Janeane Garofalo

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Janeane Garofalo
Garofalo in August 2008
Birth nameJaneane Marie Garofalo
Born (1964-09-28) September 28, 1964 (age 57)
Newton, New Jersey, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Years active1985–present
Genres Alternative comedy
Website janeanegarofalo.com

Janeane Marie Garofalo ( /əˈnnɡəˈrɒfəl/ ; born September 28, 1964) is an American comedian and former co-host on the now-defunct Air America Radio's The Majority Report .


Garofalo began her career as a stand-up comedian and became a cast member on The Ben Stiller Show , The Larry Sanders Show , and Saturday Night Live , then appeared in more than 50 movies, with leading or major roles in The Truth About Cats and Dogs , Wet Hot American Summer , The Matchmaker , Reality Bites , The Wild , Steal This Movie! , Clay Pigeons , Sweethearts , Mystery Men , The Minus Man , and The Independent , among numerous others. She has been a series regular on television programs such as Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp , 24 , and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce . [1]

Garofalo continues to circulate regularly within New York City's local comedy and performance art scene.

Early life

Garofalo was born in Newton, New Jersey, the daughter of Joan and Carmine Garofalo. Her mother was a secretary, in the petrochemical industry, who died of cancer when Janeane was 24. Her father is a former executive at Exxon. [2] [3] Garofalo is of Italian/Irish descent. She grew up in various places, including Ontario, California; Madison, New Jersey; and Houston, Texas, where she graduated from James E. Taylor High School. [2] [3] Garofalo is quoted as having disliked life in Houston because of the heat and humidity and the emphasis on prettiness and sports in high school. [2] [3]

While studying history at Providence College, Garofalo entered a comedy talent search sponsored by the Showtime cable network, winning the title of "Funniest Person in Rhode Island." Her original gimmick was to read off her hand, which was not successful in subsequent performances. Dreaming of earning a slot on the writing staff of the TV show Late Night With David Letterman , she became a professional standup upon graduating from college with degrees in History and American Studies. [4] She struggled for a number of years, even working briefly as a bike messenger in Boston. [5]

Entertainment career

Stand-up comedy

Garofalo performing stand-up comedy in 2008 Janeane Garofalo Jan 15, 2008.jpg
Garofalo performing stand-up comedy in 2008

The winner of numerous comedy awards and recognitions, she officially began her career in stand-up comedy in the mid-1980's during the pre-grunge era. Her appearance was often in line with very mid-1980's style: disheveled with thick black glasses and unkempt hair. Her comedy is often self-deprecating; she has made fun of popular culture and the pressures on women to conform to body image ideals promoted by the media.

When in San Francisco, Garofalo was a frequent guest at the San Francisco Comedy Condo.

Garofalo's comedy shows involve her and her notebook, which is filled with years' worth of article clippings and random observations she references for direct quotes during her act. Garofalo has said that she does not tell jokes as much as make observations designed to get laughs. She was part of the alternative comedy scene in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, appearing at Un-Cabaret and other venues and co-created the "Eating It" alternative stand-up comedy show, which ran at Luna Lounge on the Lower East Side of New York City between 1995 and 2005, frequently hosting the show and appearing as a performer.

She appeared on HBO's Comedy Half-Hour and Comedy Hour specials in 1995 and 1997, respectively, among similar subsequent appearances, including a one-hour stand-up special entitled entitled If You Will, performed at Seattle's Moore Theatre that aired on Epix in June 2010 and was released on DVD in September 2010. [6]

Film career

Garofalo has performed a variety of roles in more than 50 feature films, playing leading or large roles in Reality Bites , The Truth About Cats and Dogs , I Shot a Man in Vegas , The Matchmaker , Clay Pigeons , Steal This Movie! , Sweethearts , Mystery Men , The Independent , Wet Hot American Summer , Manhood , Ash Tuesday , and Bad Parents , among others, and supporting roles in The Cable Guy , Romy and Michele's High School Reunion , Cop Land , Half Baked , Permanent Midnight , Dogma , 200 Cigarettes , and The Wild .

Garofalo's first movie role, filmed the year before she appeared on national television, was a brief comical appearance as a counter worker in a burger joint in Late for Dinner in 1991, but her real breakthrough into film came in Reality Bites (1994) as Winona Ryder's character's Gap-managing best friend Vickie.

