Zachary Knight Galifianakis (; born October 1, 1969) is an American actor, writer and comedian. He 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), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), Puss in Boots (2011), Masterminds (2016) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
He currently hosts the Emmy Award-winning talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die website and executive produces, writes, and stars in the dark comedy series Baskets on FX.
Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), is a community arts center owner, and his father, Harry, is a heating oil vendor. His mother has Scottish ancestry, while his paternal grandparents, Mike Galifianakis and Sophia Kastrinakis, were immigrants from Crete, Greece, and Galifianakis was baptized in his father's Greek Orthodox church. He has a younger sister named Merritt and an older brother named Greg. His cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis. 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.
He began acting on television, guest-starring in Boston Common and joined Saturday Night Live as a writer but lasted only two weeks. 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.
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. 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)", a comedic rap/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 Jackassworld.com: 24 Hour Takeover. He interviewed various members of the Jackass cast. Galifianakis starred in first leading role in the independent film Visioneers which played in select cities in 2008. 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. He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.
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, Michael Cera, Jon Hamm, Natalie Portman, 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, Hillary Clinton, and Brad Pitt. His interview style consists of typical interview questions, bizarre non sequiturs, awkward product endorsements and sometimes inappropriate sexual questions and comments. 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.
Galifianakis played Alan Garner in the hit comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award for the Best Comedic Performance. 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 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 then closed the show wearing a fake beard. 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.
In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story, 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; 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 and voiced Humpty Dumpty in Puss in Boots. Galifianakis starred alongside Will Ferrell in Jay Roach's 2012 political comedy The Campaign. 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.
In January 2014, it was announced that Galifianakis and Louis C.K. were developing a comedy pilot for FX.
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, and Galifianakis missed the premiere of his film Are You Here to attend the birth. He had a second child in November 2016.
Lundberg's cousin, Charlie Clark, is the mayor of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. On the day of the election, Galifianakis made a video endorsing Clark's campaign.
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.
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."
Galifianakis befriended an octogenarian homeless woman 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.
|1998–2002||Stella shorts||Santa||Short film|
|2001||Bubble Boy||Bus stop man|
|2007||Into the Wild||Kevin Wallis|
|2008||What Happens in Vegas||Dave the bear|
|2009||The Ballad of G.I. Joe||Snow Job||Short film|
|2009||The Hangover||Alan Garner|
|2009||G-Force||Ben Paredes||Also in the video game|
|2009||Up in the Air||Steve Sewa|
|2009||Little Fish, Strange Pond||Bucky|
|2009||Youth in Revolt||Jerry|
|2010||Dinner for Schmucks||Therman Murch|
|2010||It's Kind of a Funny Story||Bobby|
|2010||Due Date||Ethan Tremblay / Ethan Chase|
|2011||The Hangover Part II||Alan Garner|
|2011||Puss in Boots||Humpty Dumpty (voice)|
|2011||The Muppets||Hobo Joe|
|2012||Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie||Jim Joe Kelly|
|2012||The Campaign||Marty Huggins||Also producer|
|2013||The Hangover Part III||Alan Garner|
|2014||Are You Here||Ben Baker|
|2014||Muppets Most Wanted||Hobo Joe||Cameo|
|2014||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Jake|
|2016||Keeping Up with the Joneses||Jeff Gaffney|
|2017||The Lego Batman Movie||The Joker (voice)|
|2018||A Wrinkle in Time||The Happy Medium||Post-production|
|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!||Tairy Greene / Various characters||7 episodes|
|2008–present||Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis||Host||22 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|
|2012–2017||Bob's Burgers||Chet / Felix (voices)||10 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–present||Baskets||Chip Baskets / Dale Baskets||20 episodes; also co-creator, writer and executive producer|
|2016||Bajillion Dollar Propertie$||The Bloodhound||Episode: "Victoria Awakens"|
|2007||"Not About Love"||Fiona Apple||Fiona Apple|
|2007||"Can't Tell Me Nothing"||Himself||Kanye West website|
|2012||"Outta My System"||Wizard||My Morning Jacket band|
|2013||"Spring Break Anthem"||Himself||The Lonely Island song|
Awards and nominations
|2009||MTV Movie Award||Best Comedic Performance||The Hangover||Won|
|Best Breakthrough Performance
(shared with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms)
|Houston Film Critics Society Award||Best Supporting Actor||The Hangover||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||Best Cast||Up in the Air||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Up in the Air||Nominated|
|2010||The Comedy Awards||Best Comedy Actor||Dinner for Schmucks||Won|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Comedic Performance||Due Date||Won|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actor - Comedy||Due Date||Nominated|
|2011||Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actor - Comedy||The Hangover Part II||Won|
|Choice Movie: Chemistry
(shared with Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms)
|The Hangover Part II||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Comedic Performance||The Hangover Part II||Nominated|
|Annie Award||Voice Acting in a Feature Production||Puss in Boots||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series||Saturday Night Live||Nominated|
|2012||MTV Movie Award||Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Will Ferrell)||The Campaign||Nominated|
|2014||Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Boston Online Film Critics Association||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Detroit Film Critics Society Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|New York Film Critics Online Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|North Texas Film Critics Association Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|San Diego Film Critics Society Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Won|
|Boston Society of Film Critics Award||Best Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics Circle Award||Best Cast||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis||Won|
|2015||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis||Won|
|2017||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Comedy Movie Actor||Keeping Up with the Joneses||Pending|
|2017||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Baskets||Pending|