Inside the dust jacket of his new book Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, comedian and actor Louie Anderson explains, “I started out writing these letters to my mom, but a few friends said I should write a book.” Hey Mom, which is out now in bookstores, consists of letters Anderson wrote to his late mother between 2015 and 2017. Its inception and creation runs parallel to his casting as Christine Baskets in the acclaimed FX series Baskets, which garnered him an Emmy in 2016, but as Anderson explains to Uproxx, their separate trajectories are not one and the same.
They are, however, inseparably linked. The common denominator for the pair — along with Anderson’s new stand-up special, Big Underwear and his Emmy Award-winning cartoon series, Life with Louie — is his mother. Her influence on the comic is so strong, in fact, that he wagers his drive to talk to her will encourage readers to do the same with their parents. “I hope that after you read it, you’ll write or call your own mom — or dad, sister, brother, cousin, nephew. Or have lunch with them. Or breakfast. It doesn’t have to be lunch. But do it now. Don’t wait like I did.” As I told Louie over the phone, I didn’t wait at all.
After reading the review copy of Hey Mom, I did what you predict a lot of readers will do and called my parents.
Oh good, and how did it go? Did it feel good?
It felt great, though I had to explain why I sounded somewhat erratic.
Yeah, I should have put in there. “Just call them, but don’t say all the stuff you want to say to them right at that moment. It will scare them!”
Hey Mom is very much tied to your character on Baskets, and you use your mother as inspiration for Christine Baskets, but what came first? The idea for the book, or getting the Baskets role?