Transcript

Tell Me About It: The Art

Nick Galifianakis
Illustrator
Wednesday, October 3, 2007; 1:00 PM

Nick Galifianakis, who illustrates Carolyn Hax's Tell Me About It advice column, was online Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 1 p.m. ET to field questions and comments about his work and the column's new daily appearance in The Post.

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Suzanne Tobin: Today I am thrilled to have Nick Galifianakis and his wonder dog, Zuzu, as my guests. As many of you may have already noticed, Carolyn Hax's advice column, which Nick illustrates, became a daily feature in The Post on Monday, expanding from the previous three-day-a-week schedule. So it is particularly kind of Nick to take time out to join us in between drawing cartoons like a madman. (Hey, imagine if you had to do more than twice your normal workload!) Welcome, Nick, and thanks for joining us Live Online.

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Nick Galifianakis: Thanks for showing up, folks. The lunch special where you're working must not be very fresh today.

First, a round of applause for the chat producers, Suzanne Tobin, Liz Kelly and Francis Ford Coppola.

Ok, let's have fun. Fire away.

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Waashington, D.C.: Very cool to see you daily now. A question: you frequently include a dog in your illustrations. Is this your dog or are you a dog lover? Do you use the dog simply as a "cute delivery method" or does it reflect the emotions of those portrayed in the illustrations?

Thanks,

J&J

Nick Galifianakis: Thanks on the daily. "Zuzu" is indeed my dog and as far as loving her, I hope love ANYTHING as much as I love her.

Nothing "cute" about using her (I hope) - using animals is sometimes the best way to make a point if sex or race or any nimber of other things get in the way.

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DeeCee: You're cartoons are seriously great, dude, but I want more.

Why don't you do a comic strip?

Nick Galifianakis: Sweet - keep 'em wanting more. Thanks, that's music to my ears.

I have an idea for a strip and am thinking about ways of pulling the trigger. But the work that goes into turning out a daily strip is legendary and all-consuming -- I basically have to wait until there's NOTHING else in my life.

It'll happen though.

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Bethesda, Md.: I sometimes recognize the same people in your drawings. Doyou have a regular cast of characters?

Nick Galifianakis: Ninety percent of these folks are either my friends or sitting across from me in a restaurant. I never tell my pals when I'm putting them in. It's more fun for me that way.

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Washington, D.C.: So is the move to seven days a week driving you nuts?

Nick Galifianakis: No, it's great. Until I have to pause for a chat. Basically my life is now timed to the second. Sleeping is a vacation.

Things will ease into the groove here soon enough. Right, Carolyn?

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Nick! Always enjoy the cartoons, man. Are you part of the Galifianakis political family down in North Carolina? It's just such an unusual last name, so I had to ask.

Nick Galifianakis: We are one family. If your last name is Galifianakis, we're blood. And I probably owe you money.

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Salisbury, Md.: Hi Nick, You used to draw this little crazy looking guy in some of your cartoons. He was almost a clown with these big feet and a silly face and he was usually hitting on some beautiful woman. Where's he been? I miss him. We used to cut him out and hang him on the fridge or at work and he always made me smile. Bring him back soon please!

Nick Galifianakis: Yes! he's one of Carolyn's favorites as well!

Hmm. where'd that little bow-tied fella go? Good call... we will see him again soon!

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Too D.C.: Nick! Someone pointed you and Zuzu out a park and dude YOU'RE HOT! Awesome hair - I should have known from the cartoons, the guy in the pony tail, right?

What made you go with the oh-so-not D.C. look?

Nick Galifianakis: Wow, thank you. (I'm BLUSHING! but that's because the mailman just walked by and peeked in the window, poor fella). Thank you. That's a nice, if glandular, thing to say. That, or you're parents were flower children. Or barbers.

Hmm don't really think of myself as going for aparticular "look." My hair got a head start one spring and I thought I'd see it through, for charity, I gave it away a couple of weeks ago to "Locks of Love." Eleven inches worth!

