'Baskets' & 'Louie' Are Similar, Darkly Humorous Shows Thanks To Louis C.K.'s Input
FX's new comedy series Baskets premiered on Thursday night and you may have noticed there's a certain, familiar dark humor about it. Sure, hilarious comedian Zach Galifianakis is the star (and co-creator), but the TV show will probably remind you of another unique FX comedy: Louis C.K.'s Louie. That's because comedian Louis C.K. co-created Baskets and the similarities to Louie are definitely there. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Galifianakis told the press during the Television Critics Association winter tour that there's pressure for Baskets to live up to Louie. But, the comedian said he saw Baskets as a whole new ballgame.
While Louie seems to be more autobiographical for Louis C.K., Baskets follows wannabe clown Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) as he returns home to California after failing French clowning school in Paris, and he takes a job as a rodeo clown. Louis C.K. told the press at the TCA tour that Baskets has one main advantage over Louie: Galifianakis, who Louis C.K. had gotten to know through the comedy circuit.
"They operate on different frequencies, and I think that Zach’s show succeeds in a way my show doesn’t," Louis C.K. said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "He’s much more generous of a performer than I am. I’m not willing to do anything of the things Zach does. So, in a lot of ways, I prefer Zach’s show as far as just the comedy of it."
While Louie and Baskets are two distinct TV series, there are certain striking similarities between the two shows.
They're Both On FX
I know this one sounds so obvious, but hear me out for a second. The fact that both shows are on FX is actually one of the main things that helped shape them. According to Deadline, FX has been very hands off with Louie , meaning it let the comedian do his thing without trying to change its direction via network notes.
And, it sounds like FX chief John Landgraf did the same for Baskets, but also had some helpful input. “Landgraf saw him (Galifianakis) as a Chaplin-esque character; that there was more feeling in it," Louis C.K. said, according to Deadline. "There’s a sadness to the character. He put it in a way that gave it direction … He’s a thoughtful guy."
Both Main Characters Are Funny Men
Another obvious one, but it's true. In Louie, Louis C.K. plays a pretty successful comedian with a darkly funny life that is sometimes almost too real. As for Baskets, Chip fails out of fancy clowning school and only gets laughs at the rodeo when he's hit by a bull.
Baskets' Penelope Is A Lot Like Louie's Pamela
As soon as Chip's French wife Penelope appeared on-screen, I immediately thought of Louie's Pamela, Louis C.K.'s on-and-off love interest. Both women make these funny men jump through very weird hoops for their love. In the Baskets pilot, Penelope makes Chip go on a quest to get her $40 for HBO and he does it — I could totally see Pamela doing the same thing on Louie.
So Many Awkward Moments
If you thought Louie made you cringe, just wait until you get through the first episode of Baskets — which included a sad, cringe-worthy marriage proposal, two scooter wrecks, and the longest fast food drive-thru order.
Louie has never been scared to have daring roles for its guest stars. Remember Robin Williams' epic (and sad) guest appearance before his death? Baskets shows the same bold casting choices, with Anderson (a man) playing Chip's mom and Galifianakis also playing Chip's twin brother Dale (yup, like Chip and Dale).
But, there is one main difference between the shows: Baskets will be airing on Tuesday nights, while Louie remains on hiatus and Louis C.K. said he doesn't know when it'll be back. So, it sounds like Baskets will have to satisfy any cravings for the dark kind of funny for the time being — and I have a feeling it will do just that.
Images: Ben Cohen (2)/FX; Giphy (3)