Zach Galifianakis

Zachary Knight Galifianakis (Greek: Ζαχαρίας Γαλιφιανάκης; /ˌɡælɪfəˈnækɪs/, Greek pronunciation: [ɣalifçaˈnacis]; born October 1, 1969)[1] is an American actor, comedian, musician and writer. He appeared in Comedy Central Presents special and presented his show Late World with Zach on VH1. He has starred in films, such as The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) and Masterminds (2016). He starred in animated films, including Puss in Boots (2011), The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Missing Link (2019), and Ron's Gone Wrong (2021). Galifianakis currently hosts the Funny or Die website talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. He starred in the FX series Baskets and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2017.

Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis 2012 (cropped).jpg
Galifianakis at the 2012 LA Pod Fest
Birth nameZachary Knight Galifianakis
Born (1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 52)
Wilkesboro, North Carolina, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, television, music
EducationNorth Carolina State University
Years active1996–present
GenresAlternative comedy, surreal humour, observational comedy, black comedy, insult comedy, physical comedy, musical comedy, one-liners, deadpan
Subject(s)Everyday life, self-deprecation, current events
Quinn Lundberg
(m. 2012)
Relative(s)Nick Galifianakis (uncle)
Nick Galifianakis (cousin)

Early lifeEdit

Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.[1] His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), was a community arts center owner, and his father, Harry, a heating oil vendor.[2] His mother is of Scottish ancestry, and his paternal grandparents, Mike Galifianakis and Sophia Kastrinakis, were emigrants from Crete, Greece.[3][4] Galifianakis was baptized in his father's Greek Orthodox church.[5][6][7][8] He has a younger sister, Merritt, and an older brother, Greg.[9] His cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis.[10] His uncle, a politician, is also named Nick Galifianakis.[11] Galifianakis attended Wilkes Central High School, and subsequently attended North Carolina State University, where he majored in communications.[3] While in college, he worked at a public access station. He taught a waltz class in 1991 where he crossed paths with Mary J. Blige.[12]


Early workEdit

After his television debut Boston Common, Galifianakis joined Saturday Night Live for two weeks.[13] 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.'" [14] 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 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 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.[5] He appeared many times on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and played Frisbee in 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-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)",[15] a comedic hip-hop dance song which features Apple's vocals.

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 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 first leading role in the independent film Visioneers which premiered in 2008.[16] The film which 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.[17] He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.

Zach's 2006 stand-up concert film Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion was one of the first original programs from Netflix.[18]

Between Two Ferns with Zach GalifianakisEdit

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,[19] Michael Cera, Jon Hamm,[20] Natalie Portman,[21] 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, and Brad Pitt.[22] His interview style consists of typical interview questions, bizarre non sequiturs, awkward product endorsements and sometimes inappropriate sexual questions and comments.[23] 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 performancesEdit

Galifianakis played Alan Garner in the hit comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award for the Best Comedic Performance.[24] 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.

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.[25] 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.[26]

In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story, and Due Date.[27] 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;[28] 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[29] and voiced Humpty Dumpty in Puss in Boots. Galifianakis starred alongside Will Ferrell in Jay Roach's 2012 political comedy The Campaign.[30] 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.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

In August 2012, Galifianakis married Quinn Lundberg (from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 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, and Galifianakis missed the premiere of his film Are You Here to attend the birth.[32] He and Quinn had a second son on November 7, 2016.[33]

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.[34]

Galifianakis owns a farm in Sparta, Alleghany County, North Carolina,[35] 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."[36]

Galifianakis befriended Marie "Mimi" Haist, a homeless woman in her 80s who was living in a Santa Monica laundromat for 18 years. Galifianakis got her an apartment across the street from the laundromat. The story was revealed in the 2015 documentary Queen Mimi.[37]



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 film
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 Only
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 Only
Batman is Just Not That Into You Voice Only
Short Film
Tulip Fever Gerrit
2018 A Wrinkle in Time The Happy Medium
2019 The Sunlit Night Haldor
Missing Link Mr. Link/Susan Voice Only
Between Two Ferns: The Movie Himself Also Writer/Producer
2021 Ron's Gone Wrong Ron Voice Only


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–present 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 (voices) 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 (voices) 11 episodes
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 Big Mouth Gratitoad Season 4, 2 Episodes