Almost didn't make it because I WAS hot, as in, "I can't believe I have shoulder blade length hair during another D.C. swamp summer, where in August you need to be an amphibian to be able to breath!" Under those conditions, the hair was brutal, Bridge on the River Kwai brutal. The micro-climate around my face was like a %$#ing rainforest. There were rare breeds of mosquitoes that could only be found smashed against my forehead. Walking my dog was like The Bataan death March. The hair man. Lions live in Africa, right? I thought there was a logic to evolution.

Enough of my being a whiny-pants? Because the whole point is, it wasn't "I'm a little kid and I've chemo" brutal. Anyway.

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Washington, D.C.: A little OT. Are you related the stand up comedian Zack (sp?) Galifianakis? If so tell him he rocks, and he's got a talented family!

Nick Galifianakis: Zachy is my first cousin. he owes me everything. He knows that.

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Bethesda: Nick, love you stuff!

Not to bring up a painful subject, but I read somewhere that Richard Thompson was at or in your wedding (sorry if I'm waaaaay off). What do you think of his new strip? What does he think of your work? What the hell do guys like you talk about and could I listen in? Thanks!

Nick Galifianakis: Yes, Richard was in my wedding REALLY all up in my wedding. I feel, enough time has passed that I can finally reveal that it was indeed, Richard Thompson, that broke up my marriage.

But the weight of years makes most things ok, so all is forgiven. Everyone has moved on and Carolyn has a beautiful family with three boys -- one looks like Kenny, one looks like me and one looks like Richard. It's all very mature.

What do I think of his strip? It's the best since Calvin and Hobbes (and in fact, Bill Watterson, the famous hermit who created C & H, came out of his groundhog hole long enough to praise it -- Watterson won't praise the Sun).

Will it be the most popular? Who knows. Is it the best? You bet. It is that rare, inspired effort that falls into a category that includes, among a handful of others: Beethoven, the Beatles, Einstein, South Park, The Godfather, Homer (poet AND Simpson), Ella Fitzgerald, Degas, Freakonomics and Winston Churchill's speech after Dunkirk you either get it or get real happy with the idea of "ignorance is bliss."

I'm also privy to some backstage stuff, works and styles that don't see the light of day, and folks, let me tell you, rT draws like Raphael, paints like Vermeer and thinks like ...hmm, well... like Richard Thompson.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Love your work! But I didn't get the correlation between Monday's (or was it yeserday's?) drawing and the column. The hearts on the map with a person on the phone made me think of a long distance relationship... could you spell it out for me? I'll admit that it could just be early in the week and my brain hasn't caught up yet. Thanks!

Nick Galifianakis: Long distance relationship

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Silver Spring, Md.: So, Nick, what are you wearing? And what about Zuzu, what's she wearing?

Nick Galifianakis: Zuzu is wearing fur. I'm wearing much less fur fortunately (thanks mom!) because my dad, bless his heart, looks like he walked off the middle of the evolutionary chart.

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Bait and Switch?: Hey! This was advertised as a Live Nude chat... I want Suzanne's verification that this is what we are really getting here...

Suzanne Tobin: I was totally mystified by this question until someone else referenced Carolyn's Friday chat, and there to my surprise, I found the following post from Nick himself: "Hello, friends, peanuts and Haxian loyalists. Nick Galifianakis here. I thought I'd crash this party to tell (beg) you to chime in this Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 1 pm for a LIVE NUDE chat! I'll be talking about all things columns and cartoons and how I'm tired of carrying Carolyn all these years. Hope to see you then. Nick"

I assure you, I knew NOTHING about this! I am shocked and appalled! We are a FAMILY-FRIENDLY newspaper.

Nick, what have you got to say for yourself?

Nick Galifianakis: Um... my fanny's chafing?

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The mother ship: Hey Nick. If you ever get tired of promoting yourself (offstage hooting and guffawing), would you please plug the ALS walk? Here's the URL.

It's a great cause, guys. ALS is a horrible disease, and always fatal. When I saw what it did to my mom, all I could think was that no one else should have to die this way. These days, cash and awareness (and thus more cash) are the only recipe for getting incurable things cured.

If anyone who goes to the site has trouble signing up or sponsoring, please e-mail me at haxc@washpost.com

LIMITED EDITION GALIFIANAKIS-DESIGNED T-SHIRTS FOR THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE!

(P.S. for Nick. How would you like to design a shirt?)

