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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


Q: Zach, you’re kind of the ‘It’ guy right now. Did you ever think you’d become that in your life?

ZG: Well, I know that I’ll be a washup soon. The industry is very wishy-washy. They’ll build you up and then they’ll tear you down. My road to here was more or less as an underground stand-up comic, with no real intentions of being an ‘It’ guy at this point. Like tonight, I might try to go on stage somewhere again. It just kind of unfolded that way. I never was much of a go-getter. I just kind of did my thing. Through luck and a little bit of hard work, I get to be in movies and talk about them. Ad nauseam. For four straight days.

Q: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story seems to be about the thin line between sanity and insanity. Have you ever been close to that line? Which one?


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ZG: Insanity, I guess… Oh, I thought you meant sanity! Um, I think we’re all probably, more than we would want to admit, close to that line. I have certainly questioned what my mind was doing to my soul. So my answer is, yes.

Q: And what exactly is bird dogging, that reference made in this movie?

ZG: Hmm…I think that is a euphemistic way of uh, having sex with. I’ve never heard of it either. It’s actually a quote from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Yeah, it was the one homage that these filmmakers wanted to do. You’re the first to pick up on it.

Q: What about the drugs in the movie, does the idea of taking them scare you?

ZG: Um, drugs…Are we talking cocaine versus Zoloft? Well, prescription drugs, I know people who take them and they need them to get through the day. I think those drugs may help you focus, but they can zone you out. A drug company giving you a thing to make you better is bad for creativity, I think. I have never been tempted to do it. I’ve been told to do it! But I remember that after 9/11, people started taking more of those drugs. Those companies were really taking advantage of a terrible thing that happened to this country. Nobody was saying anything about it, which baffles my mind. I don’t trust those companies. But let me say this: Obviously there are some people who are in serious need of those drugs. I’m not trying to make some Scientology claim here. But sometimes I think we are over-medicated. You’re supposed to be fucked up—sometimes.

Q: What’s up next for you?

ZG: Who knows. You have a conversation with someone in Hollywood and it gets reported everywhere. You try to get involved in projects and hope they find the light of day. I just kind of show up! I have Due Date coming out in November. And that one is a sure thing.

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

Q: After making this movie, did it change your feelings at all about what exactly is madness?

ZG: Not really. I think what the filmmakers are trying to say is that there are pressures on teenagers to keep up with what’s going on all the time. I think that’s a poison, I really do.

Q: Well what about your own nutty character Bobby, who goes off the deep end too?

ZG: My character? I often wonder about those on the brink and vulnerable to today’s world. It’s hard for people to adapt. All this rapid modernization is foreign to us. It may be convenient, but I don’t know if it’s good for us. The fact that you can find out anything about anybody online now. You don’t hear much talk anymore about Big Brother. We don’t need Big Brother anymore, because we’re doing it to ourselves. I often feel this reality that we live in is a joke. But funny. But Bobby is, to me, the most similar in nature to how I am in real life. More so than the other things that I’ve played, which doesn’t speak very highly, but it just is. Bobby is a repeat offender; he’s going to keep going in and out of mental facilities. He knows he gonna fuck up again. So, given all that, if you think about it too much, it can fuck with you. And I do that!

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