(Almost) Interviewing Zach Galifianakis

January 20, 2012

Originally published in Boulder Weekly

November 2007

I have been heterosexual for as long as I can remember. Yes, it’s true that I once screamed “I love you, Adam!” in the passion of the moment at a Counting Crows concert, and when I was in junior high, I made out with a girl from Greece whose Magnum P.I. mustache put my own hairless upper lip to shame. But aside from these inconsequential experiments, I have never participated in “the love that dare not speak its name.” (Church camp doesn’t count, of course.)

Therefore, I was a bit surprised when I first watched Late World with Zach on VH1, and I got a tingling feeling in my sin spot. I’d never had a man-crush before, and it was a frightening experience. I quickly called my friend, Paul, who has been in love with John Elway his entire life. Paul calmly explained that, in America, you can be heterosexual and in love with another dude as long as you drive a very large truck and constantly talk about how much you like vaginas.

“On the other hand,” Paul said, “it’s possible that you’re just very very gay.”

Over the years, my man-crush on Zach Galifianakis has grown into full-blown man-love. I love his shaggy beard and his wild hair and his fat Buddha belly. But mostly I love how he makes me laugh.

Just like Sarah Silverman, Eugene Mirman, David Cross and every other comedian who doesn’t artistically masturbate on a derivative sitcom, Hollywood will never figure out what to do with Galifianakis. [Future Me: Um, yeah, I was a little bit off with that prediction.] He’s too smart for them. And while that’s probably frustrating for his agent, it’s incredibly reassuring for those of us who truly love comedy as an art form.

Like an evil succubus draining the souls of unwitting sailors, Hollywood has been slowly sucking the life out of comedians for years. For example, Galifianakis and Silverman both have minor roles in the 2001 movie Heartbreakers, and it’s an interesting exercise in cultural devolution to watch two of the funniest people on the planet sit quietly in the background while Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sigourney Weaver and Gene Hackman attempt to provide the comedic drive to this femme-fatale revision of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

This type of thing has been happening for a long time, and it goes a long way in explaining the popularity of shows like Everybody Loves Raymond. Therefore, in order to comprehend the intelligent, yet anti-intellectual humor of Galifianakis, it’s necessary to put his art in perspective.

Think of it like this: If Woody Allen impregnated Lenny Bruce, who consequently birthed a bi-polar Yeti and then abandoned that freak child at the doorstep of Charles Bukowski, who turned him into a raging alcoholic before introducing him to Tom Waits and Chuck Klosterman, who later sold him acid at a party in SoHo where he managed to get involved in a three-way with Joan Didion and Daniel Johnston, who in turn gave birth to another hairy, deranged infant… that child would be Zach Galifianakis.

When I found out that Zach was coming to the Boulder Theater, I got so excited that I actually rented every season of Tru Calling, just to watch my man on a prime-time television show. Now that’s tru love!

At first, I offered to fly out on my own dime and interview him in California for this article. When that didn’t work out, I asked if I could chat with him on the phone. And after he rejected me a second time, I finally convinced him to answer my questions via e-mail. I waited. And waited. And waited.

When I just couldn’t take the suspense anymore, I wrote him another e-mail… and then I contacted his agent… and then I wrote him a message on MySpace with a smiley-face emoticon at the end of it… What was wrong? Did Zach like me or did he like me like me? I had to know.

Finally, mere hours before my deadline, I got an e-mail from his webmaster, a meddling bitch with the unlikely, Seussian name of Carnie Cacarnis. She said that Zach had done a lot of interviews lately, and he might have gotten “confused.” Unfortunately, he couldn’t talk to me now because he was “in the middle of the woods and out of Internet range.”

It was obvious to me what was happening: Carnie was trying to keep us apart. She probably had him trapped in a cabin deep in the forest, where she forced him to look at her stupid family photo albums all day, and if he tried to escape, she wedged a two-by-four between his legs and broke his ankles, à la Kathy Bates in Misery.

In any case, it was clear that I wasn’t going to get an interview. Fortunately, I think I know Zacharius pretty well by now. We’ve bonded throughout the course of this process, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if I wrote about what the interview would have been like if Crazy Carnie hadn’t stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong. I’m fairly certain that it would have gone something like this:

Zach Galifianakis lounges on his couch at his home in Venice Beach. He’s wearing a pair of loose khakis, house slippers and a silk shirt that’s open at the collar, allowing his curly chest hairs to dance in the breeze. There’s a bowl of grapes on the coffee table between us, and he periodically plucks one from the pile and puts it gently between his lips. It’s been a long day and he’s exhausted.

Dream Zach Galifianakis: You know, Dale, sometimes it’s difficult to be funny. People expect me to be a clown. Did you know that? They expect me to dance around like an idiot all day. Well, I have news for you, America. I’m not a clown; I’m an artist.

Dale Bridges: Do you know what else you are, Zach?

DZG: What’s that?

DB: You’re a human being.

DZG: That’s right, damnit! I’m not just some ridiculous monkey that entertains children at birthday parties. I’m a real person. Sometimes, I think you’re the only one in this world who truly understands me.

DB: What about Carnie?

DZG: Don’t make me laugh. It’s over between Carnie and me. I hope I never see that crazy webmaster again.

DB: Oh, you don’t mean that.

DZG: Yes, I do. After the stunt she tried to pull in the woods, she’s lucky I don’t press charges.

DB: Let’s not talk about Carnie right now, OK?

DZG: You’re right. This is our time. I’m sorry about all this confusion. Is there any way I can make it up to you?

DB: You can give me one of those grapes.

DZG: Oh, you…

We laughed and fed each other grapes and talked deep into the night. And then Zach lifted up my shirt and blew zurberts on my tummy. It was a magical, manly bonding experience between two manly men. Of course, like all manly things, eventually it had to come to an end. We were both sad when we parted ways, but we knew that we would always, always have MySpace.

One Response to “(Almost) Interviewing Zach Galifianakis”

  1. mjsturtevant Says:

    i interviewed him and touched his beard. he liked me just fine.

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