Zach Galifianakis fans, rejoice! The new FX series Baskets stars the comedian in a particularly interesting role. The whole Baskets cast with Galifianakis is exciting as well. Not only that, but the series is co-created and executive produced by Louis C.K and Jonathan Krisel (who has written for Portlandia, Tim and Eric, Saturday Night Live, and The Kroll Show) so you know that Baskets is going to strike that balance of hilarious and depressing.
Simply put, this show is about a sad clown. It is an exploration into the art of clowning, which you maybe didn't know existed or at least never thought much about before, and comedy itself. According to FX's official character descriptions, the lead character Chip "dreams of being a classically trained French clown. But after striking out in Paris, he is forced to move back home to Bakersfield to work as a rodeo clown and deal with his increasingly present, judgmental family." It's a pretty relatable story set in the fascinating world of clowning.
Besides him, however, the cast is not filled with your typical sitcom performers. The other characters are played by veteran performers who aren't particularly known for their screen work. With one bonus surprise: he's not a series regular, but male comedian Louie Anderson will also appear as Chip's mother. FX is really taking some risks, which will hopefully pay off when the series premieres. Without further ado, here is a run-down of the people you'll meet on Baskets.
Zach Galifianakis As Chip Baskets
You may know Galifianakis from his stand-up, the Hangover movies, Due Date, and last year's Academy Award winner Birdman.
Martha Kelly As Martha
The character Martha is described as "Chip’s Insurance claims adjustor/assistant. She’d also say that she’s Chip’s friend. He would not." Kelly, on the other hand, is not an actress. She is a stand-up comedian based in Los Angeles.
Sabina Sciubba As Penelope
The performer is first and foremost a musician, perhaps best known as the lead singer of Brazilian Girls. She plays "Chip’s French sophisticate wife. She’s a bohemian artist that comes from money and only married Chip for a green card." This is one of Sciubba's first big acting roles.
Ernest Adams As Ernie
Finally, this Portlandia actor plays "the owner of the Bakersfield rodeo where Chip works as a clown. Eddie sees something in Chip and often offers him cowboy wisdom to help solve his problems." With a cast filled with relative unknowns and even some non-actors, I'm very interested in how Baskets will progress and/or be received. They are definitely looking for a specific, perhaps naturalistic, feel. Plus, I guess that's actually how a circus works, now that I think about it. Everyone brings a different talent to the ring. With this cast, I think Baskets may be doing it right.
Images: Ben Cohen, Frank Ockenfels (4)/FX