Zach Galifwhatever-the-fuck-my-name-is

I hugged him goodbye. He went as stiff as a board, like, “AHHH! I didn’t expect this!”

I went to a screening of Edie Sedgwick in Outer and Inner Space and Lupe (1966) at a gallery one night. The weird thing was that I was quite torn about attending it, knowing Zach Galifianakis was performing at a nearby venue.

After the screening was over, I ran to Zach’s performance, slipped past security, and sneaked in. I have never sneaked into anything besides this and a charity ball. Anyway, it was worth it.

This was back in 2006. No one really knew who Galifianakis was at the time, but I sure did. The show was free, and no one knew how to pronounce his name, even him. He referred to himself as “Zach Galifwhatever-the-fuck-my-name-is.” It still sounds pretty Greek to me nonetheless.

He was berating a lot of people in the audience because they were drunk and, well, kind of stupid. Eventually his set ended, and there was a Q & A session. I raised my hand, and I was the last to ask something. I was really scared of him and thought he would make fun of me, but he didn’t. It was probably because he could tell I wasn’t drunk.

We talked afterward. The interesting thing is that Zach is often described as “stout” or “chubby.” He’s actually quite smaller and thinner than you’d think. He was also very nervous, shy, and self-deprecating. I talked to him about his film career, which up until then had been frustrating for him. He shuffled his feet and said, “Oh, I wasn’t in that for very long. It doesn’t matter.”

I got him to sign a flyer I had found on the floor. He promptly wrote FAG in the middle of his forehead and handed it back.
Me: “Oh, my God, why did you do that?”
Zach (embarrassed, looking at the floor): “I, uh, well, you know.”
Me: “But you’re not a fag. Why are you so mean to yourself?”
Zach: “Because I am.”

I hugged him goodbye. He went as stiff as a board, like, “AHHH! I didn’t expect this!”

I walked home and told my roommates whom I had met--for which I got a bunch of blank stares. It was partly because they didn’t know who he was, and partly because they were stoned out of their minds.

Since The Hangover has come out, people have been more interested in this story. I later found out that Galifianakis owns a farm in North Carolina and has mentioned wanting to turn it into a retreat for artists, writers, or children. Coincidentally, those are things I’ve had an interest in, and I have worked in those fields. My family came to the consensus that Galifianakis will always be “the one that got away” for me.

Hopefully we’ll meet again?


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