Further television work and supporting roles in feature films included Bye Bye Love and Now and Then , and a leading role in I Shot a Man in Vegas , until 1996 when she was cast in the starring role in the romantic comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs , a variation on Cyrano de Bergerac which featured Uma Thurman in the top-billed but smaller role as a beautiful but vapid model, while Garofalo played a highly intelligent radio host. Initially an independent film, it became a studio movie when Uma Thurman was signed to play the shallow model. The film was a modest hit, but Garofalo detests it to this day, calling it anti-feminist (and admitting discomfort in the "ugly duckling" role).

Based on the success of this film, a producer then offered her the part of Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise if she could lose weight; after trimming down, however, she learned that Renée Zellweger had won the part instead. [7]

She turned down the role of television reporter Gale Weathers in Wes Craven's Scream because she thought the film would be too violent: "I said I didn't want to be in a movie where a teen girl was disemboweled. I didn't know it turned out so good, and it was a funny movie." [8]

Following up The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Garofalo played the lead role in The Matchmaker , a 1997 romantic comedy film about the misadventures of a cynical American woman who reluctantly visits Ireland; it is Garofalo's first and only lead role to date. That same year, she played a supporting role as a deputy sheriff in the drama Cop Land , a police gangster film starring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro. In 1998, she performed her first voice-acting job playing "Ursula the Artist" in Disney's English dub of Studio Ghibli's Kiki's Delivery Service and briefly appeared in Permanent Midnight . In 1999, she starred as "The Bowler" in the film Mystery Men , about an underdog group of super heroes. [1]

In 2000, she portrayed Abbie Hoffman's wife Anita Hoffman opposite Vincent D'Onofrio as Hoffman in Steal This Movie! , involving the couple's political activism during the Vietnam War era. Later that same year, she received second billing under Jerry Stiller in a comedic film about a low-budget movie producer entitled The Independent . The following year, Garofalo was top-billed in Wet Hot American Summer , the 2001 cult comedy about an American summer camp, and starred in The Search for John Gissing . [1]

In 2002, she played Catherine Connolly in The Laramie Project and in 2003, she starred in Manhood and Ash Tuesday , and appeared in the crime film Wonderland . She played a supporting role in Jiminy Glick in Lalawood in 2004. [1]

A puppet version of Garofalo appeared (and was graphically killed off) in the 2004 movie Team America: World Police ; while Garofalo was irritated by the parody, she was more upset by the filmmakers' lack of correspondence. "I ran into them in the street, Trey and the other guy, and I said to them, 'The least you could do is send me a puppet.' And they said OK, took my address down ... and never sent me a puppet! So while Team America bothered me, the fact they didn't send me my puppet, that bothered me even more." [9]

In 2005, she played the ex-wife of a man coping with the reverberations of a divorce in Duane Hopwood . In 2006, she performed Bridget the giraffe's voice in the computer-animated Disney feature film The Wild . In 2007, she provided the voice of Colette Tatou, a chef in the Pixar/Disney feature film Ratatouille , in which Garofalo affected a pronounced French accent for the role, appropriate for a character based on a French cook described as the world's best female chef. [10] She made cameo appearances in The Guitar in 2008 and Labor Pains in 2009, and starred in Bad Parents in 2012, a comedy about New Jersey soccer moms obsessing over their children's experiences playing the sport. She starred in the 2015 film 3rd Street Blackout. [1]

Garofalo appears as herself in the documentary film Sticky: A (Self) Love Story , released on Amazon in 2016, in which she claims that she had to get drunk on tequila to do her masturbation scene in the film Truth About Cats and Dogs. [11] [12] [13] [ failed verification ]


Garofalo's big break came in 1990 after meeting Ben Stiller at Canter's Deli in Los Angeles, where they were hanging out with stand-up friends. They bonded over their "love of SCTV , early Saturday Night Live , and Albert Brooks." [14]

Her first exposure on national television came soon thereafter by way of her appearance as a stand-up comic on MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour. Subsequently, her first television series debut was on the short-lived Ben Stiller Show on Fox in 1992, on which she was a cast member alongside longtime friends Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick.

