Zach Galifianakis

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Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis 2012 (cropped).jpg
Galifianakis at the 2012 LA Pod Fest
Birth name Zachary Knight Galifianakis
Born (1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 45)
Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Medium Stand-up, film, television, music
Nationality American
Years active 1996–present
Genres Alternative comedy, deadpan, observational comedy, black comedy, insult comedy, musical comedy, one-liners
Subject(s) Everyday life, self-deprecation, current events
Spouse Quinn Lundberg (m. 2012)
Children 1

Zachary Knight "Zach" Galifianakis[1] (/ˌɡælɨfəˈnækɨs/ GAL-i-fə-NAK-iss; born October 1, 1969)[2] is an American stand-up comedian and actor, known for his television appearance in his own Comedy Central Presents special. He also starred in films, such as The Hangover trilogy (2009-2013), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012) and Birdman (2014).

Early life[edit]

Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.[2] His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), is a community arts and center owner, and his father, Harry Galifianakis, is a heating oil vendor.[3] His mother has Scottish ancestry, while his paternal grandparents, Michael "Mike" Galifianakis and Sophia Kastrinakis, were immigrants from Crete, Greece,[4][5] and Galifianakis was baptized in his father's Christian Orthodox church.[6][7][8][9] He has a younger sister named Merritt and an older brother named Greg.[10] His cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis.[11] His uncle, a politician, is also named Nick Galifianakis. Galifianakis attended Wilkes Central High School, and subsequently attended but did not graduate from North Carolina State University, where he was a communications major.[12]

Early career[edit]

His career began on television, playing stoner Bobby in the short-lived sitcom Boston Common and joined Saturday Night Live as a writer but lasted only two weeks.[13] Galifianakis co-starred in the film Out Cold and had small roles in Corky Romano, Below, Bubble Boy, Heartbreakers, Into the Wild, Super High Me, Little Fish Strange Pond and Largo.

Galifianakis in Inside Joke in New York City in 2006

In September 2001, he appeared in one episode of Comedy Central Presents. It included a stand-up routine and a segment with a piano and concluded with an a cappella group (The Night Owls, introduced as his "12 ex-girlfriends") singing "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles while he made jokes. In 2002, he was the host of his own VH1 talk show called Late World with Zach. It featured many of his friends and regular performers from the LA comedy and music venue Largo where he appeared frequently during this time period. One episode featured Largo regulars Jon Brion and Rhett Miller as musical guests. His next television role was as a coroner named Davis in the Fox drama Tru Calling, which lasted from 2003 to 2005.[6] He has also appeared many times on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and has made three appearances on Reno 911! as "Frisbee".

Galifianakis starred as Alan Finger on the Comedy Central show Dog Bites Man, a fake news program that caught people during candid moments thinking they were being interviewed by a real news crew. In addition, he was on an episode of the Comedy Central show The Sarah Silverman Program as Fred the Homeless Guy. He also had a recurring guest role as a doctor on the animated Adult Swim show Tom Goes to the Mayor and appeared in several episodes of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! in a recurring role as Tairy Greene. In 2006, Galifianakis was featured in Fiona Apple's music video for the song "Not About Love" where he is seen lip-synching the lyrics to the song. A year later Kanye West employed Galifianakis and indie rock musician Will Oldham for similar purposes in the second version of the video for his song "Can't Tell Me Nothing". In June 2006 Galifianakis released the single "Come On and Get It (Up in 'Dem Guts)",[14] a comedic rap/hip-hop/dance song which features Apple's vocals.

Galifianakis was, together with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford, one of the four Comedians of Comedy, a periodic packaged comedy tour in the style of The Original Kings of Comedy and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. They chose to perform at live rock clubs as opposed to comedy clubs to try to reach a different audience. Much of the tour was taped and has been featured in both a short-lived TV series on Comedy Central and a full-length movie that has appeared at SXSW and on Showtime. On February 22, 2008, he made an appearance on the 24 Hour Takeover. He interviewed various members of the Jackass cast. Galifianakis starred in the independent film Visioneers which played in select cities in 2008.[15] This was Galifianakis's first starring role in a film and was given a direct-to-DVD release. That same year, Galifianakis appeared in a web video series of advertisements for Absolut vodka, along with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, creating a parody of the Golden Girls in which one has a deep anger issue, breaking the fourth wall in exasperation and outright violence on the set.[16] He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis[edit]

