An Open Letter to Zach Galifianakis

Don't blow it.
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Dear Zach:

OK, you've got the hit movie in The Hangover.

You got the New York Times Magazine profile.

You got the cult following as a stand-up comedian of prodigious and unpredictable talent.

Now don't blow it by letting some agent or manager try to turn you into a comedy commodity.

It happens regularly: A comedy performer has an unexpected hit and his flavor-of-the-month-ness attracts the "suits" (as Billy Walsh called them on Entourage) -- the facilitator types who latch on to new talent like a remora on a shark to try to guide them to bigger, fatter feeding grounds.

Invariably, it leads the comedian to abandon his instincts - or compromise his vision - in pursuit of a massive payday. Or it leads the comic to believe that, in fact, his flatulence is vanilla-scented - and that every idea that comes to his mind or bursts from his lips is pure genius, deserving of the aforementioned buttload of cash.

Neither is ever more than occasionally true.

If you look at the trajectory of movie comedy in the past 30-plus years, most of it can be seen as an extension of Saturday Night Live - indeed, almost all of it. And in most cases, the role model has been the career of Chevy Chase.

That's not a good thing.

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