Nick Galifianakis: ATTENTION FOLKS! (especially while I finish this insanely long answer.

Please join in. You will get to meet Carolyn, get the T shirt and get to feel good about doing something really really good.

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Your sister in art: Hey Nick, really dig your drawings - beautiful line! They have real depth and movement. Lots of attitude.

Ok, I'm going to get this in early. Last time (I had just graduated from the Corcoran), I got caught up in the hormone explosion that was your chat and never asked you to expand on who your influences are and why.

As an artist, who do you like? Thanks!

Nick Galifianakis: My influences, in no particular order and with no disrespect to my many artist friends whose work I admire but will probably forget to mention here.

A partial list (google these folks, you won't be disappointed): Ronald Searle, most probably the greatest cartoonist ever - he's the gold standard cartooning. Still alive and still a god.

Honore Daumier , THE cartoonist of the 19th century, went to prison for pissing off the king, was a trmemdous painter and had a huge influence on the Impressionists. Degas, who was probably the greatest all-around artist that ever lived, was said to have the largest collection of daumier originals. What does that tell you?

Um Pat Oliphant, the modern heir to Daumier, at his best is the best. He is a first rate draftsman. As a political cartoonist, no one has ever been smarter, nastier or more well-observed, the guy has launched the pens of thousands of young cartoonists. Yes, everyone of my generation, in this biz, wanted to draw like Jeff MacNelly, but they wanted to think like Pat Oliphant.

Lautrec and his loose line and his lust for EVERYTHING, especially his lust for getting everything on a canvas. Egon Shciele and his immediacy - super-fresh and in your face (in a good way). Speaking of in your face, Herblock would never shy away from throwing a graphic roundhouse and he packed a tremendous punch, plus I grew up on his work. Edward Sorel Jules Pfeiffer and that generation of satirists that held the establishment accountable in a harsh but clever way - their attention to irony informs me still. David Levine, one of the plot points in caricature and one of the greatest watercolorists ever. Burt Silverman, the portrait painter's portrait painter. Steve Brodner. Philip Burke, Frazetta, the Ashcan artists (George bellows, Hopper and that gang). The great Al Hirschfeld, the freakishly great Bill Watterson. Norman Rockwell (anyone that thinks he was "just" an illustrator should "just" stay home and watch TV), Andrew Wyeth, his father, N.C. Degas wait, if I go down this road, we could be here for a while. Too too many.

Among my friends, Richard Thompson (the only actual genius I know), Kevin Rechin (funny, in line and in person, on an astonishing level), Peter DeSeve (the illustrator most illustrators aspire to be), Ann Talnaes (the most beautiful line you'll ever see), Carter Goodrich (understands draftsmanship and color on a level I would need twelve lifetimes achieve), John Kascht (the world's most elegant caricatures. Amazing, heightened portraits), Robert Liberace (the Michelangelo of our time. Really.) Tom Toles ( forwards the political conversation instead of simply repeating it - that alone separates from 99% of those in his biz) are your eyes glazed over yet! MINE ARE! One more: my Dad. An artist in every way, every medium - he makes up every day like it's brand new. It's quite a thing.

I have plagiarized every single one of these artists and many more.

Man, I am out of BREATH!

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New York, N.Y.: Nick, I've been following the column since Carolyn was a copy editor with a side job.

I know this sounds stupid, but I'm perplexed by your "amicable divorce" with Carolyn, something she hasn't written about much (so I'd understand if you don't answer this question.) In my experience, watching my parents and friends, divorces generally happen when people can't stand each other - otherwise, they try to work it out. What, exactly, is an "amicable" divorce? Why divorce if you're amicable?

Nick Galifianakis: I'll try and get to this - after I stop sobbing. No, I will (I'm involved in a longer answer so hang in there).

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Context, please: "..a beautiful family with three boys; one looks like Kenny, one looks like me and one looks like Richard."

Uh oh... I'm falling behind. Who's Kenny?

Nick Galifianakis: Her wonderful hubby. Another insanely long answer on the way (sorry for the wait)

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Washington, D.C.: Love and live for your cartoons! I'm considering getting another refrigerator so I can showcase more of them.

It's obvious you and Carolyn pay attention to people, really pay attention. So I think it would be interesting to hear what you think of her, why you think Carolyn is so good at what she does? Thanks!

