Zach Galifianakis is a rodeo clown. Need we go on? In the new FX new single-camera comedy Baskets (premieres Thursday, Jan. 21, at 10pm ET/PT), Galifianakis plays Chip Baskets, a man with a dream of becoming the world’s most celebrated circus clown. Inspired by the famous European circus performers of the 1800s, Chip attends a prestigious clowning school in Paris. But the Parisian clown scene proves too costly — the upscale French clown-nose boutiques are pricey — and Chip is forced to leave the school. He returns to Bakersfield, Calif., where he lives in an extended stay hotel while looking for work. There’s low demand for professional clowns in Bakersfield, and Chip applies for a job at the local rodeo. He’s hired on the spot, with one condition. “Can’t have no clown here named Renoir,” the rodeo manager says. “You’re Baskets.” Baskets learns the hard way that a charging bull doesn’t have much appreciation for performance art or production values. Based on the tremendous talent involved — Galifianakis created the series with Louis C.K. and Portlandia’s Jonathan Krisel — and the hilarious episodes we’ve previewed, Baskets is a circus we hope will be in town for a long, long time.
Photo: © 2015, FX Networks. Credit: Ben Cohen