When you tune in to the Baskets premiere on FX tonight, you may be struck by two things.
One: The show that star Zach Galifianakiscreated alongside Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel to tell the tale of wannabe French clown Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) and his sad reality in Bakersfield is deeply weird and hysterical. And two: That performer bringing to life Chip's mother, Christine Baskets.
Just know that, no, your eyes aren't deceiving you: That really is Louie Anderson in a dress and wig.
E! News caught up with Anderson during the recent 2016 Winter TCA Press Tour, where the legendary comedian revealed how much convincing was needed to get him into Christine's wardrobe. (Spoiler: Not much.) "Well, Louis C.K. called me and said, 'Zach and I have an idea. We'd like you to play a part in this new sitcom,'" he said. "And I said, 'Yeah?' 'Yeah, we'd like you to play Zack's mom.' And I go, 'Yeah. Yeah!' You know it just dawned me and I went 'Yes, I'll do it. I can't wait.'"
When Anderson first appears as Christine after Chip visits her house with his new friend/insurance agent Martha (Martha Kelly), there's a few seconds that pass where the viewer expects the other shoe to drop and the show to veer into tasteless, offensive territory. But it never does—something that Anderson told us was deliberate on his part.
"I wanted to make sure that I didn't belittle the idea of a woman or cheapen the idea that I was playing the mom. I didn't want it to become a cartoon," he admitted. "I didn't want it to be silly, you know? I wanted it to be real authentic. I wanted it to be like a real mom and a person who lives in Bakersfield. And I wanted her to really care about this family. And so that's what I really concentrated on. I tried to stay out of the comedy of it and stuck with the wonder of being a mom."
For more from Anderson, including which episode in the first season of the new series simply can't be missed, press play on the video above.
Baskets premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on FX.