Nick Galifianakis: It's here turkey chili. Her facility with hammers and screwdrivers.

You mean whu is she the best advice columnist since Socrates?

Her ability to cut through all the crap we spend the bulk of our lives obsessing over - she gets to the essence of a thing quickly and soundly. She offers objectivity and simplicity - not that the road will be easy to follow, it's simply easy to see than you think - and she's the best at pointing the way.

She's grounded and she doesn't lie to herself - right there, that's an amazing weapon. It the foundation for her gift of clarity. And she takes responsibility for her own life. She believes you can't control every cosmic insult sent your way, you can only control your own thoughts and actions , your rsponse, after that. You're the boss of your life.

For example, victimhood and it's many subtle and rationalized forms: I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt that said, " No one can make you feel inferior without your giving them permission." Carolyn has always espoused at least a form of that - others with ill intent need you to complete the transaction. Taking control of your life, inner and outer, accepting who you are and amking wise adjustments along the way is the ultimate power move. And it's the real path to inner peace. This is the Haxian.Way.

Anyway I could ramble on about this for hours - that's another swell thing about Carolyn: regardless of our similar sensibilities, she can say in thre sentences what it would take a book for me to say..

We all get caught up in the gyrations of our insecurities and this obscures our view (for those of us who even bother to look). And there are entire cultures and an entire industry (not to mention an entire branch of the medical world) that is invested in wandering through the labyrinthian facade of those insecurities. Whether they're selling you beer or you're seeing an incompetent therapist, it's so easy to avoid the real you and the real problem. (I should say, an effective, competent therapist is worth their weight in gold and rare.) The "real" problem is almost always a simple animal.

It reminds me of my favorite scene in "the Exorcist." The brooding, doubting young intellectual, Father Karas has been analyzing Linda Blair and determined that something, possibly beyond the medical reach, is up. So the church pulls out the big gun, Father Merrin, who decades earlier had a showdown with Dick Chene uh, Satan, that almost killed him.

Merrin, "The Exorcist," shows up and after listening for moment, heads upstairs and tries to guide the young priest by telling him to push all the crap aside and keep it simple. Satan (your insecurities) will try to trick you, lie to you, nuance you, work some truth in, etc - and it'ss a powerful effort that appeals to your habits and your weaknesses. Avoid that minefield of forks in the road and myriad options, Merrin says, and get to the real issue because, "It's only one."

But the young, doubting intellectual persists. Saying something like, "It would help if I gave you some more background info on the different personalities I've seen. So far there seems to be three -"

Merrin cuts him off, firmly. "There's only one."

Carolyn Hax IS the Exorcist.

(cue music)

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How do I ask this...: Are you dating anyone now? If not, can I date you?

Nick Galifianakis: Hi mom.

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Davidsonville, Md.: A few years ago, my mother tracked you down to buy one of your cartoons with cats in it to give to me for my birthday. That was a cool thing for her to do, really, even if it does uhhh, highlight my single-woman-with-cats status.

I would, however, like to apologize if she gave you a hard time. I think she told you the people in your drawings were short-waisted or something. As punishment, I've selected a lesser quality nursing home for her.

Nick Galifianakis: That is the funniest thing I've read all day.

Thank you for that.

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Possible to take the question marks o, UT: of Nick's responses????????

Nick Galifianakis: Again. Sorry. My bad. It's fixed.

No wait! Blame the producers! Blame the producers! Damn them all!

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Bethesda, Md.: Do you and Carolyn work independantly of each other? Does she ever make suggestions about your cartoons -or- do you ever give her advice on her advice column?

Nick Galifianakis: Absolutely. Both. we're a team.

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6th and D: What was it like being married to Hax? Why did it end?

Nick Galifianakis: Great! Things happen (plus we did a whole chat on this years ago). Love love love my girl.

However, I will take this opportunity to apologize for any weird symbols in the text - it was easier for to write my longer answers in word and then cut and paste. I could see what i was doin a bit better.

Nothing but chat screen from here on out.

Thanks

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Alexandria, Va.: Man, your answers are so much faster than Carolyn's. Have you considered pursuing the advice business and competing with her?