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2009 G-Force Ben (voice)

Music videosEdit

Year Title Role Artist
2007 "Not About Love" Fiona Apple 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 nominationsEdit

Award Year Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Annie Awards 2012 Best Voice Acting in a Feature Production Puss in Boots Nominated [38]
2018 The Lego Batman Movie Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2015 Best Acting Ensemble Birdman Won [39]
MTV Movie & TV Awards 2010 Best Breakout Star The Hangover Nominated [38]
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 [40]
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 [38]
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2015 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Birdman Won [41]
Streamy Awards 2010 Best Male Actor in a Comedy Web Series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis Won [38]
2014 Best Collaboration (shared with Barack Obama) Won


  1. ^ a b "Zach Galifianakis Biography (1969–)". Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  2. ^ "After".
  3. ^ a b Wray, John (May 28, 2009). "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  4. ^ "Mr. Paul Lindsay Cashion, age 89, died Tuesday, August 16, 2005". Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Brian M. Palmer – Zach Galifianakis interview". Archived from the original on December 28, 2005.
  6. ^ Sandlin, Christopher (December 10, 2007). "Zach Galifianakis Bringing Comedy and a Thick Beard to Dallas". EDGE Gulf Coast. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  7. ^ "Zach Galifianakis: Bible full of typos | That Other Paper | Austin's ONLY Paper". That Other Paper. March 8, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Peters, Mike (March 22, 2007). "Comedian Galifianakis funny on, off stage". The Badger Herald. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  9. ^ Austin L. Ray. "Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis". Paste.
  10. ^ Baker, Gabbi (March 15, 2011). "Literature: Nick Galifianakis' Uncomfortably True Cartoons". Washington Life Magazine. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  11. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Stars In 'The Hangover'". NPR. June 9, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  12. ^ "True Confessions with Zach Galifianakis and Bill Maher". YouTube. February 17, 2016. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Devin Friedman. "Three of Our Most Serious Minds Confer..." GQ.
  14. ^ Jeremy Ray Smolik (ed.). "Actually Me: Zach Galifianakis". GQ. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021.
  15. ^ "Alan Finger talks about his song, Up In Them Guts". Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  16. ^ "Visioneers - Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation". Archived from the original on May 25, 2015.
  17. ^ A Vodka Movie by Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric from YouTube
  18. ^ "Netflix (US) Distributor - Production". IMDb. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  19. ^ Zach interviews president Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from Funny or Die
  20. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Jon Hamm". Funny Or Die.
  21. ^ "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Natalie Portman". Funny Or Die.
  22. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama". Funny Or Die.
  23. ^ "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Michael Cera". Funny Or Die.
  24. ^ "The Twilight Saga: New Moon a "Surprise" Winner at MTV Movie Awards / New Eclipse Footage". DreadCentral.
  25. ^ "clip from NBC". NBC.
  26. ^ Hartsell, Carol (March 15, 2011). "SNL Backstage: Zach Galifianakis Shaves Head Like Mr. T (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Not one toke over the line?". CNN. November 1, 2010.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Talks Puss In Boots, The Hangover 3, Dog Fight, Bored To Death". Collider. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  31. ^ Kit, Borys (August 12, 2015). "'Lego Batman' Movie Finds Its Joker (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  32. ^ "Galifianakis skips TIFF as wife about to give birth". Toronto Sun. September 8, 2013.
  33. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Welcomes Son Rufus Emmanuel".
  34. ^ Daunt, Tina (January 20, 2014). "Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis Help Raise Money for Texas Women Seeking Abortions". The Hollywood Reporter.
  35. ^ Bad Diet HQ — Zach Galifianakis leads an ATV tour of his farm in Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  36. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Has a Farm (Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah)". Vanity Fair.
  37. ^ Radloff, Jessica (May 13, 2016). "How This Homeless Woman Became Good Friends With Zach Galifianakis and Renée Zellweger". Glamour.
  38. ^ a b c d "Zach Galifianakis - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  39. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 15, 2015). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Boyhood' Wins Best Picture; 'Birdman' Leads With 7 Nods". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  40. ^ "Zach Galifianakis". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  41. ^ "SAG Awards: Complete List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2020.

External linksEdit