Louie Anderson on 'Baskets,' Emmy win, City Winery appearance 7/23

This was posted Monday, July 17, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Louie Anderson is proof that nice guys can thrive in Hollywood. At the age of 63 last fall, he pocketed his first Emmy for his role channeling his mom on FX's "Baskets."

"Mom, we did it!" the actor said on the Emmy stage last fall. His mother died in 1990. "I have not always been a very good man, but I play one hell of a woman!"

Anderson won't be in a dress when he performs at the City Winery Sunday but he plans to work on stand-up material for a comedy special he hopes will land on Netflix. (Tickets for the show are available here.)

"When I feel the material is ready, I'll perform it in L.A. for them," Anderson said in a recent interview. "They'll give me a thumbs up or thumbs down. That's the process." He added: "They pay you more than anyone else will."

Anderson gave a quick review of some topics he'll broach on stage: "I talk about Boston. I talk about Texas and the Alamo. I talk about processed foods and what they've done to me and what I'm going to do to get back at them. I'm talking about free-range chicken. I talk about people who collect crazy things. I talk about my mom and dad, my brothers and sisters. I talk about what matters. My message is love and caring about each other."

Over 40 years of doing stand-up, he said, he tries to squeeze in as many laughs as he can: "I want the audience to have an experience with me and think about their lives and nostalgia. I want them to forget their worries for an hour and a half. My goal is to make people feel something. That's also my goal with 'Baskets.' Either laughing and having a good time or doing something serious that can touch you and matters to you."

Anderson said FX has been a wonder in creative independence the way it has allowed shows like "Atlanta" and "Louie" on air, as well as "Baskets," a quirky, dark comedy featuring Zach Galifianakis as twins of Anderson's character Christine. He takes a diabetic, Costco-loving character that could easily have been a sad stereotype and infuses it with effortless life.

FX president John Landgraf, Anderson said, gave "Baskets" a third season despite modest ratings because "he knows what ails television. He provides a much needed salve to go on the wounds people have and makes the wounds deeper."

Then he paints a lovely picture of the trio of creators Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel as witches around a cauldron creating "good magic." Krisel is the leader, followed by Louis C.K. providing the herbs and spices and Galifianakis ensuring his interactions with Anderson feel true to life.

Anderson is modest about why he won his Emmy: "Right time, right place, right channel, right producers, right castmates," he said. "And all the guys who played women before me."

He sees Christine as someone with as many problems as her sons. "I think she' s never given up on her kids. And she is there for them in her own broken way. I think that broken way is under repair. That's why people root for Christine. She's trying to be a better person."

His inspiration comes from his sisters and his mom and "all of their foibles and their intricacies and nuances. It's all nuance."

And yes, even Anderson is fan of Costco. "Who doesn't want to go to Costco?" he said. "I could find an over-sized office chair I might need because I'm big. I  can find Prilosec for a third of the price of anywhere else. And the organic frozen vegetables are delicious!"

On the same night he is at the City Winery, you could also turn on ABC at 8:30 p.m. and watch Anderson and his family play "Celebrity Family Feud" against singer and actress Christina Millian and her family.

Anderson hosted the show from 1999 to 2002 so this was a bit of a homecoming. But he did tease that he was not adept at playing the game, now hosted by Steve Harvey. "I was horrified," he said.

But he enjoyed just being there, seeing it as "full circle." "I watched it with my family growing up. I got to host it. Now I get to play it with my family. All wonderful things." Then he added, "I told them to edit the s*** out of it!"


Louie Anderson

7 p.m., Sunday, July 23


City Winery Atlanta

650 North Ave. NE, Suite 201

Ponce City Market



About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.Rodney Ho's Radio & TV Talk blog (new) | Recent archiveSports...