As far as I’m concerned, the internet was made for something like Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis’ interview show which debuted on Funny or Die in 2008.
It’s short, random, and incredibly entertaining as Galifianakis hosts a low-budget, public access-style show where he interviews everyone from Brad Pitt to Barack Obama.
Galifianakis’ research is questionable at best—he seemed to harbor a deep-seated resentment of Bradley Cooper and felt compelled to discipline Justin Bieber when no one else would.
And he does it all while nestled comfortably…between two ferns.
With Between Two Ferns: The Movie set to be released September 20th on Netflix, it seems like a mighty fine time to look back at all twenty-something episodes that they’ve done and hand out some awards to some of the show’s best guests.
The Someone Did His Homework Award: Steve Carell
When Steve Carell came on Between Two Ferns, he made it clear from the jump that he knew how things worked on the show. He knew that the guests typically find themselves in the crosshairs of Galifianakis, who (for the most part) isn’t a fan of theirs and wants them to know it.
Steve Carell is a smart man so he came prepared. He wasted little time trying to get the upper hand, hurling one fat joke after another at Galifianakis. And, as with most situations like this, it’s all fun and games until someone’s feelings get hurt and that’s exactly what happened to Zach.
The two briefly make amends before the insults start going back and forth again, including a nautically-based tit-for-tat that I especially enjoyed.
As someone I once worked with said of myself and another co-worker, Carell and Galifianakis “will not be spending Christmas dinner with each other.”
The Shut Up & Listen Award: Will Ferrell
Seeing as how Funny or Die (Ferrell’s site) hosts Between Two Ferns, it seemed as it was only a matter of time before he paid a visit. It also seemed as if Ferrell and Galifianakis were cool with each other. There were some hugs, fist bumps, and compliments on the vibe of the show.
Real bro stuff if there ever was some.
However, if you make Ferrell repeat himself then you’re going to have a problem, especially when it concerns the dance team he’s been managing.
A lot of smiles but not so much as far as patience is concerned.
The NOT TODAY Award: Charlize Theron
Who among us has not had one of those unfortunate moments where we misread signs and wrongly assumed that something was going to happen with someone only to tragically find out it wasn’t?
Yeah, it’s happened to all of us. Don’t act like it hasn’t. You’re fooling yourself.
Because it has happened to all of us, what poor Galifianakis goes through in this episode is something we can all relate too.
I mean, I doubt any of us has had such a mix-up happen with someone like Charlize effin’ Theron, but you know, pain is pain, am I right?
Also, in his defense, it definitely seemed that she was kind of, sort of, maybe leading him on.
The We Know Why You’re Here, Dude Award: Barack Obama
Between Two Ferns became a man when then-President Barack Obama stopped by to chat (and encourage youths to sign up for the Affordable Care Act) in March of 2014.
No, really, a sitting President appearing on your show is a big deal. Just ask Marc Maron. He’s still talking about the time Obama came by his podcast (and rightfully so).
As for the episode itself, it’s fine. Obama’s got the jokes. He’s got the zingers. He came to play.
The Same Goes For You Award: Hillary Clinton
Again, it’s all about the youths, guys.
While the 2016 presidential race may seem like a distant memory to us now, allow me to remind you that during that contest, a lot of the aforementioned youth weren’t totally on board with the idea of President Hillary Clinton.
To be fair, a lot of them weren’t on board with President Donald Trump either but that’s neither here nor there.
So, taking a page from Obama’s book, Clinton stopped by the ferns to make her pitch to young voters.
Did it work?
Well, if you don’t know the answer to that question by now, you probably just came out of a coma.
The Hey, It’s Carrot Top Award: Carrot Top
We learn two things during this episode.
The first is that despite his charm and good intentions, Galifianakis is not a fan of Bradley Cooper. Sorry, Brad Lee Cooper. Their relationship is rough business and, god, I wonder what Galifianakis’ relationship with Ed Helms is like?
The second thing we learn is that Carrot Top is one of those people who has the sound turned up on his phone so you can hear the clicks when he’s typing.
Those people are the worst! No one wants to hear that, Carrot Top! No one!
Side note: Carrot Top is so jacked. Who do you think can bench more: Carrot Top or Dave Chappelle? My money is on Chappelle but you could very easily talk me into Carrot Top.
The I Was Here First Award: Michael Cera
It all had to start somewhere, and with Between Two Ferns, it started in January 2008 with guest Michael Cera. The actor was coming off of Superbad and Juno, and if we’re going to talk about the craft of acting and his experience with it, he’s down.
Galifianakis is not down, though. As we’d come to learn, the show’s host just does not care for the people he’s expected to interview.
“Have I told you that I enjoyed the movie Superbad?” Galifianakis asks after seemingly accusing Cera of having something to do with 9/11. Cera responds by saying “No” and Zach simply says “Good” before moving on and tackling the inappropriate humor of the movie.
If you haven’t seen it (or haven’t seen it in a while) you should know that things get a little uncomfortable. I won’t spoil it but will say that it involves tickling and two grown men.
Hey, we all start somewhere, right?
The Let’s Not Forget Myspace Award: Tila Tequila
Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, there was MySpace.
If we’re to remember MySpace for anything, it’s that we were all “friends” with at least two people: that dude Tom and Tila Tequila. Tequila—a model, actress, and musician—was MySpace’s first celebrity, with Time calling her the “queen” of the site.
A queen, huh? Perhaps we shouldn’t have gotten so excited (or have been so surprised that the show would later have a sitting President as a guest).
The biggest surprise here is that (for once) Galifianakis isn’t showing straight up disdain for his guest. He is a big Tila Tequila fan. It’s adorable. He also loves jet skis and one day dreams of “jet-skiing around the world.” I think that’s possible. Maybe? I’ll get back to you on this one.
Oh, and then Jennifer Aniston shows up. Guess what? She’s cool with the whole country being bombed instead of just picking one state.
Talk about a monster.
The Never Hurts to Bring a Dog With You Award: Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is a national treasure and is no doubt a solid get for any talk show (let alone Between Two Ferns). But let’s be honest and admit that her dog, Whiz, is freaking adorable and steals the show here.
The presence of Whiz helps make things slightly more comfortable for everyone involved, seeing as how Galifianakis’ questions are about everything from asking for Portman’s phone number and if she “shaved her ‘V’ for vagina,” which is one of the show’s best laugh-out-loud moments.
The Best Exasperated Sigh Award: Sean Penn
It comes right around the 1:28 mark and it’s fantastic. There’s really nothing else to say.