Zach Galifianakis

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Zach Galifianakis
Galifianakis in 2012
Zachary Knight Galifianakis

(1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 54)
EducationWilkes Central High School
Wilkes Community College
North Carolina State University
  • Comedian
  • actor
Years active1996–present
Quinn Lundberg
(m. 2012)
RelativesNick Galifianakis (uncle)
Nick Galifianakis (cousin)

Zachary Knight Galifianakis (/ˌɡælɪfəˈnækɪs/; born October 1, 1969) is an American comedian and actor. In film, Galifianakis played Alan in The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013). He hosted the Funny or Die talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis (2008–2018). On television, he starred in the FX series Baskets (2016–2019), which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2017.

Galifianakis's other films include Due Date (2010), It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), The Campaign (2012) and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). He has also voiced characters in animated films such as Puss in Boots (2011), The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Missing Link (2019), Ron's Gone Wrong (2021) and The Bob's Burgers Movie (2022).

Early life[edit]

Zachary Knight "Zach" Galifianakis was born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on October 1, 1969,[1] to community arts center director Mary Frances (née Cashion) and heating oil vendor Harry Galifianakis.[2] His mother is of Scots-Irish[3] and English descent, while his paternal grandparents were Greek immigrants from Crete.[4][5] He was baptized in his father's Greek Orthodox faith.[6][7][8][9]

He has a younger sister, Merritt, and an older brother, Greg.[10] Their cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis,[11] while their uncle, also named Nick Galifianakis, was a Durham attorney and politician.[12]

He attended Wilkes Central High School, Wilkes Community College and subsequently attended North Carolina State University, where he majored in communications.[4] While in college, Galifianakis worked at a public access station. He taught a waltz class in 1991 and crossed paths with Mary J. Blige there.[13]


Early work[edit]

After his television debut on Boston Common, Galifianakis joined Saturday Night Live for two weeks.[14] He has stated "I worked on Saturday Night Live for two weeks, and Britney Spears was the host one week when I was doing it. Wrote a sketch, Will Ferrell was going to play a bodyguard to her belly-button, and we were going to shrink Will down to fit into a belly-button. ...she just stared at me after I explained it to her. And then, she finally goes 'Yeah, that's funny.'"[15] 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.[citation needed]

Galifianakis on Inside Joke in New York City in 2008.

In September 2001, he appeared in an episode of Comedy Central Presents. It included a stand-up routine, a segment with a piano, and 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 hosted his own VH1 talk show called Late World with Zach. It featured many of his friends and regular performers from the Los Angeles comedy and music venue Largo where he appeared frequently during this time period. He played Davis in the Fox drama series Tru Calling.[6] He appeared many times on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and played Frisbee in Reno 911![citation needed]

Galifianakis played 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. He also guest-starred in the 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.[citation needed]

In 2006, Galifianakis appeared in Fiona Apple's music video for the song "Not About Love", where he is seen lip-syncing 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)",[16] a comedic hip-hop dance song which features Apple's vocals.[citation needed]

Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford, are 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 film 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 first leading role in the independent film Visioneers which premiered in 2008.[17] The film was released on direct-to-DVD. 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.[18] He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.[citation needed]

His 2006 stand-up concert film Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion was one of the first original programs from Netflix.[19]

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis[edit]

The two men seated
Zach Galifianakis interviewing Barack Obama for Between Two Ferns.

