Janeane Garofalo

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“I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth.”

~ Janeane Garofalo on being rich and famous

Janeane Garofalo (born September 28, 1964) is an American stand-up comic, white actress, political activist, writer, and failed co-host on Air America Radio's The Rockin' Liberal Show. Despite her celebrity status, Garofalo continues to circulate regularly within New York City's local comedy and performance art scene. When questioned on this, her reply was that she simply was "looking for some kind of groupie who might wanna get lucky after the show". [1]

Early life[edit]

Garofalo was born in Newton, New Jersey, the daughter of Joan, a secretary in the petrochemical industry who died of cancer when Janeane was 24, and Carmine Garofalo, an executive at Exxon. Garofalo is of Italian and Irish descent, and refuses to refer to herself as an American, as well as a trust fund baby of the oil industry. She grew up in various cities, including Ontario, California; Madison, New Jersey; and Katy, Texas where she was raped by many claiming to be Chuck Norris. While studying history at Providence College, Garofalo entered a comedy talent search sponsored by the Showtime cable network, winning the title of "A Person in Rhode Island." Her original "gimmick" was to not memorize her material and simply read it off her hand. Dreaming of one day marrying David Letterman, she became an amateur standup comic upon graduating from college with a degree in Home Economics.[2] She struggled for a number of years, working briefly as a bearded woman at Six Flags.

“I can definitely understand where she's coming from here. Some of the sexiest women to ever live are in Texas!”

~ President George W. Bush not commenting on Cindy Sheehan

She has dated comedian Ben Stiller, actor Craig Bierko, and actor Mitch Rouse. She married writer Rob Cohen in Las Vegas in 1992, but the relationship ended soon after he saw her topless on their wedding night and realized her penis was larger than his.

Entertainment career[edit]

Stand-up "comedy"[edit]

Garofalo officially began her career in stand-up "comedy" in the late 1980s, officially kicking off the grunge era. Her appearance was often in line with late Neolithic style: dirty with unkempt hair, a distinctive odor, and a thick mustache. Her "comedy" is often self-deprecating as audiences happily laugh at anyone making fun of Janeane Garofalo. She has often been heard in the bars of New York City ranting about popular culture and the pressures on women to conform to body image ideals promoted by the media.

“I don't think it's fair that just because I'm hideous I can't get lucky! I've said it in Texas and I've said it in New York City. This is not a political thing, it isn't about Republican or Communist, it's about your neurons in your brain. You are a retard and so you don't want to have sex with me.”

~ Janeane Garofalo on loneliness

Garofalo's "comedy" shows involved her and her notebook, Muhammad. Garofalo plays the strait-woman to the crazed rantings of Muhammad, who she communicates with in a similar style as all actors who shared the stage with R2D2 and his random beeps. One classic example:

Muhammad the notebook: "..."

Garofalo the "commedian": "What's that Muhammad?"

Muhammad the notebook: "..."

Garofalo the "commedian": "There was no holocaust?"

Muhammad the notebook: "..."

Garofalo the "commedian": "There was no holocaust and if you drive a car you are causing global warming?"

Muhammad the notebook: "..."

Garofalo the "commedian": "Muhammad, your neurons are misfiring."


Garofalo and comedian Marc Maron worked together during the creation and early days of liberal radio network Air America Radio. It was considered her life's greatest success for nearly three years until Air America Radio declared bankruptcy.

In April 2004, she threatened to do a nudity scene in the upcoming movie Mystery Men 2. Hollywood caved in to her demands, which resulted in Garafalo being selected as #101 on Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comics of All Time.


Her television series debut was on the short-lived The Ben Stiller Show on Fox in 1992, on which she was a cast member alongside longtime enemies Ben Stiller, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Dick, and David Cross. A chance meeting on the set of that show led her to be offered the role of Paula on The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, earning her two Emmy Award nominations in 1996 and 1997.

“It's an honor just to be nominated. ”

~ Janeane Garofalo on losing the Emmy in 1996.

“It's an honor just to be nominated. ”

~ Janeane Garofalo on losing the Emmy in 1997.

After The Ben Stiller Show was cancelled, Garofalo joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) for its 1994-95 season. Prior to joining the cast, her notebook, Muhammad, had been harshly critical of Adam Sandler saying on one occasion that he "is the kind of Jew Hitler was talking about." Sandler wasn't opposed to having her joining the cast, and his reasons became clear in her first live appearance. The sketch was written to have Gerofalo tell Sandler "nice to see you buddy!" and Sandler was supposed to respond "Hi there." but instead of reading his line, Sandler picked her up and delivered a devastating Tombstone Piledriver onto a folding steel chair. He then ran backstage and returned holding Muhammad, who he proceeded to set on fire in front of a national audience.


Garofalo's first critically-acclaimed starring role in film was in 1996 in The Truth About Cats & Dogs, a variation on Cyrano de Bergerac's stories which featured Uma Thurman in the lead role as a mentally retarded model, while Garofalo played a highly intelligent radio host.

“Even in the movies, her face is perfect for radio.”

~ Adam Sandler on Janeane Garofalo's face.

Initially an independent film, it became a studio movie when Thurman was signed on. The film was a modest hit, but Garofalo detests it to this day, calling it anti-femiNaziest. [3]

Based on the success of this film, director Cameron Crowe then offered her the leading lady role 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.

“I thought her flabby physique was the only reason nobody finds her attractive. Boy did I have egg on my face after she lost that weight! ”

~ Cameron Crowe on giving Zellweger the leading lady part in Jerry Maguire.

