It doesn’t seem like it, but we are approaching the eighth anniversary of the premier of Between Two Ferns, the online interview show hosted by Zach Galifianakis. Although it has been airing since 2008, there are only a few episodes per year, totaling in just twenty episodes of the show on Funny or Die as well as one special on location in New York that aired on Comedy Central. In fact, there hasn’t been a new episode in over a year. The show is critically acclaimed – winning the Emmy for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program in 2014 and 2015 – and also a massive hit.
It’s amazing not only how many A-listers come on the show, but how Galifianakis can find new ways to make fun of them. The fact that these individuals (including Sean Penn!) agree to get made fun of is also pretty impressive considering the average level of ego in Hollywood. Amazingly, there is still a substantial number of people that don’t believe the guests are in on the joke so I guess Galifianakis is doing his job.
Recently, I went back and watched each episode to see if they hold up even after knowing how the show works. Every single episode is still hilarious and subversive, several of them with completely goofy cameos, like Carrot Top texting loudly behind Bradley Cooper, Andy Dick taking Conan O’Brien’s chair or The Lonely Island’s video for “Spring Break Anthem” in the middle of James Franco’s interview. Like with all things, some are better than others. There is at least one great line or moment in each episode. Some of my favorites include:
- Asking Natalie Portman: “You shaved your head for V for Vendetta. Did you also shave your V for vagina?“
- Charlize Theron announcing “I just pissed myself.”
- Asking Bruce Willis if Ashton is his favorite child.
- President Barack Obama: “If I ran a third time, it’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?“
- Making Jennifer Aniston the second guest and then ignoring her in favor of interviewing Tila Tequila (a story that US Weekly reported as actual news as if she weren’t aware of what was happening).
- Asking Justin Bieber: “When you’re in the recording studio, do you ever think, um, ‘Hey, what if I don’t make something shitty?‘”
- Steve Carell: “I hear the camera adds ten pounds. Looks like you’ve eaten five cameras.”
- Announcing Daniel Day-Lewis as a guest and instead Emmanuel Lewis walks on stage.
- To James Franco: “Of all the art projects you’ve done, what has made people roll their eyes the hardest?”
- Asking Ben Stiller: “Do you wish you had ever followed your parents into comedy?”
There was the Oscar Buzz two-parter in which Galifianakis plays each guest off the stage after about a minute and this exchange occurred:
Galifianakis: “You have red hair.“
Amy Adams: “I do. Guess what they used to call me in high school.”
Galifianakis: “Cinnamon muff.“
In my opinion, the show actually got better with time and the best episode was not the one with Bieber or Obama, but the last one with Brad Pitt, asking why he doesn’t take showers, if it’s hard for him to maintain a suntan while living in his wife’s shadow, and featuring a purposely awful stand-up interruption from Louis C.K. However, the best part comes near the end when Galifianakis asks Pitt what it was like when he first laid eyes on Angelina, then comparing it to another classical love story:
Hopefully we’ll see more Between Two Ferns in the new year.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.