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Q&A with Zach Galifianakis

Westword's resident funny man recently sat down at a computer to send questions via e-mail to Zach Galifianakis, who sat down at a computer to answer them. Though he may have stood. The following is the correspondence:

Westword (Adam Cayton-Holland): Hey, Zach, Adam Cayton-Holland here, writer for the free alt-weekly in Denver, the Westword. Also a stand-up comic. Four years experience. Thanks for asking. So here we go: Who are you favorite comics performing today?

Zach Galifianakis: Just me.

WW: How long is this tour? Do you enjoy touring? With the Comedians of Comedy tour you were obviously with a few buddies, how is it touring alone?

ZG: I have been touring on and off for about a year. I think I have done around 25-30 places. Touring alone is a bit lonely but I tend to make friends along the way with vagrants and low wage male prostitutes which is nice when all you want to do is have someone around to discuss the unrest of Pakistan.

WW: Ever been to the Denver/Boulder area? If so, any memories that stand out from that time?

ZG: I have been a couple of times. The last time I was in Boulder was around a year ago. I quite like the area. Denver seems to be on the upswing, doesn’t it?

WW: I read that you seem to bounce between acting gigs and stand-up, and that when you’re burned out from one, you go for the other. What things about stand-up get you to the point where you're burned out?

ZG: Well unfortunately most towns in the US are all the same now. You have a Staples next to a Starbucks next to Best Buy next to several people who don’t give a shit. So it is not as exciting- the traveling. However I crave doing stand up. The traveling is hard. Plus I am a terrible flier. I get nervous and have to order three whiskeys right away which calms my nerves, but it makes me openly weep on a plane. I want to one day have the audience come to me.

WW: Where and when was your first gig ever? How did it go?

ZG: Back of a hamburger restaurant in Times Square. It went well. The other 45 shows after that did not.

WW: How long did it take till you thought you had really found your voice as a comic and were funny in a way that you felt pleased with? Or at least, not self-conscious about?

ZG: It took about 8 years. I had no confidence for the longest time.

WW: The “indie/alt comedy” movement has been written about tons. What do you think of the phenomenon? Specifically, the moving out of comedy clubs where you eat fried cheese into rock clubs where people seem to really seek out the artist. How important is that for comedy or is it blown out of proportion?

ZG: No response.

WW: Which is funnier: AIDS or abortion?

ZG: No comment.

WW: Are you working on writing any scripts right now? If so, can you tell me a little bit what any of them are about?

ZG: I am writing but it goes nowhere. But I have completed a script with my friend AD Miles about two guys who are on the run from crystal meth addicts. We are shooting it in January for Comedy Central.

WW: I watched the baseball playoffs on TBS and Dane Cook seems to think that there is only one October, yet I’ve experienced 28 Octobers now. Thoughts?

ZG: Thank god there is only one Dane Cook. No, the ads are good for him. Hopefully, he catches a break.

WW: Also, what sport or product would you most like to shill for in a national ad campaign and what would the campaign be?

ZG: I would not do that. I have been asked. By Curves.

WW: Last CD purchased, book read, movie watched?

ZG: I just watched a documentary called “Grey Gardens” - it is about relatives of Jackie Onasis who lived in squalor in an old mansion back in the 1970s. I highly recommend it. Oh, and “Wild Hogs” - I rented it so I could feel suicidal.

WW: You played a hunter in "Into the Wild." Do you hunt?

ZG: I do not. But I am from an area where it is popular. The Bronx.

WW: Last question: how does a veritable dick-joke smith from Denver who’s writing these questions still quasi-hungover go from interviewing you to performing on your show? I’m not wondering or anything but I have a, like, um, like a friend who is.

ZG: They do not go from one to the other.

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Sean Cronin