Since 2008, Zach Galifianakis has been tickling our funny bones with his one-of-a-kind talk show, “Between Two Ferns.” Before achieving superstardom with “The Hangover” and “Baskets,” he pioneered this anti-talk show, making it one of the most beloved web series globally. Let’s delve into 13 fascinating facts about this quirky and unforgettable show.
Humble Beginnings of ‘Between Two Ferns‘
The show’s roots trace back to a failed pilot for a late-night sketch comedy series called “The Right Now! Show.” Galifianakis, unsatisfied with the celebrity worship culture, brought forth the idea of “Between Two Ferns.” The concept aimed to satirize sycophantic interviewers, adding a touch of knee-jerk reaction to the prevailing culture.
Uncomfortable Moments and Unwelcome Guests
Most episodes delight audiences with Galifianakis’s witty insults and uncomfortable questions. However, some guests, like Bruce Willis and Sean Penn, found themselves in particularly tense situations. Willis left with a lingering fear, while Penn’s episode became notably uncomfortable, with threats of physical confrontation.
Presidential Presence on ‘Between Two Ferns’
In a surprising turn of events, President Barack Obama graced the show in 201Despite initial skepticism, the episode turned out to be a massive success, with 11 million viewers on the first day. The president used the platform to promote health care exchanges, resulting in a 40% spike in traffic to “HealthCare.gov.”
When Hillary Met Ferns
Continuing its political journey, “Between Two Ferns” hosted Hillary Clinton in 201Unlike most guests, Clinton reached out to the show herself, following her admiration for the Obama episode. The episode garnered over 30 million views within the first 24 hours, marking a historic milestone for Funny or Die.
The Simple Set of ‘Between Two Ferns’
The show’s simplicity lies in its memorable set — a black backdrop, chairs, a table, and, of course, two ferns. Galifianakis insisted on this minimalistic approach, filming episodes in broom closets and sheds. This simplicity gives the show its unique charm, emphasizing its humble origins.
Galifianakis’s Dream Guests
“Between Two Ferns” breaks the late-night talk show mold by inviting guests beyond the typical Hollywood lineup. Galifianakis dreams of interviewing athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, as well as esteemed figures like the Pope or British royalty. His wishlist extends to an older British actress, Judi Dench.
No Room for Trump Among the Ferns
While hosting powerful figures like Obama and Clinton, Galifianakis drew a line at then-candidate Donald Trump. Citing ethical concerns, he expressed reluctance to interview someone he perceived as “mentally challenged.” This decision reflects the show’s commitment to avoiding mean-spiritedness.
Surprising Guests with Unscripted Questions
Celebrities on “Between Two Ferns” often express genuine surprise at Galifianakis’s probing questions. Scott Aukerman, the show’s producer, revealed that guests receive minimal preparation, only a brief chat with him. The improvisational nature leads to authentic reactions, with Galifianakis occasionally breaking character and apologizing for his jests.
Zach Galifianakis’s Strange Talk Show Past
“Between Two Ferns” isn’t Galifianakis’s first attempt at a peculiar talk show. In 2002, VH1 introduced “Late World with Zach,” a bizarre and innovative nightly show attempting to deconstruct the celebrity worship complex. Although short-lived, this early venture showcased Galifianakis’s unique comedic style.
‘Between Two Ferns: The Movie’ Unveiled
The show’s success expanded into a full-length feature film, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” released on Netflix in 201The movie’s concept emerged during the filming of a Comedy Central special in 201The production embraced improvisation, with the shooting script resembling a “serial killer’s manifesto.”
A Simple Plot for the Big Screen
The movie’s plot mirrors the show’s simplicity — Will Ferrell, the evil president of Funny or Die, tasks Galifianakis with producing ten episodes within two weeks. Galifianakis, accompanied by a skeleton crew, embarks on a road trip, capturing spontaneous interviews with celebrities along the way.
A Quiet End for ‘Between Two Ferns’
Despite its cultural impact, “Between Two Ferns” slowed down, with only two episodes released between 2014 and 201Galifianakis hinted at the show’s conclusion, stating it had “kind of run its course.” The movie likely marks the end of this unconventional and hilarious franchise.
Conclusion: A Comedy Gem with Ferns
“Between Two Ferns” stands as a comedy gem that dared to be different. From its humble beginnings to hosting world leaders, the show’s journey reflects Galifianakis’s commitment to originality. As it takes a step back, the legacy of uncomfortable laughs and awkward moments lives on in the hearts of its fans.