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,[20] Michael Cera, Jon Hamm,[21] Natalie Portman,[22] Charlize Theron, Bradley Cooper, Carrot Top, Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, 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, Brie Larson, David Letterman, former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves.[23] His interview style consists of typical interview questions, bizarre non sequiturs, awkward product endorsements and sometimes inappropriate sexual questions and comments.[24] 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.[25]

Mainstream performances[edit]

Galifianakis played Alan Garner in the hit comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award for the Best Comedic Performance.[26] He was also prominently advertised in subsequent films that featured him in supporting roles, such as G-Force, Youth in Revolt and Up in the Air.[citation needed]

Galifianakis starred 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 closed the show wearing a fake one.[27] 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.[28]

In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story, and Due Date.[29] 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;[30] 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 reprised his role for The Hangover Part II, which was set in Thailand[31] and voiced Humpty Dumpty in Puss in Boots. Galifianakis starred alongside Will Ferrell in Jay Roach's 2012 political comedy The Campaign.[32] He received critical praise for his performance in the 2014 film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), in which he starred with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton. In 2017, Galifianakis voiced The Joker in The Lego Batman Movie.[33] In February 2023, Galifianakis joined the live-action film adaptation of Lilo & Stitch as Jumba.[34]

Charity work[edit]

In January 2014, Galifianakis and his 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 nationwide network of funds set up to assist women in obtaining abortions in states whose legislatures had placed restrictions on the practice. The fundraiser was set up in response to the passage of Texas H.B. 2, which established several restrictions that forced a majority of the state's abortion clinics to close.[35]

Galifianakis befriended Marie "Mimi" Haist, a homeless woman in her 80s who was living in a Santa Monica laundromat for 18 years, and bought her an apartment across the street from the laundromat. The story was revealed in the 2015 documentary Queen Mimi.[36]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2012, Zach Galifianakis married Canadian charity worker Quinn Lundberg at the UBC Farm in Vancouver. They have two sons together: one born on September 7, 2013 (Galifianakis skipped the premiere of his film Are You Here to attend the birth)[37] and another born on November 7, 2016.[38]

Galifianakis has a house in Venice, Los Angeles and previously lived in Brooklyn.[39][40] Galifianakis owns a farm in Sparta, North Carolina,[41] and splits his time between the farm and his work. He said, "My farm is a place that I get to think clearly and pretend to know what I am doing."[42] He also resides on an island in British Columbia, Canada.[43]


Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Flushed Pathetic Guy
2001 Heartbreakers Bill
Bubble Boy Bus Stop Man
Corky Romano Dexter
Out Cold Luke
2002 Below Weird Wally
Stella shorts Santa Short films
2005 The Comedians of Comedy Himself Stand-up tour documentary
Zach Galifianakis: Look Who It Isn't Self-released stand-up DVD
2006 Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion Stand-up special
2007 The Comedians of Comedy: Live at The Troubadour Stand-up tour concert video
Into the Wild Kevin Wallis
2008 What Happens in Vegas Dave the bear
Visioneers George
2009 The Ballad of G.I. Joe Snow Job Short film
Gigantic Homeless Guy
The Hangover Alan Garner
G-Force Ben Kendell Also in the video game
Up in the Air Steve Sewa
Operation: Endgame Hermit
Little Fish, Strange Pond Bucky
Youth in Revolt Jerry
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Therman Murch
It's Kind of a Funny Story Bobby
Due Date Ethan Tremblay/Ethan Chase/Stu
2011 The Hangover Part II Alan Garner
Puss in Boots Humpty Dumpty Voice[44]
The Muppets Hobo Joe
2012 Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Jim Joe Kelly
The Campaign Marty Huggins Also producer
2013 The Hangover Part III Alan Garner
2014 Are You Here Ben Baker
Muppets Most Wanted Hobo Joe Cameo
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Jake
2016 Masterminds David Ghantt
Keeping Up with the Joneses Jeff Gaffney
2017 The Lego Batman Movie The Joker Voice[44]
Batman is Just Not That Into You Voice, short film
Tulip Fever Gerrit
2018 A Wrinkle in Time The Happy Medium
2019 The Sunlit Night Haldor
Missing Link Mr. Link/Susan Voice[44]
Between Two Ferns: The Movie Himself Also writer and producer
2021 Ron's Gone Wrong Ron Voice[44]
2022 The Bob's Burgers Movie Felix Fischoeder Voice
2023 The Beanie Bubble Ty Warner
2024 Winner Ron Winner [45]
Thelma the Unicorn Crusty Trucker Voice[46]
TBA Lilo & Stitch Jumba Voice, filming


