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Zach Galifianakis on His Oscar Snub: ‘Anybody Can Vomit Out Their Lines in a Serious Movie’

Last night at Details’ tenth-anniversary party, we spotted a seemingly out-of-place Zach Galifianakis — in town to host Saturday Night Live this weekend — who, we’re pretty sure, has not consulted the men’s magazine for grooming or dressing tips. We cornered him by the grand piano in the former Boom Boom Room at the top of the Standard Hotel, just before Robin Thicke sat down to croon out a schmaltzy "Happy Birthday" to the magazine.

Why are you at a Details party?
I never get invited to anything, and sometimes you want to just mix it up and see how the good life lives. It’s not really my scene, but my friends wanted to come, so I guess that’s how it works.

District 9 got nominated for an Oscar and The Hangover didn’t. What did you guys do wrong?
Well, I think comedies are the redheaded stepchild of the movie business. I don’t understand why the Oscar folks don’t look at comedies. Comedies are so much harder to do. Anybody can vomit out their lines in a serious movie, but to make it funny is harder. I really do believe that. It really is unfair that they’re overlooked, I think.

What are you going to do next time to assure yourself a nomination?
I’m going to be in a World War II movie. That seems to be the go-to. I’ll play the first hippie in America, who happens to be a soldier at Normandy. I don’t know. For me, you never know what’s going to be good. Being in a good movie is a very big coincidence, I think. But I’m lucky to be in a movie like The Hangover. It’s kind of nice.

What’s going to be your next truly awesome movie?
Well, I’m in a movie [called] It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It’s kind of a serious movie. I have hopes for that. It better win some fucking awards.

What do you play?
It takes place in a mental hospital.

And you did a road-trip movie with Robert Downey Jr.
Yeah, that’ll be a good movie, too.

Did you do any actual road-tripping with him?
Well, Robert wanted to drive across the United States together before we started — that was his idea — and I was like, "Well, let’s just wait till the movie starts. Then we can actually hate being in a car together. We don’t have to get to know each other that well." He’s a charming man. I liked working with him a lot.

How did your plan work out?
Well, it’s kind of an oil-and-water story — a classic these-guys-shouldn’t-be-together-but-they-are road-trip movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but I think it will be a lot more emotional than people think it’s going to be.

Lupe Fiasco recently used your name in a rap lyric about his own greatness. How do you feel about that?
I heard that. I haven’t heard the song. I will be happy when Dolly Parton uses me in a song, then I’ve made it. There are a lot of rap guys out there.

And you’re like, Lupe Fiasco, whatever?
I don’t know him. I don’t know anything about anything. I’m so out of the loop. I haven’t heard the song. Is it a good song?

He said he was the “black rap Zach Galifianakis.”
He should have said his name was Black Galifianakis. That would have been a better song.

See more from the Details celebration in the Party Lines slideshow.

Photo: Patrick McMullan