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Zach Galifianakis was born on October 1, 1969, in Wilkesboro, North Carolina to parents Harry and Mary Galifianakis. As a child, Zach was raised in a Greek Orthodox home.
In the late 1980s, Galifianakis attended North Carolina State University. He dropped out of college just one credit short of graduating, however, and moved to New York City. While in New York in 1995, Galifianakis met stand-up comedian Lisa deLarios, who pushed him to try his hand at stand-up comedy. Galifianakis performed his first show at a restaurant in Times Square called Hamburger Harry's. After a year of honing his skills in New York City, Galifianakis moved to Los Angeles, where he thought his bizarre brand of comedy would find a better reception.
In 1997, Zach Galifianakis made his television debut as Bobby in the short-lived NBC sitcom Boston Common. He would reprise the role a total of five times before the show was canceled. He gained additional exposure on the short-lived MTV comedy, Apt. 2F, in 1997 and his 1999 movie debut in The King and Me. Galifianakis briefly hosted his own cable talk show on VH1 called Late World With Zach in 2002. The show was not well received, and was cancelled shortly after it aired. From 2003 to 2005, Galifianakis played his longest-running recurring role on the sci-fi drama Tru Calling.
Meanwhile, Galifianakis continued to tour small clubs across the country with other unconventional stand-up acts such as Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford and Brian Posehn. A very popular documentary was made of the tour, titled The Comedians of Comedy, which offered great exposure for Galifianakis. The tour helped Zach land a recurring role on the hit Comedy Central Show, Reno 911, as well as the co-host slot on the short-lived mock news program, Dog Bites Man. In 2008, Galifianakis became widely known for a series of Internet shorts for Absolut Vodka. The low-budget films became viral hits. That same year, Galifianakis created his own Internet comedy talk show called Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. The show was hosted on Will Ferrell's very popular comedy site, Funny or Die. Galifianakis was purposely awkward and strange in the short, five-minute clips as he interviewed many celebrities.
In 2009, Galifianakis landed his most famous role to date alongside Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover. The movie, directed by Todd Phillips, won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical in 2010. That same year, Galifianakis had a small but memorable role in the Oscar nominated George Clooney film, Up in the Air. He is currently starring in the critically acclaimed HBO series Bored to Death, opposite Jason Schwartzman
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