Year Title Role Notes
1996–1997 Boston Common Bobby 5 episodes
1997 Apartment 2F Zach 5 episodes
2002 Late World with Zach Himself (host) 36 episodes
2002 Next! Various characters Pilot, also writer
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! Tairy Greene / Various characters 7 episodes
2008–2018 Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis Himself (host) 22 episodes
2008 24 Hour Takeover Himself (uncredited) Television special; "Hour 12, 13 & 14"
2009–2010 American Dad! Heavyset Man, Norman, Juror Voice, 2 episodes
2009–2011 Bored to Death Ray Hueston 24 episodes
2010 Funny or Die Presents Cast (Just 3 Boyz) Episode #1.10
2010–2013 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
2012–present Bob's Burgers Chet, Felix Voice, 15 episodes[44]
2012–2016 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself / Santa Claus 5 episodes
2013 Kroll Show Various characters Episode: "The Greatest Hits of It"
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
2013 Arcade Fire in Here Comes The Night Time Captain Zach Television special
2014 The Simpsons Lucas Bortner Voice, episode: "Luca$"
2014 TripTank Jack the Janitor Voice, episode: "Crossing the Line"
2016–2019 Baskets Chip Baskets / Dale Baskets 40 episodes; also co-creator, writer and executive producer
2016 Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ The Bloodhound Episode: "Victoria Awakens"
2020 Dicktown Charlie Voice, episode: "The Mystery of the Controversial Cosplay"
2020–2021 Big Mouth Gratitoad Voice, 3 episodes
2024 Only Murders in the Building TBA[47] Recurring

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 G-Force Ben

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Artist
2007 "Not About Love" Himself Fiona Apple
2007 "Can't Tell Me Nothing" Himself Kanye West
2012 "Outta My System" Wizard My Morning Jacket
2013 "Spring Break Anthem" Himself The Lonely Island

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Annie Awards 2012 Best Voice Acting in a Feature Production Puss in Boots Nominated [48]
2018 The Lego Batman Movie Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2015 Best Acting Ensemble Birdman Won [49]
MTV Movie & TV Awards 2010 Best Breakout Star The Hangover Nominated [48]
Best Comedic Performance Won
2011 Due Date Nominated
2012 The Hangover Part II Nominated
2013 Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Will Ferrell) The Campaign Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2011 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Nominated [50]
2013 Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis Nominated
2014 Won
2015 Won
2017 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Baskets Nominated
2020 Outstanding Short Form Variety Series Between Two Ferns: The Movie Nominated
Satellite Awards 2018 Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Baskets Nominated [48]
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2015 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Birdman Won [51]
Streamy Awards 2010 Best Male Actor in a Comedy Web Series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis Won [48]
2014 Best Collaboration (shared with Barack Obama) Won


