In one famous Charles Addams cartoon, everyone in a theater audience is bawling at something on the screen, except for Uncle Fester, who is laughing. I was the Uncle Fester at my screening of "The Hangover" -- everybody else was laughing and I was, well, not bawling, more like seething. I am as vulnerable to low adolescent humor as every other red-blooded American male. "The Hangover," though, was so broad in a can-you-top-this? way, it made me feel as if I were trapped in a cafeteria during a food fight -- or trapped in a locker room listening to some hopeless would-be hedonists relate tall tales about their exploits.

The millions of people who did respond to that movie must have been reacting to the odd-trio chemistry of Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms. On "Inside the Actors Studio" Monday (above), Cooper described their collaboration as a true three-way partnership: all committed to playing their roles as actors in a comedy, not clowns nudging the audience to laugh. I think the director did more than enough nudging for each of them, but I don't doubt Cooper's sincerity -- in "Actors Studio," he cried almost as much as John Boehner. There was a good reason: He was the first graduate of the Actors Studio's MFA program at Pace University to be a guest on the Actors Studio program.

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Cooper and Helms got huge career boosts from "The Hangover" and even Justin Bartha, who was off-screen most of the time, won a lead in the new Todd Solondz film, "Dark Horse." But, for my money, no one has done better, artistically or commercially, than Zach Galifianakis. I think he gave his breakthrough performance in a movie hardly anyone has seen: "It's Kind of a Funny Story," a coming-of-age story set in a psychiatric ward. Galifianakis brought off the role of a quirky surrogate parent to a possibly suicidal adolescent with humor, warmth, and nary a hint of sentimentality or condescension. He's the rare comic actor and comedian whose humanity and originality go hand in hand -- as you can see in this irresistible video of him interviewing under-age personal assistants. It was last Saturday's "SNL Digital Short."

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