Zach Anner is originally from Kenmore, New York. He was born with cerebral palsy. Anner graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School. After a stint working for Disney World as a park security specialist at Epcot, he started college at the University of Texas, Austin, in 2005. While attending school, he obtained celebrity interviews through That's Awesome! a sketch comedy program on the university's local Public-access television cable TV channel called Texas Student TV K29HW-D. That’s Awesome! was created by independent filmmaker Mark Dennis (director), a friend Zach credits as the one who encouraged him to be in front of the camera. In 2008, he and fellow production mates started a comedy troupe called Lark the Beard, which produced a Streamy nominated web-series entitled The Wingmen. Anner is currently involved in writing shows and feature movies with Lark the Beard. Zach has been quoted to say "I used to release a lot of videos for the internet."
On June 2, 2010, Zach Anner uploaded a video submission to a contest sponsored by Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Productions. Oprah's "Search for the Next TV Star" contest is a chance for one "top five" finalist to compete on a reality show located in Los Angeles, California. The winner of the reality program receives a show on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The "top five" online finalists are determined by the number of votes their video receives. On the morning of Friday, June 11, 2010, Anner had just over 3,000 votes for his video submission, while the leader of the competition possessed over 9000 votes. By the night of Saturday, June 12, celebrity endorsements and support began to appear for Anner. John Mayer, an early supporter of Anner's, posted words of encouragement for Zach on his blog. According to The Daily Texan, Anner, who took a weekend trip to Dallas, Texas, was unaware of the overnight success of his video submission. With video cameras, friends of Anner filmed his first reaction to the then over 2,000,000 votes, as well as the blog and "To Zach Anner" video by John Mayer. Anner exclaimed, "How....What the...What the Balls is this?" at the sight of his new popularity. As a response, Anner posted the subsequent "Thank You, Internet" and "I want to come and see you!" videos. On February 25th, it was announced that Zach Anner won the competition; winning his own television show, $100,000, and a Chevrolet Equinox.