Zach attack

In just a few hectic years the bearded face and unwieldy moniker of comedian Zach Galifianakis has appeared in such cinema classics as Bubble Boy and Corky Romano; on TV in Fox’s Tru Calling, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, his own VH1 series Late World with Zach, and lip synching in the memorable Fiona Apple video for "Not About Love." He’s best known as a founding member of the Comedians of Comedy Tour, alongside his equally odd comedic soul mates, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford. A 2005 documentary chronicled the popular comedy tour, revealing the camaraderie, restlessness, obsessive dorkiness and frequent nudity of the touring comic’s lifestyle. The film helped cement Galifianakis’s reputation as a leading light in the "alternative comedy" world, a realm that’s blooming, though hard to define. Whatever it is, it’s working; his style of brainy, clever and pointedly absurdist comedy is attracts audiences. The cult of Zach Galifianakis is steadily growing.

Metro Times yukked it up with the cult comedian about his past and future as a funnyman.

Metro Times: Did you make beards sexy again?

Zach Galifianakis: Well yes, I did along with Susan B. Anthony.

MT: That makes sense. Your "18th century comedian" is my favorite of your bits.

Galifianakis: Oh, thank ye, thank ye. That’s a bit I like to call "writer’s block." Meaning, when I can’t think of any other jokes, I turn to a character.

MT: So you have the powdered wig ready to go at a moment’s notice?

Galifianakis: I don’t really do that bit anymore; it’s kind of been exposed.

MT: So once a bits been on TV it’s burned?

Galifianakis: You have to keep surprising them, there is some material that I go back to, but you have to keep writing and trying new things.

MT: Do you tour with a piano?

Galifianakis: I don’t do a lot of piano stuff anymore, that’s another thing that was great, but I started getting known for it. I thought it was a bit limiting.

MT: So you don’t really have a signature bit?

Galifianakis: That’s a good thing, it keeps me sharp, and otherwise you’re like Dice doing nursery rhymes for the rest of time.

MT: You use a lot of improv in your set?

Galifianakis: Well, I have my jokes that I have to do, but I leave a certain amount of space to talk to the crowd each night.

MT: What if the crowd is a bunch of turds?

Galifianakis: That’s even better. I’m prepared for it: I know how to deal with them.

MT: What’s your take on the Joe Rogan vs. Carlos Mencia war? Why are comedians always fighting with each other?

Galifianakis: You know, I don’t really know. I understand that there’s no excuse for stealing or the stuff Carlos does, but it’s not something I really want to get in the middle of.

MT: Isn’t it hard to steal from you because your style is so weird?

Galifianakis: Oh, you’d be surprised.

MT: Do you have a feud with any other comics?

Galifianakis: Rip Taylor.

MT: Did he steal your confetti routine?

Galifianakis: Let’s just say there’s a reckoning coming.

MT: But you get along with the other Comedians of Comedy?

Galifianakis: Oh, yeah, I love all of them. I’m so proud of that tour and the documentary: I hope we keep doing it until we’re crotchety senior citizens.

MT: So you weren’t annoyed by Brian and Patton having to stop the bus and find a comic book store in each town?

Galifianakis: Those guys are the real deal, true geeks. I called up Brian one time and he was like "Why are you calling me?" I said, "What do you mean?" and he says, "It’s Dungeons and Dragons night. You know you’re not supposed to call during the campaign." Those guys are just so deep into nerd world, I’m like the jock.

MT: If you’re the sporto in the click then there are problems.

Galifianakis: It’s pretty tragic.

MT: Was just it me or were those guys constantly naked on tour?

Galifianakis: I actually wrote very tender love letters to both of their testicles telling them how much I missed each beautiful, sweaty nut.

MT: Do you hang out with those guys a lot?

Galifianakis: All the time, when they’re not busy leveling up their dwarves.

MT: So they would hang, but they’re already waiting in the ticket line for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?

Galifianakis: Exactly. They’re out shopping for capes.


Saturday, March 31 at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress; 313-961-MELT. Tickets are $20.

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