Nick Galifianakis: Ok. Here's the big confession: I AM Carolyn!

Kidding.

But I am going to try and rapid fore a few short ones, if that's ok.

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Chapel Hill, N.C.: So Carolyn hinted at a difference in your artwork on Mon/Wed/Sun versus the days when her column is taken from her live chats.

Were you going to expound on this difference today, or is it more of a wait-and-see thing??

Love the art btw. It is actually what caught my eye and brought me to read Carolyn's column in the first place.

Nick Galifianakis: Thank you.

Yes, the new cartoons are a bit scaled down and quicker reads - a bit of a silent moment, still connected to the column. They're a fun exercise.

And they are always Carolyn.

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Across from The Post, D.C.: I've always liked your cartoons, and I've always admired how well you and Carolyn work together, but had no idea you were this funny! Can we get The Post to get you a weekly chat???!!!

Nick Galifianakis: c/o Deb Heard

Editor of Style

Washington Post

Washington, D.C.

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Fort Montgomery, N.Y.: Was wondering about your background and how you got started...

And do you do any fine art in your "spare" time?

Nick Galifianakis: The quick story is (and this is also for the "cartoon teacher" that wrote in).

I always doodled, but didn't give any talent I had its proper weight, no art lessons, etc.

Then one day I woke up politically and felt I had something to say. And I had built up this graphic vocabulary, so i married the two and started submitting to pretty much every publication on the planet.

Started slow and picked up from there.

My advice: have something to say. Draw well enough to make your point - no more, or it gets in the way.

I feel, I'm not soi much a cartoonsist because I draw well but more because I have an (annoying) need to express myself.

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Anonymous: Can we get a link to the "how Carolyn and Nick ended" chat, please. Sorry, Carolyn and Nick, for reducing a period of your lives to an, um, internet link. We're just curious.

washingtonpost.com: I think this is it.

Suzanne Tobin: If it doesn't work, give me a holler.

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McLean, Va.: I know you and Carolyn are fine now, but was it hard having to stay professionally linked as your marriage dissolved? Was it difficult to have that a public thing? Were you tempted to say "find another cartoonist"? I would be.

Nick Galifianakis: Actually, it was more like, "I'll find another advice columnist." But, alas, no one else was good enough.

We kept what was best about our friendship. For example, yesterday I asked her what kind of rug pad I should under my new area rug.

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Metro Washington, D.C.: Hello - You've no doubt been asked this before but I've not seen an answer - are there any plans to publish a book of your cartoons? If so, when? Thanks!

Nick Galifianakis: This is frustrating - several of you have asked (thank you).

I had an agent and we were putting a collection togetther - I finally felt I had a body of work that would, on some level, do the trick for you fine folks. The agent was reputable (she has ushered in several books, etc), we settled on a package and then she...POOF! Gone. Nothing.

The woman evaporated. I checked up on her after a while to make sure she didn't get wrapped around a tree, and discovered she simply bailed form the biz.

So I'm back to square one and back on it.

Thank you for asking.

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Washington, D.C.: nikos: what's your favorite cartoon, ever? (yours, not someone else's)

Nick Galifianakis: Oh, too many - they're all my children. But one keeps cropping up.

It took me five minutes to draw (some take hours). It was yin talking to a square yang.

The caption read, "You'll do."

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What, no picture?: How about a self-portrait?

Nick Galifianakis: Pics and toons are being posted. You'll know when I know.

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washingtonpost.com: Nick self-portrait.

Suzanne Tobin: And here's Nick!

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Arlington, Va.: For a long time there your drawings of yourself showed you with a long ponytail, then suddenly, it's all gone. What's up with that? (Don't answer if it's a severe medical issue.)

Nick Galifianakis: Well, it was a severe medical issue - for others. Locks of Love, as I stated earleir.

Funny thing your question. Over the last 2 years I found it endlessly fascinating how many folks needed to comment on my hair. I suppose against the conservative backdrop of the D.C. dress code where simply wearing a colorful shirt can lead folks to think you work for Cirque du Soleil, I shouldn't be surprised. Add to it my beard (also gone) and there have been interesting moments. Such as...

