Zach Galifianakis Super Uncomfortable With Fame Or Just A Jerk? 10 Things Learned From RS Profile

by Edward Davis
June 13, 2011 8:17 AM
31 Comments
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OK, it's taken this writer forever, but he's finally caught up with this long, in-depth, amusing and candid Rolling Stone profile on "The Hangover" star Zach Galifianakis.

From all these outrageous quotes from the comedian and A-lister there's about three things to be gleaned and/or three ways to take his quotes. 1) The "Bored to Death" star is genuinely uncomfortable with fame. It unnerves him, unsettles him, occasionally turns him into a big jerk. Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes purposely. "I'm terrible about people wanting to take pictures with me," he told Rolling Stone. "I'm a giant baby about it. They treat you like a cartoon. There's nothing you can do except make light of it. That's if I'm in the mood. Sometimes I get superbummed."

2) He's sort of just a jerk. Many quotes herein will suggest this. 3) He likes to fuck around with people and or possibly interviewers. Who knows if any of these anecdotes are true?

Either way, it's a fascinating piece and a must-read about one of our culture's biggest comedians, who refuses to play the game, and seems to march by the beat of his very own odd drum. Here's 10-odd things we learned from the article called, "Getting Baked With Zach Galifianakis." Yes, he's a big stoner which could contribute to why he says crazy shit to journalists. Either way, we're with it and encourage Galifianakis to remain as frank as possible. Oh yeah, he uses dip for real, loves racist jokes (think sand and the n-bomb even though he knows they are indefensible) and calls all the shows he worked on "shitcoms." Gotta love the candidness.


1. Galifianakis tried to get fired from the show "Tru Calling" by insulting its star Eliza Dushku.
According to the profile, Galifianakis hated "Tru Calling" and was desperate to get off the show, so he decided the best way to get out of his contract was to get fired. He would tell Dushku she was "eating her way to cancellation." Other times, after a table read he would stand up and say to the writer, “Great script, Karen,” and then proceed to throw the script in the trash.

2. He failed miserably at selling Britney Spears on a joke he had pitched her during his super short-lived SNL writing stint.
He pitched her an idea where she was being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight and then suddenly for no rhyme or reason, she would start bleeding from the mouth. She didn't get it. “I remember staring at the ground for, like, 20 seconds, just silent,” Galifianakis said. “45,000 open mics, and I’m trying to impress this 18-year-old pop star.” He lasted all of two weeks on the show as a writer.

3. He turned down an offer to be appear on the Oscar broadcast right after his first stint hosting "SNL."
The first time he hosted SNL was the day before the Oscars. Friend and fellow comedienne Sarah Silverman says they wanted to fly him out the next morning to be on the show, but he shrugged it off. "Zach was like, 'nah.' " she said with a smile. "What's cooler than hosting 'Saturday Night Live' and then jetting to L.A. to be on the Oscars? I guess saying, 'Nah.' "

4.He's very uncomfortable with his fame, which others will misinterpret as being dick-ish yet he's super sensitive when it comes down to it.
Others believe this mistrust and hatred is genuine though. "I think the hating of Hollywood is a little bit of a defense mechanism," Todd Phillips told RS. "There's a truth to it – Zach has a very severe bullshit detector – but I think some of it has to come from dealing with rejection for so long. Living in a van. Having to go to auditions in Burbank. People not getting it."


5. He turned down million dollar spokesperson/sponsorship deals from major companies.
Time Warner offered him $700,000 to be a spokesperson after "The Hangover" which he rejected. Nike approached him to be a pitchman and on a conference call that (obviously) didn't go well he started off by saying, "Do do you guys still have seven-year olds making stuff?"

6. He made it hard for Sean Penn to hire him for "Into The Wild."
Galifianakis has no publicist so when you try and contact him, you've got to call him personally. So for Sean Penn's third directorial effort, he hired the comedian for a small role in his wilderness drama "Into The Wild" starring Emile Hirsch. Penn calls and Zach says he has to go to Arby’s and to "send my Jews the script." Somehow, Galifianakis still got the part.

7. He inadvertently insulted one of Robert Downey Jr.'s friends the first they he met him to discuss Todd Phillips' "Due Date"
"The Hangover" star bikes over to Robert Downey Jr.'s house, showing up all sweaty and late (it's a 15 mile ride). One of the first things he does is insult a woman who it turns out used to live with Downey Jr. He then drank four glasses of wine and got so drunk director Todd Phillips had to throw his bike in his trunk and drive him home.

8. He likes getting high.
"Do you want to come over to my house and eat pot chocolates?" he asked the Rolling Stone writer who proceeded to get high with him (gee, can we have that job?).

