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 46)
Wilkesboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, film, television, music
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 (2012–present)
Children Sheila (Nickname: 1)

Zachary Knight "Zach" Galifianakis[1] (/ˌɡælɨfəˈnækɨs/ GAL-i-fə-NAK-iss; born October 1, 1969)[2] is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian. Galifianakis came to prominence with his Comedy Central Presents special in 2001 and presented his own show called Late World with Zach on VH1 the following year. He has also starred in films, such as The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013) as Alan Garner, Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman (2014), from which he received praise from critics, and had a voice role in the animated film Puss in Boots (2011). He currently hosts the Emmy Award-winning talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die website and is developing a comedy series titled Baskets for FX.

Early life[edit]

Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.[2] His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), is a community arts center owner, and his father, Harry, is a heating oil vendor.[3] His mother has Scottish ancestry, while his paternal grandparents, 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 communication major.[12]


Early work[edit]

He began acting on television, guest-starring in 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 hosted 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. He played Davis in the Fox drama series, Tru Calling.[6] He appeared many times on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and played Frisbee in four episodes of Reno 911!.

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. In 2006, Galifianakis appeared 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, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford, are 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, 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, 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 with Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.

In January 2014, it was announced that Galifianakis and Louis C.K. were developing a comedy pilot for FX.[29] In August 2015, Galifianakis is in final negotiations to play The Joker in Lego Batman.[30]

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. On September 7, 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.[31]

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 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.[32]

Galifianakis owns a farm in northeastern Alleghany County, North Carolina, 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."[33] In an October 2014 interview with E!, when asked about his weight loss, Galifianakis jokingly claimed it was because he was terminally ill.[34]



Year Title Role Notes
1998–2002 Stella shorts Santa Short film
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 Award for Choice Movie: Actor Comedy
2011 The Hangover Part II Alan Garner Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – Teen Choice Award 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
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
2016 Tulip Fever Post-production
2016 Keeping Up with the Joneses Filming
2017 The Lego Batman Movie The Joker (voice) pre-production
TBA Masterminds David Ghantt Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996–97 Boston Common Bobby 5 episodes
1997 Apartment 2F Zach 5 episodes
2003–05 Tru Calling Davis 27 episodes
2005–07 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"
2007–10 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Tairy Greene / Various characters 7 episodes
2009–10 American Dad! Heavyset man / Norman / Juror (voices) 2 episodes
2009–11 Bored to Death Ray 24 episodes
2010 Funny or Die Presents Cast (Just 3 Boyz) Episode #1.10
2010–13 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2011)
2012–14 Bob's Burgers Chet / Felix (voices) 4 episodes
2012–15 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself / Santa Claus 4 episodes
2013 Kroll Show Various characters Episode: "The Greatest Hits of It"
2013 The Chris Gethard Show Himself Episode: "Who Wants a Haircut"
2013–14 Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories Zach 2 episodes
2013–14 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. ^ "After". 
  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. ^ "-". 
  16. ^ A Vodka Movie by Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric from YouTube
  17. ^ Zach interviews president Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from Funny or Die
  18. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Jon Hamm". Funny Or Die. 
  19. ^ "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Natalie Portman". Funny Or Die. 
  20. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama". Funny Or Die. 
  21. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Michael Cera". 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. ^ "'Lego Batman' Movie Finds Its Joker (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. August 12, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Galifianakis skips TIFF as wife about to give birth". Toronto Sun. 8 September 2013. 
  32. ^ "Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis Help Raise Money for Texas Women Seeking Abortions". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 January 2014. 
  33. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Has a Farm (Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah)". Vanity Fair. 
  34. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Jokes About His Dramatic Weight Loss". Huffington Post. October 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]