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Janeane Garofalo
Garofalo seated
Janeane Garofalo in August 2008
Birth name Janeane Marie Garofalo
Born (1964-09-28) September 28, 1964 (age 59)
Newton, New Jersey, U.S.
Years active 1985–present
Genres Alternative comedy

Janeane Marie Garofalo (/əˈnn ɡəˈrɒfəl/ jə-NEEN-_--rof-Ə-loh; born September 28, 1964) is an American comedian, actress, and former co-host on 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. She has been a series regular on television programs such as Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, 24, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, and Ideal.

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. 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. 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.

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. She struggled for a number of years, even working briefly as a bike messenger in Boston.

Entertainment career

Stand-up comedy

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

Garofalo officially began her career in stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s during the pre-grunge era. Her appearance was often in line with very mid-1980s 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 If You Will, performed at Seattle's Moore Theatre that aired on Epix in June 2010 and was released on DVD in September 2010.

Film career

Garofalo has performed a variety of roles in more than 50 feature films, playing leading or large roles in The Truth About Cats & 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.

Her 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. Her breakthrough role came in Reality Bites (1994) as Winona Ryder's character's Gap-managing best friend Vickie.

Her 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. In 1996 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 Thurman joined the project.

Based on the success of that film, a producer offered Garofalo 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 received the part.

She turned down the role of television reporter Gale Weathers in Wes Craven's Scream because she thought the film would be too violent.

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.

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.

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.

A puppet version of Garofalo appeared 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."

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. 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.

Television career

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."

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 nominations in 1996 and 1997. For a time, she was actually working on both series simultaneously. After The Ben Stiller Show was cancelled, Garofalo joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) for its 1994–95 season. 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". 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."

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 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. 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.

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.


Garofalo co-wrote a comedic New York Times bestseller with Ben Stiller in 1999. She wrote her HBO Comedy Half-Hour along with similar appearances and programs, co-wrote some sketches on The Ben Stiller Show and an episode of the television series Head Case, and wrote and directed a 2001 comedy short, Housekeeping.

Political views

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

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, and participated in a radio interview by Freethought Radio, a show by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

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 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.

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, 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.

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:

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 ...'

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

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.

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.

Personal life

Garofalo married Robert Cohen, then a writer for The Ben Stiller Show, in Las Vegas in 1991. She later explained it was intended as a joke, the pair thinking that the marriage was not binding unless it was filed at a local courthouse. It was discovered later, when Cohen tried to marry someone else, that the marriage was indeed legal. The union was dissolved in 2012.

Garofalo self-identifies as asexual.



Film work by Janeane Garofalo
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Late for Dinner Cashier
1992 That's What Women Want Jennifer Short
1994 Reality Bites Vickie Miner
Suspicious Woman Short 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 Abby Barnes
The Cable Guy Melinda
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 Ursula Voice — Disney English dub
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 Herself Short
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. Stith Voice
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Minnie Mogul
The Cherry Picker Short 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
Housekeeping Hotel 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 Land Nadine Barnes TV movie
Stay Beth Levy
2006 The Wild Bridget the Giraffe Voice
2007 Ratatouille Colette Tatou 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 Sheryl Short
2014 A Little Game Sarah Kuftinec
2015 3rd Street Blackout June 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
2020 Asking For It Cheryl
2021 The God Committee Valerie Gilroy
Flora & Ulysses Marissa
2022 The Apology Gretchen Sullivan


Television work by Janeane Garofalo
Year Title Role Notes
1992–1993 The Ben Stiller Show Various characters 13 episodes
1992–1998 The Larry Sanders Show Paula 47 episodes
1993 Tales of the City Coppola Woman Miniseries
1994 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Ms. Brackett Episode: "X=WHY?"
1994–1995 Saturday Night Live Various characters 14 episodes
1995 Duckman Moonbeam (voice) Episode: "The Germ Turns"
1995 NewsRadio Nancy Episode: "Sweeps Week"
1995 Mr. Show with Bob and David Wife Episode: "What to Think"
1995 The State herself Halloween Special
1995 TV Nation Correspondent
1995 HBO Comedy Half-Hour Herself Stand-up special
1996 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Janeane (voice) 1 episode
1996 Ellen Chloe Korban Episode: "Two Mammograms and a Wedding"
1996 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Herself Episode: "Late Show"
1996 Seinfeld Jeannie Steinman 2 episodes
1996 1996 MTV Movie Awards Co-host With Ben Stiller
1997 Home Improvement Tina Episode: "A Funny Valentine"
1997 HBO Comedy Hour Herself Stand-up special
1997 Law & Order Greta Heiss 2 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 Buchman Episode: "The Final Frontier"
2000 The Sopranos Herself Episode: "D-Girl"
2000 Strangers with Candy Cassie Pines 2 episodes
2000 Ed Liz Stevens Episode: "Pilot"
2003 King of the Hill Sheila (voice) Episode: "Night and Deity"
2004 The King of Queens Trish Episode: "Cheap Saks"
2004 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Donna (voice) Episode: "Hypno-Germ"
2004 Tanner on Tanner Herself 2 episodes
2005 Stella Jane Burroughs Episode: "Novel"
2005–2006 The West Wing Louise Thornton 15 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 Sharon Episode: "Media Room Slash Dungeon"
2008 Girl's Best Friend Mary Television film
2008 Wainy Days David's Mom Episode: "Angel"
2009 Greek Professor Freeman Episode: "Endangered Species"
2009 24 Janis Gold 21 episodes
2009 Head Case Herself Episode: "The Wedding Ringer"
2009 Noddy in Toyland Noddy (US Version)
2010 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Brent's Boss Episode: "Where Todd and Brent Misjudge the Mood of a Solemn Day"
2010–2011 Ideal Tilly 13 episodes
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Beth Griffith 13 episodes
2012 Metalocalypse Abigail Remeltindrinc (voice) 5 episodes
2012 Ugly Americans (voice) Episode: "The Dork Knight"
2012–2013 Delocated Susan Shapiro 9 episodes
2014 Inside Amy Schumer Sharon Overwood Episode: "Slow Your Roll"
2014–2015 Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce Lyla 7 episodes
2014–2019 Broad City Monica 3 episodes
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Beth 7 episodes
2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Eve 3 episodes
2016 Nightcap Janeane Garofalo 1 episode
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, ... Valentine's Day Special Herself Variety special
2017 Gap Year Sam 2 episodes
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Beth 7 episodes
2018 Baroness von Sketch Show Herself / Pay Equity Meeting Attendee / Lawyer 1 episode
2018 The Shivering Truth (voice) Main role
2019 Stumptown Janet Withers Episode: "Bad Alibis"
2020 Joe Pera Talks With You Herself Cameo
2021 Younger Cass DeKennessy 6 episodes
2021 Billions Dawn Winslow 2 episodes
2022–present We Baby Bears Madame Malin (voice) 4 episodes
2023 Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Carol Episode: "Car Fished"

Music videos

  • "Angel Mine" (Cowboy Junkies) (1996)


  • New York: A Documentary Film (1999)
  • Outlaw Comic: The Censoring of Bill Hicks (2003)
  • Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World (2003)
  • Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (2003)
  • Left of the Dial (2005), HBO
  • I Am Comic (2010)
  • Misery Loves Comedy (2015)
  • Sticky: A (Self) Love Story (2016)
  • Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11 (2021)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Janeane Garofalo para niños

  • Saturday Night Live parodies of Hillary Clinton
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