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Zachary Knight "Zach" Galifianakis[1] (play /ˌɡælɨfəˈnækɨs/ gal-i-fə-nak-iss; born October 1, 1969)[2] is an American stand-up comedian and actor known for his numerous film and television appearances including his own Comedy Central Presents special. While initially more of an "underground" comedian, he garnered mainstream attention for his role in the comedy film The Hangover.

Zach Galifianakis

Early life

Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.[2] His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), ran a community center for the arts, and his father, Harry Galifianakis, was a heating oil vendor. Galifianakis' paternal grandparents emigrated from Crete, Greece,[3][4][5] and Galifianakis was baptized in his father's Greek Orthodox faith.[6][7][8][9] His mother is of Scots-Irish descent.[10] He has two siblings, a younger sister, Merritt, and an older brother, Greg.[11] His uncle, Nick Galifianakis, was a congressman from North Carolina between 1967 and 1973. He attended Wilkes Central High School, and subsequently attended but did not graduate from North Carolina State University, where he studied communication.[12]

Early work

Galifianakis' career began on television in 1996, when he played the recurring role of a stoner named Bobby in the short-lived sitcom Boston Common. Then he 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.

He had his own episode of Comedy Central Presents, which first aired in September 2001. It included a stand-up routine, a segment with a piano, and concluding 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 as they acted under the impression that they are 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 Over and Get It (Up in 'Dem Guts)", 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 Jackassworld.com: 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. 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.[14] He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.[15]
Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis
Main article: Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

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,[16] Michael Cera, Jon Hamm,[17] Natalie Portman,[18] 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 and Will Ferrell. His interview style consists of typical interview questions, bizarre non sequiturs and sometimes inappropriate sexual questions and comments.[19]
Mainstream performances: 2009–present

Galifianakis co-starred in the comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award for the Best Comedic Performance.[20] Following The Hangover's release, Galifianakis was prominently advertised in subsequent films that featured him in supporting roles. These included G-Force, Youth in Revolt, and the Oscar-nominated film Up in the Air.

Galifianakis is currently a member of the regular cast playing a supporting role in the HBO series Bored to Death. He 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.[21] 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.[22] In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story,[23] and Due Date.

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;[24] 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.[25]

Galifianakis will star alongside Will Ferrell in Dog Fight, a political comedy directed by Jay Roach in 2012.[26]

Year Film Role Notes
1999 The King and Me Pizza boy
1999 Flushed Pathetic guy
2001 Heartbreakers Bill
2001 Bubble Boy Bus stop man
2001 Corky Romano Dexter
2001 Out Cold Luke
2002 Late World with Zach Host Television series: 29 episodes
2002 Below Weird Wally
2003–05 Tru Calling Davis Television series: 27 episodes
2004 Zach & Avery of Fergus Homeless man
2005 The Comedians of Comedy Himself
2006 The Pity Card Zach
2006 Dog Bites Man Alan Finger Television series: 9 episodes
2007 Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion Himself/Seth Galifinakis Also Writer/Executive Producer
2007 Into the Wild Kevin
2008 What Happens in Vegas Dave the Bear
2008 Visioneers George
2009 The Ballad of G.I. Joe Snow Job Video short
2009 Gigantic Homeless guy
2009 The Hangover Alan Garner

MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance

2009-10 American Dad! Heavyset Man and Norman ; Juror Television series: 2 episodes (voice only)
2009 G-Force Ben
2009– Bored to Death Ray Television series: 16 episodes
2009 Up in the Air Steve
2009 Operation: Endgame Hermit Straight to DVD
2010 Youth in Revolt Jerry
2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Chrimbus Special Tairy Greene Television movie
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Therman Murch Comedy Award - Best Comedy Actor in Film
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 (also for The Hangover Part II)
2010 Frenemy Bucky
2010–11 Saturday Night Live Himself Television show: 2 episodes
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2011)
2011 The Hangover Part II Alan Garner Nominated - Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Actor Comedy (also for Due Date)
Nominated - Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms)
2011 Puss in Boots Humpty Dumpty Voice only
2011 The Muppets Hobo Joe Cameo appearance
2012 Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Jim Joe Kelly
2012 Kid Icarus: Uprising Eggplant Wizard Voice Only
2012 Dog Fight

^ Official web site of Zach Galifianakis
^ a b "Zach Galifianakis Biography (1969–)". filmreference.com. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
^ Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis from Paste magazine
^ Wray, John (May 28, 2009). "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
^ Mr. Paul Lindsay Cashion, age 89, died Tuesday, August 16, 2005
^ a b "Brian M. Palmer – Zach Galifianakis interview".
^ Sandlin, Christopher (December 10, 2007). "Zach Galifianakis Bringing Comedy and a Thick Beard to Dallas". EDGE Gulf Coast. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
^ Zach Galifianakis: Bible full of typos | That Other Paper | Austin's ONLY Paper
^ Peters, Mike (March 22, 2007). "Comedian Galifianakis funny on, off stage". The Badger Herald. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
^ Eells, Josh (June 23, 2011), "The High Times and Surreal Life of Zach Galifianakis", Rolling Stone (1133): pp. 60–68
^ Austin L. Ray. "Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis". Paste.
^ Wray, John (May 31, 2009). "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times.
^ Devin Friedman. "Three of Our Most Serious Minds Confer...". GQ.
^ A Vodka Movie by Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric from YouTube
^ Visioneers Website
^ Zach interviews talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from Funny or Die
^ Zach interviews Jon Hamm of AMC's Mad Men from Funny or Die
^ Zach interviews Natalie Portman and her dog, Whiz from Funny or Die
^ Zach puts Michael Cera in the hot seat from Funny or Die
^ "The Twilight Saga: New Moon a "Surprise" Winner at MTV Movie Awards / New Eclipse Footage". DreadCentral.
^ clip from NBC
^ "SNL Backstage: Zach Galifianakis Shaves Head Like Mr. T (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. USA.
^ 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.
^ "Not one toke over the line?". CNN.
^ 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.
^ http://collider.com/zach-galifianakis-puss-in-boots-hangover-3-interview/122262/


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