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Zach Galifianakis From Fringes to Mainstream

Zach Galifianakis is a fast rising star in Hollywood Zach Galifianakis is a fast rising star in Hollywood

Just a couple of years ago, Zach Galifianakis was a comedian with a growing cult and internet following, but wasn’t exactly a household name. Since his breakout role in 2009’s hit comedy, The Hangover, that has started to change. This Fall Galifianakis stars in two more big screen features – It’s Kind Of a Funny Story and Due Date with Robert Downey Jr. and Danny McBride.

Galifianakis first started to attract attention following his quirky appearances on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show. Before that, he had roles in cult TV shows like Wonder Showzen, Reno 911, and Dog Bites Man, but was only starting to generate a buzz.

His concert DVD Zach Galifiankis: Live From the Purple Onion put him on the map as a unique stand-up comic and someone to watch, but his biggest pre-Hangover success may have been his internet talk show, Between Two Ferns.

Between Two Ferns first appeared on Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die web site, where new episodes continue to air. They feature Galifianakis interviewing various celebrities in a cheap looking studio. Galifianakis makes purposefully lame jokes and disconcerting comments to his guests, who play along gamely as if they weren’t in on the joke. Guests have included Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Jon Hamm, Stever Carell, Ben Stiller, and Sean Pean.

Then in 2009, The Hangover became a sleeper hit. The low-budget comedy rocketed to the #1 spot in North America, making instant celebrities of Galifianakis and his co-stars, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper.

Now Galifianakis is the toast of Tinseltown. His latest film, It’s Kind of a Funny Story finds Galifiankis taking on the role of a mentally disturbed patient in a psychiatric hospital. Galifianakis becomes the mentor and guide for a younger patient played by Keir Gilchrist, who is best known for his role in Showtime’s United States of Tara.

Due Date hits theatres in November and promises to be a hit. It’s a big budget comedy featuring Robert Downey Jr. with guest appearances from Eastbound and Down’s Danny McBride as well as Jamie Foxx. It’s an odd-couple-on-a-road-trip flick a la Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - familiar stuff for sure, but in the capable comic hands of Downey and Galifianakis promises to be worth a watch nonetheless.

Zach Galifianakis has burst into the spotlight in the past year, and now seems to be making good with features like Due Date and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Of course, aligning himself with big time celebrities like Will Ferrell and his Between Two Ferns guests has helped propel him as much as his off-beat talent. When The Hangover 2 hits theatres in 2011, Galifianakis will reprise the role that made him famous, and, if his current momentum is any indication, continue to propel him up the Hollywood ladder.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 19:42

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