I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a book I'd ordered. They keep them behind the register. While they were getting the book, an attractive woman approached me and started chatting me up. She was sunny and pleasant, very engaging, had an easy way about her. This wasn't the worst thing in the world. In the meantime, the clerk had brought the book, taken my credit card, rung me up and handed me my package. I looked at my new friend and said, "Well, it was nice chatting with you. Take care." I was dating someone I didn't follow up, but it was nice to be reminded I had a pulse. I turned to walk away and she grabbed my arm, firmly. A little surprised, I looked at her - her eyes were wide, focused and pleading. "You look like Jesus," she said with the conviction of someone looking at Jesus. Wow. So much for cute eyes, or a winning personality. I have to be the Son of God to meet women.

But my favorite hair moment happened at Eastern Market. I spied and older black gentleman staring at me. He made no effort to look away. My mind was going through the options, was he a friend of my father's? Nope. Did I owe him money? Uh uh. Was my fly down? Again? Nope. Was there a five pound tarantula on my should? No, just my 30 lbs of hair.

He kept staring, and as we made eye contact he broke into the warmest, most beautiful smile and then spoke. "Man, I toured with Hendrix in '68 .Thanks for bringing it all back."

So it's gone and I'm happy to wave bye-bye. Alas, no more rogue hairs spearing my eyeballs, no more yanking aclump from my head just because I turned over in my sleep. No more leaving a bird's nest in the drain of my shower. No more taking a bite of food and suddenly feeling my scalp getting tight, only to realize that hair is in my mouth behind the fo .well, you get the idea.

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washingtonpost.com: Nick pic, post buzz cut.

Suzanne Tobin: And here is the current Nick!

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San Diego, Calif.: I love your cartoons! Is there one place that they are stored either on The Washington Post or somewhere else? I sometimes want to go back and find them and have trouble. Also, how does editing work for your cartoons? Do you ever have to change them because they are inappropriate or just not liked?

Nick Galifianakis: Thanks!

Well, washingtonpost.com has them archived (Suzanne? Liz? Mommy?).

However, I've caved - and i'm trying get a Web site (it's a trillion cartoons, folks), hopefully by spring. You'll be able to peruse at your leisure.

Nick Galifianakis: I've had to change a few; Once, a Style editor felt that the panties I drew looked too much like pubic hair -- she was right.

You know, everyday things like that.

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IJoCA, VA: So what do you do with your original art?

Nick Galifianakis: I store it. I have books and books and books of it. I draw, scan and them send an electronic file out to the paper and the syndicate. The original always stays here.

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t-shirt???: I'm out of town that weekend, but I'd totally contribute in return for a t-shirt! Eh? Eh?

Nick Galifianakis: Excellent!

Everybody! Join Carolyn for this worthy stroll! You get a T-Shirt and she's giving FREE BACK MASSAGES!

Seriously, sign up today.

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Washington, D.C.: So, dude, are you gonna get hitched again?

Nick Galifianakis: My stock answer:

Who knows? If I do, it won't be for any of the institutions that drive us to marriage: the vows, tax breaks, security of having someone in old age, or even kids. It'll be for that girl.

The other stuff might follow, but it has to be because I'm in it to walk through life with her.

(Pause, while we all wipe away tears.)

Okay! Back to being ass!

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Are you related to...:...too funny, everyone asking this. I did go to school in Falls Church with a Sophia Galifianakis.... well?

Nick Galifianakis: My wonderful sister.

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River City: so how long does it take to produce a 1-cell cartoon, from brainstorming to final lines?

Nick Galifianakis: Average...? Anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. No real pattern.

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Sobbing: Will any woman ever be able to live up to Carolyn in your life?

Nick Galifianakis: Joke "sobbing" aside, there's nothing to live up tto. We're all different and therefore the dynamic is different.

We all get a clean slate.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you ever drawn any political-type cartoons? Your style

would be excellent for it.

Nick Galifianakis: Yes, indeed I have, mostly for USA Today. And the current political climate is going to keep me form wanting to do that again.

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River City: Did you grow up loving the sketches of Edward Gorey, like I did?

Nick Galifianakis: Who didn't. Lovely little pen and ink masterpieces.

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Maryland: Do people ever recognize you from your self-caricature? I'll bet they do when you're out with you dog!