A chance meeting on the set of that show led her to being offered the role of Paula on The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, earning her two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series [15] nominations in 1996 and 1997. For a time, she was actually working on both series simultaneously.[ citation needed ] After The Ben Stiller Show was cancelled, Garofalo joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) for its 1994–95 season. [16] She left SNL in March 1995 (mid-season) after only six months, saying that the experience left her "anxious and depressed", and that a sexist attitude pervaded the show. She said that many of the sketches were "juvenile and homophobic". [17] According to New York Magazine , Garofalo was "largely stuck in dull, secondary wife and girlfriend roles", and quoted her friends as saying that she considered the stint "the most miserable experience of [her] life." [18]

Following SNL, Garofalo appeared in a plethora of guest star roles: the grown-up daughter of the Buchmans on the final episode of Mad About You ; Jerry Seinfeld's female counterpart (and, briefly, fiancée) Jeannie Steinman on Seinfeld ; a recurring correspondent on Michael Moore's TV Nation , and a former girlfriend of Dave Foley's character on Newsradio . She provided the voice for the weekly telephone conversations between the series lead and an older friend (Garofalo) in Felicity . Two television pilots starring Garofalo, the 2003 ABC show Slice O'Life about a reporter consigned to sappy human interest stories appearing at the end of news broadcasts, and the 2005 NBC program All In, based on the life of poker star Annie Duke, were not picked up by their respective networks.

Throughout the 2005–06 television season, Garofalo appeared on The West Wing as Louise Thornton, a campaign adviser to the fictional Democratic presidential nominee.

In 2006, she provided the voice for the animated character "Bearded Clam" on Comedy Central's Freak Show . In 2007, she wrote a dedication for the mini-book included in the six-DVD box-set of the 1994 cult series My So-Called Life .

Garofalo had segments entitled "the disquisition" in several episodes of the 2007 season of The Henry Rollins Show which took place in her apartment, much in the same way Rollins' segments take place at his house.[ citation needed ] In 2009, Garofalo joined the cast of 24 , where she starred as Janis Gold. In 2010, Garofalo joined the cast of Ideal as Tilly. She was a cast member of the Criminal Minds short-lived spinoff TV series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior in 2011. [19]

In 2014, she portrayed Lyla, an entertainment lawyer, in seven episodes of the TV series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce . In 2015, she starred alongside most of the original cast in the Netflix eight-episode prequel to the 2001 comedy film Wet Hot American Summer . In 2017, Garofalo starred in E4's comedy-drama series Gap Year. [20]


Garofalo co-wrote a comedic New York Times bestseller with Ben Stiller in 1999, entitled Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction, a spoof of the self-help books so prevalent at the time. She wrote her HBO Comedy Half-Hour along with similar appearances and programs, co-wrote some sketches on The Ben Stiller Show, wrote an episode of the television series Head Case , and wrote and directed a 2001 comedy short entitled Housekeeping. [21]

Political views

Garofalo on the cover of Ms. Magazine in 2003. Ms. magazine Cover - Summer 2003.jpg
Garofalo on the cover of Ms. Magazine in 2003.

Garofalo has been open and outspoken regarding her progressive political views. She is a staunch feminist. In an interview for Geek Monthly magazine, she stated that she was raised in a conservative family. [22]

She has appeared with political figures such as Ralph Nader (whom she supported in the 2000 election, but opposed in 2004) and Jello Biafra at various events. In 2007, Garofalo described herself as an atheist, [23] and participated in a radio interview by Freethought Radio, a show by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. [24]

She became more prominent as a progressive when she voiced opposition to what became the 2003 Iraq War, appearing on CNN and Fox News to discuss it. She said that she was approached by groups such as MoveOn.org and Win Without War to go on TV, because these organizations say that the networks were not allowing antiwar voices to be heard. Garofalo and the other celebrities who appeared at the time said they thought their fame could lend attention to that side of the debate. Her appearances on cable news prior to the war garnered her praise from the left and spots on the cover of Ms. and Venus Zine . Garofalo has had frequent on-air political disputes with Bill O'Reilly, Brian Kilmeade, and Jonah Goldberg. [25]

Prior to the 2003 Iraq War, she took a position on the alleged threat posed by Saddam Hussein. For example, in an interview with Tony Snow on a February 23, 2003 episode of Fox News Sunday , [26] Garofalo said of the Iraqi dictator:

Yes, I think lots of people are eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction. But there's no evidence that he (Hussein) has weapons of mass destruction. There's been no evidence of him testing nuclear weapons. We have people that are in our face with nuclear weapons. We've got Iran and North Korea. We've got a problem with Pakistan. You know, I don't know what to say about that. There's a whole lot of people that are going nuclear. And I think that Saddam Hussein is actually, with the evidence, the least able to use nuclear weapons and the least obvious offender in that area at this moment.

