Zach Galifianakis is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian who rose to stardom with his role as the weirdly lovable “Alan Garner” in the comedy hit, The Hangover. He also starred in films, such as Due Date
(2010), The Hangover Part 2
(2011), The Hangover Part 3
(2013), The Campaign
(2014) and Puss in Boots
(2011). He is famously known for his unique sense of humor. The show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis
features him, actually mock-interviewing well known personalities between two potted ferns. In 2016, he starred in the dark comedy TV show Baskets which telecasts on FX. He is also scheduled to play The Joker, Batman’s archnemesis in the The Lego Batman
Zachary Knight "Zach" Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Mary Frances, a community arts center owner, and Harry Galifianakis, a heating oil vendor on October 1, 1969. While his mother has a Scottish ancestry, his father’s family are immigrants from Crete, Greece. He has a younger sister Merritt and an older brother Greg.
Galifianakis attended the Wilkes Central High School, where he cracked up everyone, especially the black kids, with his first trademark character -- "an effeminate redneck, with a wildly exaggerated lisp, whose mother warned him about coming into physical contact with black people." Galifianakis was enthusiastic about getting into acting right after graduation. But he went on to major in communication from the North Carolina State University, giving in to his parent’s wish. He did, however, drop out without a graduation degree before the course completion.
After dropping out of college, Galifianakis came to New York in 1995 and met stand-up comedian Lisa deLarios. Looking at his weird brand of humor, she insisted him to try out stand-up comedy. Galifianakis started off his stand-up comedy career with a performance at the back of a hamburger joint, Hamburger Harry’s in Times Square. He performed at various places including coffee shops and universities. To make ends meet, he would clean houses, tend to kids as a nanny and hangout at stripclubs as busboy. He started performing at comedy clubs but realized his weirdly dark humor wasn’t for New York.
Galifianakis married Quinn Lundberg in August 2012. On September 7, 2013 Galifianakis missed the premiere of his film Are You Here to attend the birth of his first child, a boy.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and made his television debut role as Bobby, a recurring character on the short-lived NBC sitcom Boston Common. He was part of five episodes and then the show was cancelled. Galifianakis also acted in the MTV comedy Apt. 2F, until it was unceremoniously taken off air. In 2001, people took notice of his Comedy Central Special. The following year VH1 let him make his own show called Late World with Zach. The show lasted for nine weeks.
Tru Calling (2003) was a FOX fantasy drama which had Eliza Dushku as Tru Davies and Galifianakis as her colleague who works at the mortuary. The show lasted two seasons and helped Galifianakis show off his dramatic side. Galifianakis joined the Comedians of Comedy tour with alternate comedians Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford. In Comedy Central's Dog Bites Man (2006), Galifianakis wrote, co-produced, and starred as Alan Finger.
He played a comic book artist, Ray Hueston and the main character’s best friend in the HBO comedy series Bored to Death (2009). Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis is a talk show which has him interviewing celebrities between two ferns. The show is known for its bizarre setting. The guests and Galifianakis often trade insults. The guest list included his co-star from The Hangover Bradley Cooper, Michael Cera, Charlize Theron, Jon Hamm, talk-show host Conan O’Brien and many others.
The exposure he gained on the comedy show Apt. 2F paved way to his first movie role, The King and Me. The next five years saw him in taking up bit roles in various films like Flushed, the Jake Gyllenhaal
starrer Bubble Boy and Corky Romano to name a few. In 2009, the road trip comedy The Hangover
, which is one of the highest grossing comedies ever, Galifianakis starred as the oddball “Alan Garner”. And just like that he was thrust into public limelight, which he was uncomfortable with. He was also a part of the CGI-heavy kids movie, G-Force
. Up in the Air
had Galifianakis act alongside George Clooney
. Clooney’s character enjoyed firing people and Galifianakis was an employee who was laid-off. He followed that up with Youth in Revolt.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) had Galifianakis in the psychiatric wing, co-starring with Keir Gilchrist
. Road trips and Galifianakis go hand in hand, as he starred in the road trip comedy, Due Date
(2010) alongside Robert Downey Jr.
Galifianakis also had a blink-and-miss role in the biographical road drama, Into the Wild. He voiced "Humpty Dumpty" in the animated film, Puss in Boots
(2011). He also played Hobo Joe in The Muppets
(2011). The Campaign
(2012) had Galifianakis star alongside someone who was as weirdly comedic as himself, Will Ferrell
. Galifianakis’ acting career took a dramatic turn when he was cast in Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu
’s multiple award winning movie Birdman
or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).