  1. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Biography (1969–)". Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  2. ^ "After".
  3. ^ Zach Galifianakis & Zoe Saldana (April 6, 2019). "Wired Autocomplete Interview". Wired.
  4. ^ a b 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". Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Brian M. Palmer – Zach Galifianakis interview". Archived from the original on December 28, 2005.
  7. ^ Sandlin, Christopher (December 10, 2007). "Zach Galifianakis Bringing Comedy and a Thick Beard to Dallas". EDGE Gulf Coast. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  8. ^ "Zach Galifianakis: Bible full of typos | That Other Paper | Austin's ONLY Paper". That Other Paper. March 8, 2007. Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  9. ^ Peters, Mike (March 22, 2007). "Comedian Galifianakis funny on, off stage". The Badger Herald. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  10. ^ Austin L. Ray (August 14, 2008). "Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis". Paste.
  11. ^ Baker, Gabbi (March 15, 2011). "Literature: Nick Galifianakis' Uncomfortably True Cartoons". Washington Life. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  12. ^ "Former congressman, Senate candidate Galifianakis dies at 94". Associated Press News. March 30, 2023. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  13. ^ "True Confessions with Zach Galifianakis and Bill Maher". February 17, 2016. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2020 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ Devin Friedman. "Three of Our Most Serious Minds Confer..." GQ.
  15. ^ Jeremy Ray Smolik (ed.). "Actually Me: Zach Galifianakis". GQ. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021.
  16. ^ "Alan Finger talks about his song, Up In Them Guts". YouTube. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  17. ^ "Visioneers - Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation". Archived from the original on May 25, 2015.
  18. ^ A Vodka Movie by Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric from YouTube
  19. ^ "Netflix (US) Distributor - Production". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Zach interviews president Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel Archived May 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine from Funny or Die
  21. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Jon Hamm". Funny Or Die. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  22. ^ "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Natalie Portman". Funny Or Die. March 17, 2010.
  23. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama". Funny Or Die. March 11, 2014.
  24. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Michael Cera". Funny Or Die. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  25. ^ Clark, Travis. "The best new content coming to Netflix this weekend is the 'Between Two Ferns' movie". Insider.
  26. ^ "The Twilight Saga: New Moon a "Surprise" Winner at MTV Movie Awards / New Eclipse Footage". DreadCentral. September 27, 2012.
  27. ^ "clip from NBC". NBC.
  28. ^ Hartsell, Carol (March 15, 2011). "SNL Backstage: Zach Galifianakis Shaves Head Like Mr. T (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post.
  29. ^ Sciretta, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story Begins Production". /Film. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010.
  30. ^ "Not one toke over the line?". CNN. November 1, 2010.
  31. ^ Pols, Mary (May 25, 2011). "The Hangover Part II: The Wolf Pack Is Back, and This Time They've Brought a Monkey". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  32. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Talks Puss In Boots, The Hangover 3, Dog Fight, Bored To Death". Collider. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  33. ^ Kit, Borys (August 12, 2015). "'Lego Batman' Movie Finds Its Joker (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  34. ^ Kit, Borys; Verhoeven, Beatrice (February 17, 2023). "Zach Galifianakis to Star in 'Lilo & Stitch' Live-Action Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
  35. ^ Daunt, Tina (January 20, 2014). "Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis Help Raise Money for Texas Women Seeking Abortions". The Hollywood Reporter.
  36. ^ Radloff, Jessica (May 13, 2016). "How This Homeless Woman Became Good Friends With Zach Galifianakis and Renée Zellweger". Glamour.
  37. ^ "Galifianakis skips TIFF as wife about to give birth". Toronto Sun. September 8, 2013.
  38. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Welcomes Son Rufus Emmanuel".
  39. ^ "Zach Galifianakis is Happy to Play the Sad Clown". January 21, 2018.
  40. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Likes Living in Brooklyn Because He Doesn't Have to Bathe - Slideshow - Daily Intel". December 7, 2009.
  41. ^ Bad Diet HQ — Zach Galifianakis leads an ATV tour of his farm in Archived July 1, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  42. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Has a Farm (Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah)". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  43. ^ "Opinion: Zach Galifianakis thinks Canada is 'the land of lousy pickles,' and he's wrong about that". January 17, 2022.
  44. ^ a b c d e "Zach Galifianakis (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved December 24, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  45. ^ Complex, Valerie (October 24, 2022). "Emilia Jones To Lead 'Winner' Biopic From Susanna Fogel; Zach Galifianakis And Connie Britton Also Star". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  46. ^ "Netflix's 'Thelma the Unicorn' Dreams of Stardom in New Images [Exclusive]". Collider. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  47. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 10, 2024). "Zach Galifianakis Joins 'Only Murders In The Building' Season 4 As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 10, 2024. Retrieved March 10, 2024.
  48. ^ a b c d "Zach Galifianakis - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  49. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 15, 2015). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Boyhood' Wins Best Picture; 'Birdman' Leads With 7 Nods". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  50. ^ "Zach Galifianakis". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  51. ^ "SAG Awards: Complete List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2020.

External links[edit]