Galifianakis has a series of videos on the Funny or Die website titled Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis where he conducts interviews with popular celebrities between two potted ferns. He has interviewed Jimmy Kimmel,[17] Michael Cera, Jon Hamm,[18] Natalie Portman,[19] Charlize Theron, Bradley Cooper (with a brief appearance by Carrot Top), Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter (with a brief appearance by Andy Dick), Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis, Tila Tequila, Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tobey Maguire, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber, President Barack Obama and Brad Pitt.[20] His interview style consists of typical interview questions, bizarre non sequiturs, awkward product endorsements and sometimes inappropriate sexual questions and comments.[21] Galifianakis won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program as a producer of the show at the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Mainstream performances[edit]

Galifianakis played Alan Garner in the hit comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award for the Best Comedic Performance.[22] He was also prominently advertised in subsequent films that featured him in supporting roles, such as G-Force, Youth in Revolt and the Oscar-nominated film Up in the Air.

Galifianakis also played a supporting role in the HBO series Bored to Death and hosted Saturday Night Live on March 6, 2010 during the show's 35th season, during which he shaved his beard mid-show for a sketch, and then closed the show wearing a fake beard.[23] He hosted again on March 12, 2011 and shaved his head this time, in a Mr. T-like hairstyle, which was allegedly supposed to be used for a sketch that never aired due to time constraints.[24]

In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story and Due Date.[25] On October 29, 2010, while debating marijuana legalization on the show HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Galifianakis appeared to have smoked marijuana on live television;[26] host Bill Maher denied that it was real marijuana in an interview with Wolf Blitzer during an episode of The Situation Room. In 2011, he returned as Alan Garner in the sequel, The Hangover Part II, which was set in Thailand[27] and voiced Humpty Dumpty in Puss in Boots. Galifianakis starred alongside Will Ferrell in Jay Roach's 2012 political comedy The Campaign.[28] He received critical praise for his performance in the 2014 film Birdman, in which he starred opposite Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.

It was announced in January 2014 that Galifianakis and comedian Louis C.K. were developing a comedy pilot for FX.[29]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2012, Galifianakis married Quinn Lundberg, co-founder of the Growing Voices charity, at the UBC Farm in Vancouver, British Columbia. In September 2013, Lundberg gave birth to their first child, a boy, while Galifianakis missed the premiere of his film Are You Here to attend the birth.[30]

In January 2014, Galifianakis and "A Night of a Thousand Vaginas" co-star Sarah Silverman announced their intention to raise $20,000 to help fund the Texas Abortion Fund, part of a nation-wide network of funds set up to assist women in obtaining abortions in states whose legislatures had placed restrictions on the practice. The charity was set up within days of the passage of Texas H.B. 2, which limited abortions in the state after 20 weeks gestation, among other things.[31]

Galifianakis owns a farm in northeastern Alleghany County, North Carolina and splits his time between the farm and his work. Of his farm, he said, "My farm is a place that I get to think clearly and pretend to know what I am doing."[32] In an October 2014 interview with E!, Galifianakis claimed he was terminally ill, resulting in his considerable weight loss.[33]



