Zach Galifianakis showcases his irritating side in ‘Baskets’

Zach Galifianakis in Baskets.

Two stars

Baskets Thursdays, 10 p.m., FX.

Zach Galifianakis has honed his ability to play off-putting characters in the Hangover movies and his web series Between Two Ferns, among other projects, and his grating, oblivious persona reaches its height in the unpleasant, unfunny FX series Baskets. Not only is Galifianakis’ title character, aspiring clown Chip Baskets, a chore to spend time with, but so is pretty much every other character on the show, including Chip’s twin brother Dale (get it?), also played by Galifianakis.

Co-created by Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Portlandia producer Jonathan Krisel, Baskets follows the narcissistic, delusional Chip as he attempts to study classical clowning in Paris (despite not speaking a word of French) and then returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California, where the only job he can get with his unmarketable skills is as a rodeo clown. Chip complains constantly to the people around him, including his mother (played by Louie Anderson in deliberately ineffective drag) and his insurance adjuster Martha (comedian Martha Kelly), who becomes his only friend because she’s a complete doormat. Chip’s sad life is neither funny nor moving; it’s just a parade of discomfort, for both the characters and the audience.

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