EW In The Campaign you play a Republican plucked from obscurity to oppose an incumbent Democratic congressman [Will Ferrell]. Was your character inspired by Sarah Palin?
Galifianakis It wasn’t a conscious thing, but I certainly thought about [Palin]. The movie is really just about how the sausage is made in politics.
EW Have you ever run for office?
Galifianakis In sixth grade I ran for class president. I remember I was doing my locker combination and they announced the winner and I didn’t get it. That’s when I gave up on life.
EW Your character speaks with a distinct high-pitched lisp. Where did that come from?
Galifianakis It’s based on a character I used to do growing up called the Effeminate Racist. I always thought it was funny because it seemed like a conflict of interest in a way, just to be discriminatory. Over the years I developed it into another character, where I played my twin brother, Seth Galifianakis. I would go on talk shows and talk about how unfunny I thought I — Zach Galifianakis — was.
EW What would you try to accomplish as an elected official?
Galifianakis I would pass a law [allowing you] to take a left on red. That would be the only thing.
EW What appointment would you give Will Ferrell in your cabinet?
Galifianakis Is there a chief of staff of giggling? That’s really all we do: giggle.
EW Have you ever hung out with President Obama?
Galifianakis No. I got to go to the White House once, and I got a golf ball with the presidential seal on it. And he has M&M’s with the presidential seal on them.
EW Have you used the golf ball?
Galifianakis No, but I ate the M&M’s.
EW What do they taste like?
Galifianakis They taste like sausage.