Year Title Role Notes
1998–2002 Stella shorts Santa Short films
1999 Flushed Pathetic guy
2001 Heartbreakers Bill
2001 Bubble Boy Bus stop man
2001 Corky Romano Dexter
2001 Out Cold Luke
2002 Below Weird Wally
2007 Into the Wild Kevin Wallis
2008 What Happens in Vegas Dave the bear
2008 Visioneers George
2009 The Ballad of G.I. Joe Snow Job Short film
2009 Gigantic Homeless guy
2009 The Hangover Alan Garner (shared with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms)
2009 G-Force Ben Paredes Also in the video game
2009 Up in the Air Steve Sewa Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2009 Operation: Endgame Hermit
2009 Little Fish, Strange Pond Bucky
2009 Youth in Revolt Jerry
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Therman Murch Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actor
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story Bobby
2010 Due Date Ethan Tremblay/Ethan Chase Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Actor Comedy
2011 The Hangover Part II Alan Garner Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Actor Comedy
Nominated – Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms)
2011 Puss in Boots Humpty Dumpty (voice) Nominated – Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
2011 The Muppets Hobo Joe
2012 Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Jim Joe Kelly
2012 The Campaign Marty Huggins Also producer
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Will Ferrell)
2013 The Hangover Part III Alan Garner
2014 Are You Here Ben Baker
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Hobo Joe Cameo
2014 Birdman Jake Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Ensemble
Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards for Best Ensemble
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Ensemble Cast
North Texas Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Film Ensemble
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards for Best Acting Ensemble
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast 2nd Place
Nominated – Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2015 Tulip Fever Post-production
2015 Masterminds David Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996–1997 Boston Common Bobby 5 episodes
1997 Apartment 2F Zach 5 episodes
2003–2005 Tru Calling Davis 27 episodes
2005–2007 Reno 911! Frisbee 4 episodes
2006 Dog Bites Man Alan Finger 9 episodes; Also writer and producer
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Dr. Vickerson (voice) 2 episodes
2006 Wonder Showzen Uncle Daddy (voice) Episode: "Horse Apples"
2007 The Sarah Silverman Program Fred Blorth Episode: "Humanitarian of the Year"
2007–2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Various characters 7 episodes
2009–2010 American Dad! Heavyset man / Norman / Juror (voices) 2 episodes
2009–2011 Bored to Death Ray 24 episodes
2010 Funny or Die Presents Cast (Just 3 Boyz) Episode #1.10
2010–2013 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2011)
2012–2014 Bob's Burgers Chet / Felix (voices) 4 episodes
2013 Kroll Show Various characters Episode: "The Greatest Hits of It"
2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Santa Claus Episode: "Zach Galifianakis Wears a Santa Suit"
2013 The Chris Gethard Show Himself Episode: "Who Wants a Haircut"
2013–2014 Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories Zach 2 episodes
2013–2014 Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! Himself 12 episodes
2014 The Simpsons Lucas Bortner (voice) Episode: "Luca$"
2014 Triptank Jack the Janitor (voice) Episode: "Crossing the Line"
2016 Baskets Chip Baskets Lead Role; 10 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Not About Love Fiona Apple Fiona Apple
2007 Can't Tell Me Nothing Himself Kanye West website
2013 Spring Break Anthem The Lonely Island song


  1. ^ "Official web site of Zach Galifianakis". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Zach Galifianakis Biography (1969–)". Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Wray, John (May 28, 2009). "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Mr. Paul Lindsay Cashion, age 89, died Tuesday, August 16, 2005". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  6. ^ a b "Brian M. Palmer – Zach Galifianakis interview". 
  7. ^ Sandlin, Christopher (December 10, 2007). "Zach Galifianakis Bringing Comedy and a Thick Beard to Dallas". EDGE Gulf Coast. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Zach Galifianakis: Bible full of typos | That Other Paper | Austin's ONLY Paper". That Other Paper. 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  9. ^ Peters, Mike (March 22, 2007). "Comedian Galifianakis funny on, off stage". The Badger Herald. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  10. ^ Austin L. Ray. "Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis". Paste. 
  11. ^ Baker, Gabbi (March 15, 2011). "Literature: Nick Galifianakis' Uncomfortably True Cartoons". Washington Life Magazine. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ Wray, John (May 31, 2009). "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Devin Friedman. "Three of Our Most Serious Minds Confer...". GQ. 
  14. ^ "Alan Finger talks about his song, Up In Them Guts". Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Visioneers Website
  16. ^ A Vodka Movie by Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric from YouTube
  17. ^ Zach interviews talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from Funny or Die
  18. ^ Zach interviews Jon Hamm of AMC's Mad Men from Funny or Die
  19. ^ Zach interviews Natalie Portman and her dog, Whiz from Funny or Die
  20. ^ Zach interviews Barack Obama from Funny or Die
  21. ^ Zach puts Michael Cera in the hot seat from Funny or Die
  22. ^ "The Twilight Saga: New Moon a "Surprise" Winner at MTV Movie Awards / New Eclipse Footage". DreadCentral. 
  23. ^ clip from NBC
  24. ^ Hartsell, Carol (March 15, 2011). "SNL Backstage: Zach Galifianakis Shaves Head Like Mr. T (VIDEO)". Huffington Post (USA). 
  25. ^ Sciretta, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story Begins Production". /Film. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Not one toke over the line?". CNN. November 1, 2010. 
  27. ^ Pols, Mary (May 25, 2011). "The Hangover Part II: The Wolf Pack Is Back, and This Time They've Brought a Monkey". Time Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Talks PUSS IN BOOTS, THE HANGOVER 3, DOG FIGHT, BORED TO DEATH". Collider. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  29. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 14, 2014). "The untitled entry marks the first project under the "Louie" star's overall deal with FX Productions.". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Galifianakis skips TIFF as wife about to give birth". Toronto Sun. 8 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis Help Raise Money for Texas Women Seeking Abortions". 20 January 2014. 
  32. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Has a Farm (Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah)". Vanity Fair. 
  33. ^

External links[edit]