Zach Galifianakis Says Uncle Nick Lost Senate Seat ‘Because He Was Greek’

Zach Galifianakis is busy promoting his new film “The Campaign” alongside Will Ferrell, and the Greek-American has not been shy about discussing politics or opening up about his heritage.

When talking to the Toronto Sun about Nick Galifianakis, who was a North Carolina Congressman (Zach plays a wanna-be politician from the state in the film), he says his uncle lost to Jesse Helms in the 1972 U.S. Senate race “because he was Greek, that’s kind of what happened.” Helms’ pitch slogan was “Jesse Helms. He’s one of us.”

Galifianakis went on to say in the interview, “When my uncle ran, it was the beginning of mud-slinging in modern politics, at least in that state.”

He continued, “I grew up listening to all the stories. The election got turned around in a couple of weeks. The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) made appearances at a couple of rallies, I guess to intimidate him…I think the idea was, ‘His name sounds different enough. He’s not like us.'”

While he may have already reached celebrity status, the actor stands by his Greek heritage, telling Time Magazine in another interview, “I would have changed my last name if being famous were my goal.”


  1. Zach is right about his uncle Nick and NC politics. I was the babysitter for Zach’s family during those years. I remember Zack when he was just a tot, his brother and baby sister. His mother was actually afraid to be alone, so I spent much time at his home with her. The political arena was nasty at best. Well, you can imagine running against Jessie Helms in the 60″s it wasn’t pretty


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