Zacharius Knight "Zach" Galifianakis (born October 1, 1969) 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 in the early 2010s for his roles in the Todd Phillips-directed comedy films The Hangover and Due Date.
Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. His mother, Mary Francis, ran a community center for the arts, and his father, Harry Galifianakis, was a heating oil vendor who emigrated from Crete, Greece. Galifianakis was raised in his father's Greek Orthodox faith. He has two siblings, a younger sister, Merritt, and an older brother, Greg. His uncle, Nick Galifianakis, was a congressman from North Carolina between 1967 and 1973.
Galifianakis attended Wilkes Central High School, and subsequently North Carolina State University, where he majored in communication.
Galifianakis' career began on television in 1996, when he played the recurring role of a stoner named Billy in the short-lived sitcom Boston Common. Then he joined Saturday Night Live
as a writer but only lasted 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.
Galifianakis 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 talk show called Late World with Zach. His next television role was as a coroner named Davis in the Fox drama Tru Calling, which lasted from 2003 to 2005. 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! as Tairy Greene, the Snuggler, et al.
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. He left the tour and has been replaced by Eugene Mirman.
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. He also completed the pilot Speed Freaks for Comedy Central.
Galifianakis co-starred in the comedy The Hangover and earned the MTV Movie Award
for the Best Comedic Performance. Following The Hangove
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.
In 2010, he starred in several films, including Dinner for Schmucks, It's Kind of a Funny Story, and Due Date.
Galifianakis will appear in the sequel to The Hangover. In October 2010, it was reported that Galifianakis prevented Mel Gibson
from making a cameo appearance in The Hangover Part II.
On October 29, 2010, while debating marijuana legalization on the show HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher
, Galifianakis appeared to have smoked a marijuana joint on live television which host Bill Maher denied in an interview with Wolf Blitzer during an episode of "The Situation Room".
Biography courtesy of Wikipedia