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Interview: Zach Galifianakis

The stand-up comedian turned actor on insanity, being on the cover of bear magazines and having sex on screen

There’s no doubt Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy, which made him a natural for the inmate takeover of a hospital psychiatric wing in It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. But is Zach, following his recent attendance at the Dinner for Schmucks, up to the task of being a man’s man? According to my conversation with the former stand-up comic-turned-movie star, the answer is yes and no. During the conversation, I occasionally got to turn the tables and make him laugh for a change, too. Among other strange revelations dished out by Zach were a determination not to let his fear of snakes get in the way of being on the macho side, mulling the idea of becoming a sex symbol, confessing his tendency to get squeamish about going bottomless in movies, and doing sex scenes—but only if it’s with yours truly.

Zach Galifianakis: Hello, I’m Zach!

Q: Hey, Zach. Do you consider yourself a man’s man?


ZG: Uh…It depends. I’m not much of a groomer, and I’m scared of snakes. Well, just like Indiana Jones! So, somewhat yes and then somewhat no. Yeah, a little bit of a manly man.

Click here to view more photos from It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

Q: You’ve been getting into some romantic situations on screen lately, however strange they may be. Do you see yourself becoming a sex symbol down the road somewhere?

ZG: Ha! No, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Wait a minute, what romantic things have I been doing? You must be getting me confused with Denzel Washington! But no, I don’t think there’s a big market for bear erotica! You know how a lot of actors end up fat and bearded? I’m going the reverse route. I’m going to lose the beard and lose a bunch of weight. Then maybe, hopefully, I can be considered for the romantic lead. But those parts are so boring. That kind of stuff just doesn’t interest me. The poor actors are always so bland. I don’t think I have to worry about it!

Q: What about doing sex scenes? Could you see yourself getting it on in those?

ZG: Well, if you’re involved… Um, no. No, absolutely not!

Q: How come?

ZG: I don’t even like to watch people make out in a movie. To me it’s like, “This has nothing to do with the story.” I don’t know, I don’t like it.

Q: But what about for yourself, being in a sex scene?

ZG: It’s embarrassing. I’ve had to do a few kissing scenes, and I’ve had to do a few scenes where I was bottomless. It’s just embarrassing. Everything I do is an embarrassment. That’s what people don’t realize: It’s just one giant embarrassment—for a good paycheck!

Q: Well, do you think you’ve cultivated the bear market? Like you’re sort of No. 2 behind Kevin Smith right now.

ZG: Oh god. Kevin Smith? Uh, if I were on the cover of bear magazines, being a straight person, it might be a little confusing. But there was a bear club that I was once tempted to walk inside. To cuddle!

Q: How do you think you got that reputation in gay circles?

ZG: I did once get a fan letter that said, “The television show you’re on has a lot of skinny, good looking guys. But I prefer chubby, bearded, sloth-like guys like yourself.” Sarcastically, I e-mailed back and said, “Oh, my fantasies have come true.” And you know, I’m so glad that this happened. It’s always been a dream of mine to be the object of desire of a Venezuelan doctor. He was a doctor, from Venezuela!

Q: Then what happened?

ZG: Immediately I get nine pornographic pictures of him.

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