’re opening yourself up to the idea that you are.

I don’t ever think of myself as a man when I’m playing the part.

I’d do the narration, I’d do Little Louie, and then I did the dad. If I did the dad first, I had nothing left for the other characters, because I always thought my dad was there when I was doing it.

To hear more interviews with fascinating people from the world of arts and culture – from powerful showrunners to web series creators to documentary filmmakers – check out the I Think You’re Interesting archives.

How Louie Anderson became Zach Galifianakis' mom in FX's 'Baskets'

How Louie Anderson became Zach Galifianakis’ mom in FX’s ‘Baskets’

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Louie Anderson: Playing a woman is a tribute to my mom
For Louie Anderson, a return to stand up, the role he loves best
Comic Louie Anderson waited for the role of a lifetime. He found it playing his own mom.
How Louie Anderson became Zach Galifianakis’ mom in FX’s ‘Baskets’

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