Nick Galifianakis: Zuzu gets recognized OFTEN! Craziest thing.

Usually on a walk or at the vet or at a park. People go bonkers for my little girl. And then there's whole autograph session, promises to keep in touch, air kisses...

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Washington, D.C.: Given the subject matter for which you draw, you could literally be cruel. How do you temper a potential cruel or rude strip to a clever/humorous piece?

Nick Galifianakis: Hmm... you mean I'm not cruel. Thanks... thanks a lot.

I don't try NOT to be cruel so much as I try to be relevant. There are times I want to hit harder but if it doesn't add to a satisfying experience then what's the point - you're being mean to be mean. have a good reason to be mean and they pay off in a satisfying, thought-provoking or coffee through the nose way (now if i could just learn to do that).

For me, the worse thing you could say was that my cartoons are cute. Wow, that's a stake through the heart.

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Arlington, Va.: I just have to thank you for the comic you drew of two pregnant women where one is telling the other she got an OB with privileges at two hospitals so her MIL couldn't stake them both out. You could have been talking about my own MIL as I'm 7 months pregnant and she's demanding too much access, and in fact, I tell her a different hospital every time she asks where we're delivering. Do you ever sell originals of your cartoons? I might love to have that one... framed... and on the wall of the nursery.

Nick Galifianakis: Thank you very much. Chime in after the chat.

(I live near Fairfax Hospital. And I have a catcher mit.)

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Bethesda, Md..: Carloyn is brilliant. Yet, have you ever thought she gave the wrong advice and then told her so?

Nick Galifianakis: Only to me.

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North McLean, Va.: I really enjoy the way the figures in your drawings merge sexiness with innocence. That is, while they all exude obvious sex appeal, they are also vaguely childlike. This seems to so clearly reflect what it is to be young and confused.

Nick Galifianakis: I would like you to write the opening to my book.

Any other analysis or other lovliness you want to shower me with will be welcomed with open heart.

And thank you for paying attention.

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From Durham, N.C.: Hi Nick,

I remember your name in N.C. politics, too -- was your dad a state rep or something? Anyway, when I was back in N.C. recently, I saw Carolyn's column was carried by the News & Observer...BUT NO CARTOONS! It was tragic. What's the story?

Nick Galifianakis: Is the News& Observer Editor back on crack again?! (kidding, lawyers)

I was born in Durham. That's where my family settled. I'm gonna have to have a chat with those folks at that paper.

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Oxon Hill, Md.: Are your captions ever taken right from something you've overheard somewhere? They often read like that. They're great!

Nick Galifianakis: Not exactly, though often they are just a matter of saying, outloud and in a stylized way, what you're thinking.

Think about that.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, how may I get in touch if I wanted to purchase one of your cartoons? Love your work!

Thanks.

Nick Galifianakis: Chime in to the column afterwards.

Suzanne Tobin: What Nick means is to e-mail tellme@washpost.com.

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Alexandria, Va.: Not so much a question as a comment. Before I read Carolyn's column I read your cartoon and smile. Then after I've read Carolyn's part, I read your cartoon again and laugh.

Do you plan it that way? (ok so it did turn into a question)

Nick Galifianakis: Of course. It's written, almost exactly like that, on my job description.

That was a very sweet thing to say. thanks

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Alexandria, Va.: I just wanted to say I've always been grateful to your father, Democratic Congressman Nick Galifianakis (that's with a "gal" at one end and a "kiss" at the other) --if he hadn't run against and defeated incumbent Senator Everett Jordan in the 1972 primary, the North Carolina Democrats might not have been weakened enough to allow the victory of the great Jesse Helms, "the conscience of the Senate," so he could begin his thirty years of service to our country.

I was in Washington that summer doing opposition research for the Helms campaign. (E.g., I prepared a chart showing that while your Dad was fairly moderate as national Democrats go, he was still the most liberal member of the North Carolina congressional delegation.)

Nick Galifianakis: Actually, he's my Uncle. Thanks, I'll pass this along to him.

And to make it a true family affair, yeah, we were raised with that "Starts with a gal, ends with a kis" thing.

My cousin Zachy once said to his dad,"Yeah, why couldn't it start with a gal and end with f%#$."