Janeane Garofalo, Fox News interview

In March 2003, she took part in the Code Pink anti-war march in Washington, D.C. That autumn, she served as emcee at several stops on the Tell Us the Truth tour, a political-themed concert series featuring Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, and others. Throughout the year, Garofalo also actively campaigned for Howard Dean. While on Fox News' program The Pulse, O'Reilly asked Garofalo what she would do if her predictions that the Iraq war would be a disaster were to turn out wrong. Garofalo stated: [27]

I would be so willing to say, 'I'm sorry'. I hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say, 'You were wrong. You were a fatalist.' And I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, 'Hey, you and Thomas Friedman were right ... I shouldn't have doubted you ...'

Janeane Garofalo, Fox News interview

Garofalo said she had misgivings in 2007 about the depiction of torture in the television series 24 but joined the cast because "being unemployed and being flattered that someone wanted to work with me outweighed my stance". [28]

In April 2009, Garofalo drew criticism from The Washington Times when she denounced Tea Party protests, which she referred to as racist. [29] She has continued to criticize Tea Party protesters. [30]

Air America Radio

In late March 2004, Garofalo became a co-host for Air America Radio's new show The Majority Report , alongside Sam Seder. The early days of Air America Radio are chronicled in the documentary Left of the Dial , which includes a debate between Garofalo and her conservative father Carmine, who was initially a regular guest on The Majority Report. [31]

Garofalo commented on her show of April 28, 2006 supporting the Scientology-linked New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a controversial treatment for workers suffering ailments from 9/11 clean-up efforts in New York City. [32]

Personal life

During her filmed stand-up show in Seattle, If You Will, she says "I don't have a fear of intimacy, I have sort of a genuine lack of interest", adding jokingly, "which is not good for my boyfriend of ten years". [33]

Garofalo has struggled with alcoholism in her past, but says she quit drinking in 2001. [34] [35]



1991 Late for Dinner Cashier
1992That's What Women WantJenniferShort
1994 Reality Bites Vickie Miner
SuspiciousWomanShort film
1995 Bye Bye Love Lucille
I Shot a Man in Vegas Gale
Coldblooded Honey
Now and Then Wiladene
1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs Abbey Barnes
The Cable Guy Medieval Times Waitress
Larger Than Life Mo
1997 Sweethearts Jasmine
Touch Kathy Worthington
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Heather Mooney
The Matchmaker Marcy Tizard
Cop Land Deputy Sheriff Cindy Betts
1998 Clay Pigeons Agent Dale Shelby
Kiki's Delivery Service UrsulaVoice — English version
Thick as Thieves Anne
Permanent Midnight Jana Farmer
Half Baked "I'm Only Creative When I Smoke" Smoker
The Thin Pink Line Joyce Wintergarden-Dingle
1999 The Bumblebee Flies Anyway Dr. Harriman/Handyman
Torrance Rises HerselfShort
Can't Stop Dancing Belinda Peck
Mystery Men The Bowler/Carol
Dogma Liz
The Independent Paloma Fineman
200 Cigarettes Ellie
The Minus Man Ferrin
2000 Dog Park Jeri
Steal This Movie! Anita Hoffman
Titan A.E. StithVoice
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Minnie Mogul
The Cherry PickerShort film
What Planet Are You From? Nervous Woman
2001 Wet Hot American Summer Beth
2002 Martin & Orloff Hairdresser
Big Trouble Officer Monica Romero
2003 Manhood Jill
The Laramie Project Catherine Connolly
The Search for John Gissing Linda Barnes
HousekeepingHotel Employee (voice)Short film
Wonderland Joy Miller
Ash Tuesday Liz
Nobody Knows Anything!Patty
2004 Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Dee Dee
2005 Duane Hopwood Linda
Nadine in Date LandNadine BarnesTV Movie
Stay Beth Levy
2006 The Wild Bridget the GiraffeVoice
2007 Ratatouille Colette Tatou [36] Voice
Nominated - Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Southland Tales General Teena MacArthur
The Ten Beth Soden
Then She Found Me Herself
2008 The Guitar Dr. Murray
2009 Labor Pains Claire
Love Hurts Hannah Rosenbloom
2012 General Education Gale Collins
Bad Parents Kathy
Mighty Fine Older Natalie (voice)
2013 Satan, Hold My Hand SherylShort
2014 A Little Game Sarah Kuftinec
Free the Nipple Anouk
20153rd Street BlackoutJune Sherman
2016 Little Boxes Helena
The American Side Agent Barry
The Happys Luann
2017 Sandy Wexler Herself
Speech & Debate Marie
Submission Magda Moynahan
2018 A Bread Factory Jordan
Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate Magda
2019 Come as You Are Liz
Mercy Black Dr. Ward
2020Asking For ItCheryl
2021 The God Committee Valerie GilroyPost-production
Flora and Ulysses Marissa