9. He blew off Ke$ha to her face.
“I saw that Ke$ha woman the other day,” he told the magazine. She had e-mailed him asking him to get together for a drink. A few days later he claims he ran into her and delivered this exchange. “She was sitting by herself, and I walked up to her and said, ‘Listen, I got your e-mail. Your music is really bad! I don’t know who listens to it, but I imagine it’s, like, six-year-olds – and it’s a bad message.’ ”

10. He inadvertently insulted some famous gay people.
At a White House Correspondents' Dinner this year he wandered to the pool area and ran into Jane Lynch, her wife and "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his boyfriend. "Nice to meet you!" he said to the group not really realizing who everyone was. "I didn't realize it was Gay Night by the swimming pool. I walked away like, 'Another good one!'" he said. "But my girlfriend said, 'I gotta tell you, Zach – that did not go over well. You have to watch people's reactions!'"

So, what do you think: uncomfortable, a jerk or just being totally hilarious? We'd like to think it's probably all three and we're sure there may be a bit of exaggeration to some extent here (at one point in the interview he claims he has no idea how much money he was paid for 'The Hangover Part 2' and that he tells his accountant to keep $10,000 accessible for him in a bank account). However, one gets an overall impression that Galifianakis isn't eager to lose the core of who he is to the Hollywood machine and if that means not playing nice with flash-in-the-pan stars like Ke$ha then so be it. Never change Zach.

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31 Comments

  • nyasha | March 26, 2013 1:31 AMReply

    he is so funny, talented, and, brilliant...but that doesn't make up for the fact that he is a total dick.

  • Helgy | June 30, 2011 4:01 AMReply

    Personally I am fascinated his hazel eyes, and the intensity of his gaze as he delivers deadpan jokes. I think hi comedy is quirky and dark. He reminds of Andy Kaufman, another misunderstood comic from the 70's. Andy would put on what seemed fake wrestling matches with women but used to get this a** kicked. He was also an SNL alumni.
    I loved his special "Zach Galifiankis:Live" at The Purple Onion in San Francisco. I seen three times and is it brilliant. His movie "A Funny thing Happen" was warm and touching. His acting was spot on.
    Look, I don't care what he does in his personal life, all I know that his acting and stand-up is f**king great.

  • jingmei | June 20, 2011 10:04 AMReply

    he rocks!

  • Lulz | June 15, 2011 9:30 AMReply

    It's hard to rage against the world when you're a hypocrite.

  • alx | June 15, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    I can't think of too many people who need to be insulted more than stars and celebrities. Give me a fucking break people.

  • Anna | June 15, 2011 7:51 AMReply

    Hello Mr Annonymous, sorry I just put Bored To Death as Zach's show Anniston was on. I am just asleep today I guess. The show was Between Two Ferns that he insulted her during and continually backstage. The footage can be looked up as Jennifer Anniston's visit to Between Two Ferns. It shows him making her stand for awhile, then making her move the plant etc. Sorry about that.

  • Anna | June 15, 2011 7:38 AMReply

    I am a huge Robert Downey Jr fan. So, I watched all of the interviews that Robert and Todd Phillips did during the Due Date premieres. I also was sent copies, by friends, of the ones that were done by all 3 men, over seas. Alot of those statements about their dinner together Robert and Todd spoke about on the ET and EXTRA interviews. I think they are still on YouTube. One of them is a 4 parter. The White House Dinner Party, you can look up on line. Try typing in Zach Galifianakis at The White House Dinner. That might bring it up for you. The others well, you can look up Anniston's visit to Bored to Death.( Also other stars he has insulted.) Zach seems to be a really interesting person. You really don't have to look very far to find terrible things Zach has said or done to others. Most of the things he has done you can now find on line. Once you become a star, when you shoot your mouth off and hurt others "everyone hears about it" . Have Fun!!!

  • Mr Anonymous | June 14, 2011 11:31 AMReply

    Anna i'm loving this extra info! Where you hear all this from? :D

  • Damon | June 14, 2011 5:52 AMReply

    From the sound of things, I'd wager he's just developmentally arrested in some ways. He exhibits a few behaviours I've come to recognize in exceptionally anxious and neurotic individuals. In consequence, yeah, he's a jerk. But more often than not, he probably doesn't mean to be.

    As for his talent and his career, it pretty much seems as though he hit a few breaks and is along for the ride that the Hollywood system provides. Not really a matter of genius or artistic-integrity vs. commercial corruption, but rather just a not-quite-right manchild who's making a living doing something he moderately enjoys and sees just as much bullshit and compromise as would anybody in most lines of work.

  • simon | June 14, 2011 5:01 AMReply

    Okay I don't feel one way or another about him. Might be funny, might not, might be nice, might not, I don't know.

    But all this "doesn't want to play the Hollywood game" stuff.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but hasn't the guy has just made one of the most artistically bankrupt sequels of all time?

    Cash the checks and don't pretend you ain't playing the game.

  • Just ME | June 14, 2011 2:22 AMReply

    I think he is just a brilliant dude. So smart and talented..

  • Just ME | June 14, 2011 2:21 AMReply

    I think he is just a brilliant dude. So smart and talented..

  • hacka`ttack | June 14, 2011 2:20 AMReply

    He doesn't like the conformist nature of Hollywood. The live life like a public service announcement, drive a Prius, drink a latte, support equal rights fake-ness of it all.

    But I think he hasn't shown a ton of range in his roles so far. Alan from the hangover was his own creation. The rest have seem tired and very underdeveloped.

