Is North Carolina the funniest state?

Who knew?  From Slate Magazine.
North Carolina comedy, from Andy Griffith to Zach Galifianakis
In The Campaign, which opens tomorrow, Will Ferrell is Cam Brady, an ambitious, skirt-chasing politician with a $900 haircut and a remarkable amount of self-admiration. So you could be forgiven for thinking that the setting of the movie, North Carolina, was chosen to highlight a passing resemblance to a certain former Senator and vice presidential candidate. Ferrell’s co-star, Zach Galifianakis, is a native of Wilkesboro, N.C., and his uncle, Nick Galifianakis, represented the state in the U.S. Congress from 1967 to 1973. But that’s probably not the reason behind the choice of setting, either. As it happens, Shawn Harwell, who wrote the film, his first, is also a Tar Heel and grew up in a town not far from Wilkesboro (though he and Galifianakis met for the first time on the set of The Campaign). Harwell’s name may be new to you, but perhaps you’ve seen the show he helps write, Eastbound & Down, set in Shelby, N.C. It was created by Jody Hill, from Concord, a couple hours southeast of Shelby; Ben Best, raised in High Point; and Danny McBride, whom Best and Hill befriended at film school in Winston-Salem. 
The list of contemporary North Carolinian comics doesn’t end there—far from it. Over the last decade, North Carolinians have helped to write Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, Late Night, and Parks & Recreation, among other humorous TV series. Community features two North Carolinians: Ken Jeong, who also appeared alongside Galifianakis in The Hangover, and Jim Rash, a Groundlings alum who won an Oscar for writing The Descendants. Another of NBC’s Thursday night comedies, Up All Night, was created by Emily Spivey, of High Point and UNC-Greensboro. Anthony King, former artistic director of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, went to UNC-Chapel Hill about 10 years after fellow UCB-er Peyton Reed, a big-time comedy director whose credits include Yes Man, Bring It On, and, most recently, three episodes of the hit sitcom New Girl. If you go to the UCB Theatre these days, you might see Charlie Todd, who founded Improv Everywhere and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001. All these comics can probably appreciate the peculiarities of North Carolina life that have been chronicled by David Sedaris, who grew up there in a big family that includes his sister Amy, a comedian best known for her beloved Comedy Central show, Strangers With Candy. And there are many others.


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