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Zach Galifianakis is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian whose humor isn’t for everyone. His comedic observations and characterizations in television and film have made him a unique voice that some people love and others love to hate.
Galifianakis is probably most widely known for his role as Alan in The Hangover films, but he's also been in everything from Up in the Air, Birdman and Bored to Death. He's now the star and co-creator of the new FX series, Baskets. He plays a clown who can't keep up with the tuition or his classmates at his French clowning school, and returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California to work in a rodeo.
Galifianakis sat down with Jesse to talk about creating a show that revolves around a mean and unlikeable character, how he contended with the sudden fame that came with The Hangover and what it’s like be dissed on public radio.
Baskets airs on Thursday nights at 10 pm on FX.
Michael K. Williams is an actor and dancer who broke out in the role of Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire. His characterization of a criminal “with a code” made the show a favorite among critics and viewers, one of whom was President Obama.
He was a club kid turned professional dancer, and later turned to acting. His resume includes everything from Boardwalk Empire to Twelve Years a Slave to Inherent Vice. He currently co-stars in the new Sundance TV series, Hap and Leonard.
Williams sat down with us to talk about his memories of being a New York club kid, the difference that playing Omar made in his life and others and the opportunity that led him to realize that being a performer could be a career, rather than just a job.
Hap and Leonard can be seen Wednesday nights at 10 pm on Sundance TV.
Jesse remembers the poignancy of rapper Poetic’s examination of his own mortality in the music he produced with Gravediggaz.
Another example of using comedy for good today: Lucasfilms has collaborated with Stand Up to Cancer to make this Star Wars themed video tribute featuring Aziz Ansari, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, and Emma Stone acting out lines from (the best movies of) the Star Wars series. Stand Up to Cancer funds a variety of innovative and collaborative research projects that are working towards a cure.
Good nerdy fun and all for a good cause.
Yesterday, Steve Agee posted this clip of Zach's network television debut. It's an appearance on Letterman's show, but Janeane Garofalo was guest hosting because Dave was having heart surgery.
Terrific inaugural performance and the subtitles only heighten the fun.
Scot Armstrong is a screenwriter and improv comedian who has co-written some of the most popular comedies of the past decade, including Old School, Road Trip, and Starsky and Hutch among others. His newest writing project was tackling a sequel to the hugely successful movie The Hangover with long-time collaborator Todd Phillips.
Scot talks about how to write the narrative to a comedy film (and especially, fitting together the puzzle-form of a movie like The Hangover Part II) and writing for Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest, Scot Armstrong, is one of the most successful comedy screenwriters in America. He's written or co-written films, including but not limited to Old School, Semi-Pro, Starsky & Hutch, most recently The Hangover Part II. He's also contributed to including, but not limited to, Elf and Bad Santa.
Scot, welcome to The Sound of Young America.
SCOT ARMSTRONG: Hi. Glad to be here.
Jonathan Ames is an acclaimed essayist and novelist. He's also the creator of the HBO series Bored to Death, which returns with its second season on September 26th. The show stars Jason Schwartzman as a struggling writer named Jonathan Ames who decides to supplement his income by moonlighting as a detective. His closest compatriots are Ted Danson, as a marijuana-obsessed magazine editor and past TSOYA guest Zach Galifianakis as a sad-sack comic artist.
The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.
Today's theme: Steve Harvey's Giant Teeth
To start things off, Jesse welcomes Rob Baedeker and James Reichmuth of Kasper Hauser fame and eternal MaxFun friendship. You can look forward to anecdotes of mail fraud, lousy scholarship advice, and beaver skulls. For more hilarity, watch some Kasper Hauser funnies.
Next up, the gentlemen talk with the casting director of Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge about the show's high expectations while in Santa Cruz. More groin pummelers wanted, apparently.
After that business, Jesse interviews Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Sadly, no Rick Moranis in the interview.