  • Christopher Bell | June 14, 2011 1:57 AMReply

    Interviewed him for "Funny Story" and he was not only very kind, but very intelligent and thoughtful. Not everyone wants to play the bullshit Hollywood game, but few are so vocal about it. I can empathize with his frustration and bull-shitless attitude.

  • Some Guy | June 14, 2011 1:14 AMReply

    I met Zach a few years ago and he couldn't have been more nice and down to Earth. Easily the nicest and most sincere celebrity I've ever met. Of course, this was Pre-Hangover.

  • Anna | June 14, 2011 1:13 AMReply

    Actually what he did to Robert Downey Jr was arrive late to his home for dinner. He smelled bad, was sweaty and had 2 bottles of wine as a gift for Downey Jr.(Who doesn't drink and is a recovered alcoholic.) Then at dinner he insulted Robert 2-3 times making drug and bad Jew references. Then he asked Robert at the dinner table while they were eating if Sarah Jessica Parker was fantastic in bed and what it was like to live with her for 7 years - in front of Susan Downey. Susan was very upset by this -which of course, made Robert upset. It was Robert that drove Zach home not Todd. So, their relationship tended to always suffer due to negative remarks by Zack toward Robert's character and him not respecting Robert during filming.
    Actually, I doubt Zack respects anyone but himself. He is becoming quite a conceited jerk. He also feels that his opinion only should matter. On his HBO show, he treats most guests poorly. He put a huge potted plant in the chair Jennifer Anniston was supposed to use, when she came out he made her stand through most of the show, insinuating she was a whore. At the White House dinner recently, he told Jane Lynch and several other important people that he didn't think that they would allow so many gays into the building. This insulted them. He made an a** out of himself at the White House. So, my big guess is he hates everyone but himself. He is just to big for his self. He loves the money but not the popularity that goes with it - at 41 years of age he just needs to grow up or get out of the business.

  • Cam | June 13, 2011 10:33 AMReply

    It's one thing to be a jerk, but an untalented jerk?
    Wow...

  • Steven Challick | January 16, 2013 6:38 PM

    You seem to only be a loser who sits and judges folks on message boards. Great work as a human. You must be so very pleased with yourself.

  • Glenn | June 13, 2011 9:53 AMReply

    He's a professional writer and performer of dark comedy. If he toned it down because people are uncomfortable he'd be out of practice. It's not like the Michael Kramer "joke" where, in addition to being racist, it doesn't make any sense. Every one of these examples is a qualified act of pushing the envelope and he's probably been fired and lived in a van because he has the courage to accept the consequences.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | June 13, 2011 9:37 AMReply

    I dunno, I woud love to get totally stoned with Zach G.

  • Mr Anonymous | June 13, 2011 9:34 AMReply

    I love Zach G, i love him as an actor and a comedian. I think the guy's great but after reading this....yeah he hates fame but that's no excuse to be a dick! That's how he comes across. Zach - manners, they don't cost you anything!

    You know what they say about when they say you should never meet your idols/heroes cos they'll only disappoint you. I think this is one of those times! Shame. Was hoping he'd be a nice guy, unfortunately not!

  • Kathleen Walsh | June 13, 2011 9:21 AMReply

    ZG's brand of humor is awkward and off putting. That is the whole point of "Between Two Ferns." Before he was super famous, I had a very odd "interaction" with him at a party and I think that's just the kind of guy he is. A little off, a little strange and he sees the funny in keeping people off-kilter. Not for everyone, but no I don't think he is a jerk.

  • Ryan | June 13, 2011 9:11 AMReply

    @Edward Davis Yeah, that's true. I guess you can't really win when you're in his position.

  • jimmiescoffee | June 13, 2011 9:10 AMReply

    i have trouble liking galifianakis. the mel gibson thing bothered me and he just seems average in general. his 'fern show' or whatever the fuck its called is funny but his acting is one note.

    him taking the moral high ground in situations and then whoring 'hangover 2' is a joke.

  • Edward Davis | June 13, 2011 9:06 AMReply

    "As @this guy suggests..."

  • Edward Davis | June 13, 2011 9:05 AMReply

    @Ryan because people like @Brad will assume, based on these quotes that he's something much worse then a jerk. Personally, I love the dude. @This guy suggests, his stand-up is utterly brilliant.

  • Kim | June 13, 2011 9:04 AMReply

    I actually really liked him in "Tru Calling." In fact if I ever saw him in person I would probably mention it. It sucks that he hated it. That show was the first thing I noticed him in and he made the show not as awful as it was.

  • this guy | June 13, 2011 9:02 AMReply

    His stand-up was, and always will be, beyond brilliant. The guy is hilarious and so very often, misunderstood or never understood at all. And I simply love the fact that he isn't changing, even with his increasing success.

  • Brad | June 13, 2011 9:00 AMReply

    What a douche. Can't stand this guy.

  • carrie | June 13, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    he sound like his character from THE HANGOVER in this interview

  • Ryan | June 13, 2011 8:51 AMReply

    I don't understand the purpose of labeling an actor as a 'jerk'. What does that have to do with anything?

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