Louie Anderson usually watches new episodes of “Baskets” the moment they premiere. Alone. The sitcom’s breakout star will have to break that tradition for Thursday’s series finale. He’ll be busy performing stand-up in Hugo, a town where he used to work the flea market with his mom.
That’s fitting. The Emmy-winning role of Christine Baskets was not so loosely based on the late Ora Zella Anderson. His mom, however, never allowed herself the kind of happiness her on-screen counterpart enjoys, even while struggling to loosen the reins on her twin sons, played by the show’s co-creator, Zach Galifianakis.
As Anderson waited for a plane to take him from Los Angeles to his home in Las Vegas, the Minnesota native reflected on his Hollywood comeback, his hopes for the sequel to “Coming to America” and why we may not have seen the last of Christine Baskets.
Q: What were you doing in L.A.?
A: I came in to pitch a new show about myself. I don’t want to tell you too much about it. I can tell you it centers around me. It’s not dark, but it’s mildly shady. The next adventure is going to be as crazy as the Christine thing, maybe crazier.
Q: Is it just a coincidence that you’ll be in Minnesota for the series finale?
A: Well, I took into consideration when the State Fair would be going on. It’s almost impossible for me to go to the Minnesota State Fair, though. I’m not the kind of person who can just blow through a crowd without stopping to say hello and take pictures with people. I’m so full of gratitude right now. When you get your dream role at 61, you have no right to cop an attitude. Now I’m going for my second dream part at 66. I’m not wasting any time.
Q: Did you know when you were filming this fourth season that it would be the last one?
A: FX gave us a chance to pitch for another year. We didn’t feel like we were done. But we did a show that cost a lot of money for all those years, and I don’t think the network was seeing the return. We were never a big hit. The show wasn’t for everyone. But it was there for everyone that needed it.
Q: What do you mean by that? Who exactly needed it?
A: I’ll give you a couple examples from people on social media. One person wrote me that his brother had committed suicide and that he had found himself in a tremendous amount of pain. The show gave him great comfort. Another fan had just lost his mom and wrote to tell me how lucky he was to find it. That’s what I mean when I say it was for everyone who needed it.
But guess who needed it most? Me. The show made me realize how great my mom really was and also how talented I still was and that I still had much to offer. Omigod, I’m far from being done.
Q: When you got the show, you were just coming off that competition series, “Splash,” where you were the celebrity who was best known for nearly drowning.
A: Yeah, but that show reminded people I was still around. And it inspired a lot of people to learn to swim. I know it was a giant risk, but it was cathartic to me. That was my mom again — and Christine. Neither ever gave up.
Q: What was the hardest scene for you to film this past season?
A: There were a couple big gut punches. There’s a scene in which Christine can’t find her magnet and then Ken (her boyfriend) did the kitchen up for her and bought her more magnets. I had to ask myself: Was Mom ever this happy? That was a tough one.
Q: There’s also a scene in the finale where Chip stands up to his mom in the goat stable. Zach doesn’t seem to be an emotional guy in real life, but he seems to dig pretty deep there. What would surprise people about him?
A: He’s so kind. He’s mischievous and can do little mean things, but he can’t back them up with any kind of bravado. He’s as sensitive as can be. One of the hardest things for Zach, I think, is being famous. I think he enjoys it, he loves having fun. But he also enjoys his solitude and spending time with his family.
Q: What do you know about the planned sequel for Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America”?
A: I think I’m going to be in it. I can’t wait to do it. My part in the original wasn’t that big, but people have never forgotten it. I think it’s one of Eddie’s best movies. (Anderson later confirmed he’ll be in the film.)
Q: Any chance of a spinoff for Christine Baskets?
A: Maybe. One idea I’ve been toying with is “An Evening With Christine Baskets” where I give advice on life, love and parenthood on stage. I would try to include some of the people from the show to help me with it. It would be a nice alternative to stand-up. I already have folks who want to book it.
Q: Would that include a Q&A with the audience? It would give you a chance to show off your improv chops.
A: That’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll try that out when I’m in Minnesota.
Q: Did you take home any mementos from the show?
A: I have the cake topper from Christine’s wedding cake with the little hat. It looks just like my mom. I also took some stuff from the episode where she goes to the Ronald Reagan Library. I’ve got a lot of trinkets. I’m my mom’s son.
Q: What about those wonderful floral dresses? Did you take home any of those?
A: I’ll never tell.