Wiped me out.

UPDATED 10.4.07: Hi folks. Whenever I do things like this, I often run across people that know or know of my Uncle Nick. It's usually a warm memory or some other nicety. Unfortunately, when I (too too quickly) scanned this question, I thought it was of that ilk and, stupidly, answered accordingly. Only upon reviewing the transcript did I discover my error. So I asked permission to answer it as if I had read it correctly and that that be made part of the permanent transcript, the producer agreed and so, keeping with the spirit of a chat time-crunch, I tried to answer it as if it were live, bad grammar and all. Here's what I would have written had I been paying better attention. -- Nick

Nick Galifianakis is my Uncle, I was named after him.

My Uncle Nick has had a long and distinguished career as a family man, congressman, lawyer and, still, pillar of his community in Durham, N.C. He doesn't need his nephew to defend him or trumpet his accomplishments.

Interesting thiing: I googled "conscience of the Senate" just now.The first few hits that came up read "Robert Byrd." I kept scrolling (more Robert Byrd, Robert Byrd, Robert byrd) and eventually saw someone different, "Phil Hart" (they actually named a building after him). Helms didn't seem to be linked to those particular words, atleast not on google (not known for being commie-pinko organization).

Personal memories involving our beloved Jesse (I have met him):

For 12 years right up until he ran against my Uncle, he got to share his views on a nightly broadcast on a station on whose board he sat. I remember those "speeches" as a kid.

He wasn't fairing well in the race until Nixon came down and the billboards went up: "Vote for Jesse. He's one of us." The strong implication being that if your last name is "Galifianakis" in N.C., you ain't one of us. I was a little boy and it had to be explained to me, but that billboard and the fear (sound familiar?) and intolerance it promoted helped create a future cartoonist.

He went on to win the Senate seat several times, always outspending his opponents, always getting tons of dough from out of state (funny thing, I went to UNC and couldn't find a single person who would admit to voting for Helms -- obviously, enough did. Just weren't too terribly proud of it. I commend you for being honest, in this anonymous forum.)

Helms, you may know, had a habit of asking for political cartoons that showed him in a less than flattering light -- it was his way of letting us know we didn't get to him.

In the year that Senator Mosley-Braun (an otherwise undistinguished Senator) single-handedly challenged Helms over the use of the confederate flag AND WON, I drew a cartoon for USA Today showing Senator Mosley-Braun stuffing the flag down Jesse's throat. And then I waited.

No call. No call the day it came out, nor the next day. None after the weekend. No call at all. So, I called and offered the cartoon. A staff member's response? "F%$# you."

Hey, what do I know? Maybe you're right. If racism represents conscience, then you might be right. If misogyny represents conscience, you've got a point. Oppressive "Southern culture", homophobia, faux commie-baiting, threatening the President with murder and a relentless passion to move us "forward" into the 11th century must all be, in your mind, indicative of conscience. Well done.

"Conscience of the Senate." Your label, apparently, not history's.

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Quick Link?: Is there a quick link that will be on the front page of the Post's website so that we can quickly get to Carolyn's perfect daily advice & Nick's awesome cartoons?! Thanks!

Suzanne Tobin: You have to click on the Style link on the main home page. Once you get to the Style home page, scroll down until you see Carolyn's delightful visage. (You could always bookmark it to save going through Step 1.)

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Nick Galifianakis: Alrighty folks. That's it for today. Wow, I don't know how Carolyn does this so well.

I promised an answer to the "amicable divorce" question. Obviously, that'll have to wait. But I'll try and get something out to you personally within a reasonable amount of time.

I'm terribly flattered so many of you wrote in - the flip side being I'm sorry I just couldn't get to everyone. Still, you were swell to show up.

Keep reading the best advice column on the planet, we are EVERY DAY now! And if you have it in you, please show up for Carolyn's ALS walk.

Okay, Zuzu is licking my leg, her way of telling me I need to let her out...or I've spilled peanut butter again.

Thank you all. Cheers,

Nick

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Suzanne Tobin: Nick, thanks so much for taking nearly two hours out of your busy day to chat up your many fans. And, with all this talk about Richard Thompson, I may need to have him on my "Comics: Meet the Artist" chat soon.

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