If you’ve seen any of The Hangover movies or if you’ve viewed his truly funny web series Between Two Ferns on the Funny or Die website, you already know that Zach Galifianakis can range from being very funny to totally (and deliberately) clueless. But did you know that very quietly and under the radar Galifianakis is quite the generous type?
Years ago, when he was still a struggling actor, Galifianakis met an elderly woman, Elizabeth “Mimi” Haist, at a local laundromat and struck up a friendship with her. Ms. Haist volunteered at the laundromat in Santa Monica, California and relied upon tips she received from customers coming in to do their wash to survive.
Fast forward to 2011 and Galifianakis found out that Mimi Haist was now homeless and had been living with friends. Reaching out to his friend and fellow Santa Monica resident, Oscar-winning actress Renee Zelwegger, Galifianakis rented Ms. Haist an apartment and Zelwegger furnished it. Zach Galifianakis has continued to pay the rent and utilities on the apartment since he rented it and Ms. Zelwegger makes sure Ms. Haist always has groceries.
To further cement in your image that this is someone who is really bringing joy to the life of someone less fortunate than him, Zach Galifianakis has taken Mimi Haist as his date to several of his movie premieres. She attended the opening of The Hangover Part II (the second in the Las Vegas trilogy) in 2011 and The Campaign (his political comedy with Will Ferrell) in 2012. His plans for the premier of the new movie, The Hangover Part III, include taking her as his date again.
In past interviews, Mimi Haist has indicated she has no family to rely upon which makes these random acts of kindness even more important.
So if you want to see a funny movie and support one of its stars doing good in this world, go see The Hangover Part III. I can’t tell you how nice is it to learn about someone like this paying it forward – without seeking fame or fortune or attention about it – instead of reading about the latest antics of some of the bankrupt or drug-addicted celebrities that seem to dance across the front pages of our newspapers all the time. Well done, Mr. Galifianakis (and Ms. Zellwegger as well).