Born: October 1, 1969
Blue Meter: Risqué
In match-ups against other comics:
Won: 2387 | Lost: 1055
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All video pulled from YouTube.
|2005||Patton Vs. Alcohol Vs. Zach Vs. Patton||Buy: Amazon|
Specials (and other video)
|2007||The Comedians of Comedy: Live at the Troubadour
Special features multiple performers
|Buy: Amazon | iTunes|
|2007||Live at the Purple Onion||Buy: Amazon | iTunes|
|2005||The Comedians of Comedy/Live at the El Rey||Buy: Amazon|
|2001||Comedy Central Presents Zach Galifianakis||Buy: Amazon | iTunes|
|Look Who It Isn't
Limited edition self-released DVD
Books (by and about)
|201?||Untitled Zach Galifianakis Book|
I used to temp. I called a temp agency once. They were like, “Do you have any phone skills?”
I was like, “I called you, didn’t I?”
Zach Galifianakis was born and raised in North Carolina. As a child, he would put on little performances for his parents in conjunction with his brother and sister. The subject: the Iran Contra affair.
While in high school to survive the taunts of some of his redneck classmates, he would create characters. One of which was a effeminate racist, which he would use to bond with some of the black kids in his class. Zach later attended but did not graduate from North Carolina State. He failed his last course by one point.
After the death of a best friend, Galifianakis moved to New York City to become an actor. But he found that acting classes made him laugh at the other students as they over-emoted the dramatic scenes.
He decided to try out stand-up on the encouragement from Lisa DeLarios, who was already a beginning comic. His first performance was in the back of Hamburger Harry’s, a restaurant near Times Square. First joke: “A girl told me I could sleep on her futon. I’ll tell you what I told her: I don’t sleep on anything that rhymes with crouton.”
While he developed his stand-up act, he did a variety of odd jobs including nanny, house cleaner and busboy for a strip club.
One of the best loved parts of Galifianakis’ career to his fans was his short-lived Vh1 show called “Late World with Zach.” It started off as a talk show with the idea of Galifianakis interviewing celebrity guest but his interests were in many other places and the show took a direction that often mocked the channel and its own chances for survival.
As part of the Comedians of Comedy, Zach Galifianakis joined fellow comics Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford. The tour focuses on bringing stand-up outside the typical comedy club experience, reaching audiences that more frequent attend music venues. He was part of both documentaries that have covered the tour - the movie, which covered the west coast swing of the tour, and the six episode Comedy Central TV show, which covered the east coast. Galifianakis still on occassion tours with the Comedians of Comedy, but has been the more floating member, replaced on occasion by comics like Eugene Mirman.
In 2005, he filmed a set at San Francisco’s Purple Onion nightclub for release on DVD, which came in 2007 with “Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion” from Shout Factory. The DVD presents stand-up in a far less polished way both in performance and in direction, an attempt by Galifianakis to make something more representative of the actual live experience. The set is very intimate, with Galifianakis occasionally following tangents inspired by the audience—at one point he quizes an older audience member about why he’s even at the performance. A DVD extra features him making an audience member slap his face hard multiple times.
Zach Galifianakis finds it awkward to perform in front of family members and frequently advises them to not come see him.
Though he has had offers from labels, Galifianakis has said that he doesn’t see why he should do a CD. Much of his rationale is that he considers his stand-up very visual. Galifianakis probably goes through enough material for several albums however, as he attempts to perform three new jokes every time he performs. Also, once a joke is out in the public, on TV or DVD, he stops performing it.
One of Zach’s trademarks is the piano played under some of his jokes. The discovery of this part of his act was purely coincidental. During a performance at the Los Angeles club Largo, Galifianakis noticed a piano set up on stage for the many music acts that also perform at the venue. He decided to try it out with some of his bits. He found that he liked the juxtaposition and continues it in his act today.
Galifianakis currently splits his time between Venice Beach, California and a farm he owns in the mountains of North Carolina. He frequently mentions using the farm as a writer colony, but no concrete plans have been forthcoming as of yet.