Baskets’ new season mixes up the series’ dynamic in an interesting way when the lovingly dysfunctional Baskets family is brought together to run a family rodeo. Martha, the constant support line to the Baskets family, is still along for the ride and ready to take on the unexpected challenges that a rodeo entails. Martha Kelly was handpicked by Galifianakis to play his mousey, reliable friend in the series and the actress/comedian has quickly become many people’s favorite part of the show. It’s not easy to go beat-for-beat with someone like Galifianakis, but Kelly makes it look easy and this new season gives her character the most to do yet.
With the third season of Baskets underway, we got the opportunity to chat with Martha Kelly about the show’s changes this year, having such genuine chemistry with Zach Galifianakis, and if that cast is ever going to come off.
DEN OF GEEK: Can you talk a little about Martha’s dynamic within the Baskets family? She plays such a valuable, but different roles to Chip, Christine, and Dale.
MARTHA KELLY: I think that for Christine, Martha is like a fun friend that treats her with more respect than her other friends that are the same age as her. Then with Chip, in the infancy of that relationship it definitely felt like there was a bit of a crush on one of their ends. I think any romantic feelings between them have sort of evolved into brother and sister dynamic. I also might just feel that way because that’s how my relationship is with Zach in real life.
Who do you enjoy to play off of the most out of those characters?
MARTHA KELLY: My very favorite thing to do are always the scenes with Dale because it’s always so absurd. Zach as Chip and Louie as Christine make me laugh a lot too, but Dale is just so over the top that his scenes are the most fun.
Some of my favorite moments in the series are just the back and forth discussions between Chip and Martha. What’s it been like to be able to build such chemistry with Zach and how have you seen it change through the years?
MARTHA KELLY: Well we met a long time ago all the way back in 1998 when we were going to the same open mics in Los Angeles. We kept in touch over the years, but we weren’t super close. I’ve always loved him and thought that he was super funny, but it wasn’t until we started working together that I feel like I really got to know him. The more that I’ve gotten to know him the more that I admire and love him. It’s really such a sibling-like love. I suppose that whenever Chip is particularly sad or down in a scene, Martha is able to lift spirits and balance things out.
The show mixes things up a little this season with how the Baskets family buys and runs a rodeo. How does this affect Martha?
MARTHA KELLY: It kind of leads to Martha not being as directly involved in the daily lives of the Baskets family. It’s interesting because this season my character is less involved in the main story of the year, but it’s still my favorite season. It feels more fun and lighthearted than the first two, which have their darker moments.
Martha’s love life has always been a bit of a mystery and a closed off part of the character, but she opens up about that a little this year. Has that been a nice dimension of the character to get to explore this season?
That was fun material, for sure. Even though Martha considers these people to be boyfriends, it’s not what most people would consider to be boyfriends. For me, the most fun thing is to do scenes with Zach and Louie. So funnily enough I’d just like to see more scenes of them or moments where Martha is just part of their fun. I’d love to be in more scenes of my own, but those two just make me so happy.
On that note, so much of what we see of Martha’s life is through the filter of Chip or someone else. From what you’re saying though you’d like to keep it that way rather than giving her more solo adventures?
That’s right, even though that might not be the most professional answer. Actually, those scenes in season one with Martha and her boss at Costco were a lot of fun, too. Whatever they write for me ends up being a good time.
Your character has had that cast on her arm for the entire series. Is it nice to have such a physical element or prop to get to play off of and do you think that you’ll ever get it off?
I think it’ll probably come off if we do future seasons. Honestly, it slips on and off so easily that I forget about it a lot of the time until people ask about it. It is the thing that people ask me about the most though. And because I don’t think of myself as a “real, professional” actor I’m not really bringing anything to the cast. It’s like it’s my purse or something.
Well it’s funny you mention the “professional” actor thing because you’ve found some newfound fame and gotten opportunities in big productions like Spider-Man: Homecoming. Is that surreal at all to you, or does it not really matter?
The roles that I’ve gotten to do because of Baskets basically just have me playing a version of myself, which is what I do on Baskets in the first place. So it’s not like that makes me feel like any more real of an actor. They’re just fun cameos. With Spider-Man I didn’t even want to do it at first because I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in or I’d take away from the film. That was so much fun in the end though.
Lastly, do you have a favorite episode or moment from this season that you’re especially proud of?
There’s one scene where Martha’s in a car with Eddie and Chip. When we were shooting this stunt they both had stunt drivers or actors involved, but I was actually in the car with them. So that wasn’t necessarily a big deal—it was just a fast, sharp turn—but that small moment was still the most exhilarating part of the season to me.