1992–1993 The Ben Stiller Show Various characters13 episodes
1992–1998 The Larry Sanders Show Paula47 episodes
1993 Tales of the City Coppola WomanMiniseries
1994 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Ms. BrackettEpisode: "X=WHY?"
1994–1995 Saturday Night Live Various characters14 episodes
1995 Duckman Moonbeam (voice)Episode: "The Germ Turns"
1995 NewsRadio NancyEpisode: "Sweeps Week"
1995 Mr. Show with Bob and David WifeEpisode: "What to Think"
1995 The State herselfHalloween Special
1995 TV Nation Correspondent
1995 HBO Comedy Half-Hour HerselfStand-up special
1996 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Janeane (voice)Episode: "Drinky the Drunk Guy"
1996 Ellen Chloe KorbanEpisode: "Two Mammograms and a Wedding"
1996 Space Ghost Coast to Coast HerselfEpisode: "Late Show"
1996 Seinfeld Jeannie Steinman2 episodes
1996 1996 MTV Movie Awards Co-hostWith Ben Stiller
1997 Home Improvement TinaEpisode: "A Funny Valentine"
1997 HBO Comedy Hour HerselfStand-up special
1997 Law & Order Greta Heiss2 episodes
1997 The Chris Rock Show Girlfriend (voice)Episode: "#2.12"
1998 Felicity Sally Reardon (voice)14 episodes
1998, 2011 The Simpsons Herself (voice)2 episodes
1999 Mad About You Mabel BuchmanEpisode: "The Final Frontier"
2000 The Sopranos HerselfEpisode: "D-Girl"
2000 Strangers with Candy Cassie Pines2 episodes
2000 Ed Liz StevensEpisode: "Pilot"
2003 King of the Hill Sheila (voice)Episode: "Night and Deity"
2004 The King of Queens TrishEpisode: "Cheap Saks"
2004 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Donna (voice)Episode: "Hypno-Germ"
2004 Tanner on Tanner Herself2 episodes
2005 Stella Jane BurroughsEpisode: "Novel"
2005–2006 The West Wing Louise Thornton15 episodes
2006 Freak Show The Bearded Clam (voice)7 episodes
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Herself (voice)Episode: "Couple's Therapy"
2007 Two and a Half Men SharonEpisode: "Media Room Slash Dungeon"
2008Girl's Best FriendMaryTelevision film
2008 Wainy Days David's MomEpisode: "Angel"
2009 Greek Professor FreemanEpisode: "Endangered Species"
2009 24 Janis Gold21 episodes
2009 Head Case HerselfEpisode: "The Wedding Ringer"
2010 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Brent's BossEpisode: "Where Todd and Brent Misjudge the Mood of a Solemn Day"
2010–2011 Ideal Tilly13 episodes
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Beth Griffith13 episodes
2012 Metalocalypse Abigail Remeltindrinc (voice)5 episodes
2012 Ugly Americans (voice)Episode: "The Dork Knight"
2012–2013 Delocated Susan Shapiro9 episodes
2014 Inside Amy Schumer Sharon OverwoodEpisode: "Slow Your Roll"
2014–2015 Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce Lyla7 episodes
2014–2015 Broad City Monica2 episodes
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Beth7 episodes
2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Eve3 episodes
2016 Nightcap Janeane GarofaloEpisode: "The Horny Host"
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special HerselfVariety special
2017 Gap Year Sam2 episodes
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Beth7 episodes
2018 Baroness von Sketch Show Herself / Pay Equity Meeting Attendee / LawyerEpisode: "Sex and Things and Whispers"
2018 The Shivering Truth (voice)Main role
2019 Stumptown Janet WithersEpisode: "Bad Alibis"
2021 Younger Cass DeKennessy6 episodes
2021 Billions Dawn Winslow2 episodes

Music videos



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Preceded by MTV Movie Awards host
1996 (with Ben Stiller)
Succeeded by