For Louie Anderson’s Christine Baskets, love is lovelier the second time around. Thanks to the chemistry and work turned in by actor Alex Morris, who came on the scene in Season 2 as Ken.
Christine crossed paths in Denver with Carpet King Ken, and despite the long distance between him and Costco’s biggest fan in Bakersfield, this is proving to be no flash-in-the-pan romance. In fact, we learn, they just might wed.
Morris is a longtime actor, Ovation Award winner and four-time NAACP Image Award winner who has appeared in the theater as well as TV and film. The Chicago native is a member of the Ensemble Theater and the iconic Alley Theater. Morris has performed in over 60 stage productions all over the country and throughout Europe.
Morris will join Christine and the Baskets Family Rodeo, where Christine is now the President and CEO managing her sons and a motley crew of rodeo workers. Chip is hopeless at basic administrative duties like transferring a phone call, and Dale is clueless on reading cues and managing people.
The cast of Baskets also features star Zach Galifianakis as twins Chip and Dale Baskets and Martha Kelly as Martha. The season was directed by Jonathan Krisel.
We spoke to Morris about what’s to come!
Monsters and Critics: We’re such fans of your character Ken. His arrival into Christine Baskets’ life energized the entire storyline. What went on in your mind when you read for Ken?
Alex Morris: When my agent called and told me about the audition and I read the sides and all that, I knew about the show. I had watched the show, the first season, so I kind of knew, and of course, I knew who Louie Anderson and Zach Galifianakis were and all that stuff.
The whole description of the character was that he was basically a nice guy. He is a guy that sells carpets. He is an all-American kind of a guy… as you could know of a guy at that age. So I had no expectations.
I just knew he was a nice guy and from what I read from the scene, because we did the scene where they meet at the inn after Darla has been convicted and Ken talks to Christine outside of the jail and she’s got the five years and everything.
That’s the scene that we read. And, I don’t know, the initial reading was great. But the callback was with Louie Anderson. And when you walk in the room there’s Louie Anderson sitting in the room and you know that you’re going to play the character that will be Christine’s boyfriend.
I wasn’t intimidated. I wasn’t scared and Louie made me feel so good, so comfortable. [Talking in Louie Anderson’s voice] ‘Hi Alex, is that your name, Alex? It’s so nice to meet you.’
And I was like, okay, we can run with this. This is going to be okay. It just seemed like there was an immediate connection between the two of us as people. It was just great.
From then on I felt so comfortable. Jonathan was in the room and the casting director and Jonathan [Krisel] is so laid-back. He’s so cool and so comfortable. I just felt really free to just be open, to just let it go.
And that’s what we played. We just let it go. It was two people who had met in mutually difficult situations who had kind of found each other. That was so neat to me. That was such a nice thing to play, two people, especially at our age, to find each other like that. So the connection was immediate. And it was right there right away. It was really easy.
M&C: That really translates. We just watched the first episode of the third season and you’re Skyping with Christine. And you’ve got such a calming effect on her and you’re her biggest cheerleader. I’m wondering if you can tell me about Season 3 and how many episodes we’ll get to see you in?
Alex: Well this year I’m in seven. We see a really nice arc of the Ken and Christine relationship. Not only with Ken and Christine but with Ken and the rest of the family, with Dale and Chip.
Their relationship is explored and developed. And I also think that you actually understand why Ken and Christine would draw to each other. I think that becomes very apparent. And one of the really beautiful things, Ken has a line in this season where he says ‘I think you’re the most unselfish person I know.’
What a great thing to say about somebody! What an outstanding thing to say about somebody. I mean, to be able to know that about someone is just a beautiful, beautiful thing.
So that’s what we’ll see this season. And like last year was a slow boil, this season it kind of boils a little more.
M&C: Wow. Will there be a wedding?
Alex: I’m not going to say anything. I’ll just let it play out. Let’s just say that you understand by the end of the season why these two people should be together.
And to me, if I wasn’t participating and I was just watching, I would go ‘yes, yes, yes, I love this. Yes.’
It’s so nice to see genuinely nice people find each other in spite of the difficult circumstances that surround them. And the other good thing, too, is that I think we see for a change a guy who looks at the woman that he cares about and really sees her as a hero. I mean, he really admires Christine. He admires what she’s trying to do. And isn’t that a wonderful thing to be able to say?
I love to be able to say, and I say it about my wife, ‘I admire you and I really look up to you.’ What a nice feeling to have about someone that you love.
M&C: Oh it’s the ideal. Everyone is shooting for that. And if you have, well hats off. I know I have it.
Alex: Don’t you feel really blessed to have that?
M&C: Absolutely. How does your character Ken relate to Chip and Dale? Do you have a favorite or do you relate more or have an easier time with one over the other?
Alex: I think this season you will find some things out about Ken that will make you understand why he relates more with one than to the other. Actually, he cares about them both because in them he sees and understands Christine.
But with Chip, there is definitely a kinship because in a lot of ways they share similar interests.
Ken really enjoys the fact that Chip was a clown and that he’s attempting to be a clown and that he is pursuing that dream. He really admires that. He really admires the entrepreneurship of Dale. So Dale says dumb and they do dumb things. I still think that he admires that entrepreneurship.
So he doesn’t deal with them in the same way, but I think he’s definitely, in my opinion, drawn more closer in this season to Chip than he is to Dale. And I think he’s more relatable to Chip than he is to Dale.
M&C: Your character Ken has a mixed bag, some very upwardly mobile daughters, and one problem child. I was wondering if we were going to see more of your character’s family this season as well?
Alex: We do. We do. We see a little more of the two girls. We do not outwardly what’s happening with Donna but there are some very neat little Easter eggs within the episodes that let you know that Ken’s very close to Darla.
But he’s closer to his other daughters A, because they’re there and B, because they’re working in the business with him. So you do see the growth and the closeness of that relationship. Which is one of the things I think Christine admires about Ken. His sense of family.
M&C: Yes. Now, for you as an actor, Alex, are there any other projects you’re working on that you can tell me about?
Alex: I am, I love theater. And as you know, doing theater in LA is doing it more for the love of it than for any money. So I’m working on developing a musical. My wife and I had developed a play a year or so ago called Sassy Mamas, which is a story about women of a certain age, over 50, who have decided to flip the script and pursue relationships with younger men.
The play was a monster hit. We won many awards with the play and so now we’re developing the play into a possible movie and TV series.
M&C: Any last words, anything about the season, any little tidbits or things you can say about Martha or the rodeo or anything that you’d like to share?
Alex: I think that we will come away this season, if we loved Christine in the first two seasons, we will love her more and admire her even greater this season. You will, really, I think women in general, will get the feeling of real empowerment by watching how this woman puts together this rodeo. I mean it’s incredible.
And again, the wonderful work of Louie and Zach and Jonathan and everybody connected to this darn show. Man, I’m so blessed. I’m so blessed. Golly. I just hope people love it and watch it.
Baskets airs tonight, Tuesday, January 23rd at 10pm on FX