Zachary Knight Galifianakis (/ˌɡælɪfəˈnækɪs/; born October 1, 1969) is an American actor, comedian, and writer who came to prominence with his Comedy Central Presents special in 2001 and presented his own show called Late World with Zach on VH1 the following year. He has also starred in films, such as The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), Masterminds (2016), and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
Galifianakis is the host of the Emmy Award-winning talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die website. He starred in the FX series Baskets for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2017.
Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. His mother, Mary Frances (née Cashion), was a community arts center owner, and his father, Harry, a heating oil vendor. His mother is of Scottish ancestry, and his paternal grandparents, Mike Galifianakis and Sophia Kastrinakis, were emigrants from Crete, Greece. Galifianakis was baptized in his father's Greek Orthodox church. He has a younger sister, Merritt, and an older brother, Greg. His cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis. His uncle, a politician, is also named Nick Galifianakis. Galifianakis attended Wilkes Central High School, and subsequently attended North Carolina State University, where he majored in communications. While in college, he worked at a public access station. He taught a waltz class in 1991 where he crossed paths with Mary J. Blige.