Garofalo played the leading role in the The MatchMaker, a 1997 film about the misadventures of a cynical American woman who reluctantly visits west Ireland. In 2002, she played Catherine Connolly in The Laramie Project. A puppet version of Garofalo appeared (and was graphically killed off) in the movie Team America: World Police; the film's credits state that she did not authorize or endorse this screen appearance at the time.[4]


Garofalo has done many special guest star roles, including a former girlfriend of Dave Foley's character in Newsradio. 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 based primarily on Garofalo's "unfortunate facial features".

Throughout the 2005-2006 television season, Garofalo appeared on The West Wing as Louise Thornton, a controversial campaign adviser to the fictional Democratic presidential nominee. Garofalo participated in the series' first live episode, most of which was a debate televised live on the East Coast and then reshot live for the West. Garofalo's character can be seen walking backstage with her advisee before the start of each debate. In 2006, she provided the voice for the animated character "Bearded Clam" on Comedy Central's Freak Show alongside her friend David Cross. In 2007, she also wrote a dedication for the mini-book included in the six-DVD box-set of the 1994 cult series My So-Called Life. She recently portrayed FBI Special Agent Janis Gold on the seventh season of 24.

Political views[edit]

Garofalo has been open and outspoken regarding her left-wing political views, appearing in the past with figures such as Ralph Nader [5] and Joseph Stalin at various events.


~ Joseph Stalin on Janeane Garofalo in Soviet Russia.

She is an atheist and has admitted that at one point she paid to have herself artificially inseminated just so she could experience first-hand the thrill of having an abortion. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she was quoted as saying in the April 2002 issue of Commentary, "Who would have thought that I'd be angry on behalf of my country? I'm used to being angry at my country." She then cracked a smile and said "April Fools!"

She became more prominent as an activist when she voiced opposition to what became the 2003 Iraq War, appearing on CNN and Al Jazeera to discuss it. She said that she was approached by groups such as MoveOn.org and Al Qaeda 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 hatred of the Uninted States could lend attention to that side of the debate. Her appearances on cable news prior to the war garnered her praise from Saddam Hussein and spots on the cover of Anarchy and Virgin magazines. Garofalo has had frequent on-air political disputes with Jonah Goldberg, Brian Kilmeade, and Bill O'Reilly. Her most recent feud with O'Reilly culminated back in her most hated city of Houston during one of three main events at WrestleMania 25.

Prior to the 2003 Iraq War, she took a position on the 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 Saddam Hussein, "Yes, I would perform oral sex on him."

In March 2003, she took part in the Code Pink anti-war march in Washington, D.C. That fall, she served as Grand Imperial Wizard at several stops on the Tell Us the Truth tour, a political-themed concert series featuring Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, and Deranged hippie activist, Charles Manson. Throughout the year, Garofalo also actively campaigned for Howard Dean in his candidacy for United States President:

“Howard Dean's Neurons may be misfiring, but the manner in which they go off is kind of cute. ”

~ Janeane Garofalo on her ever lowering standards in search of a mate.

Air America Radio[edit]

In late March 2004, Garofalo became a co-host for Air America Radio's new show The Majority Report alongside Sam Seder. Garofalo once said getting on the radio was an early career goal. A program advertisement: "The battle to reclaim America from the forces of darkness (Jesus) continues with hosts Janeane Garofalo and 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 was criticized by some of her listeners for comments she made on her April 28, 2006 show supporting the Scientology-linked New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, a controversial treatment for workers now suffering ailments from 9/11 clean-up efforts in New York City. In response to all her critics she simply told them that she was "sorry to hear about those misfiring neurons in all of (their) frontal lobes".

Her last broadcast as co-host of The Majority Report aired on July 21, 2006. During this fateful show she was mocking Judeo-Christian morality when Adam Sandler kicked in the studio door and shot her with Elephant Tranquilizer. Her left eye has been considered a "lazy eye" since this unfortunate episode.

Tax Day TEA Party[edit]

She is currently on the Fox Network television series 24 portraying FBI Special Agent Janis Gold who is part of the team investigating a terrorist crisis. On April 15, 2009, fans of the hit show 24 organized to throw tea parties to voice their approval of the direction it's taking. CNN and NBC air programming in direct competition with FOX so they made a series of attempts to downplay the significance of these rallies. CNN wanted to send a reporter to cover the story, but all of their reporters were in Washington DC taking pictures of President Obama's new dog. In an act of desparation they sent in Susan Roesgen, one of their Arguers, to try and report on the story. Unfortunately Roesgen was simply unable pick up her impromptu role as reporter in time and she simply wound up arguing with all of the news she discovered that day.

NBC was also in a situation where they had no spare reporters, but they did have the forsight not to send any of their arguers into the tea parties. They opted instead to speculate on what was taking place.

“They are probably allowing several men to place their sweaty testicles in their mouths, then carefully asking the men for permission to lick the sweat off of the testicles. I know that's what we usually did in the 60's.”

~ Keith Olbermann on the Summer of Love.

In a savvy move, Garofalo went on NBC and criticized the neurons of all of the fans of the 24. Some were confused at this apparent attempt at career suicide, but her genius was later revealed when the left-of-center Communist demographic tuned in to make fun of what the silly conservatives were watching.



  • That's What Women Want (1992) *
  • Larger Than Life (1996) *
  • Touch (1997) *
  • Thick as Thieves (1998) *
  • The Thin Pink Line (1998) *
  • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) *
  • Wet Hot American Summer (2001) *
  • Martin & Orloff (2002)
  • Big Trouble (2002) *
  • Manhood (Showtime; 2003) *
  • The Wild (2006) *
  • Girl's Best Friend (vibrator) (2008) *

Short films[edit]

  • The Cherry Picker (2000) *


  • Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World (2003) *
  • Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (2003) *



  1. As of April 19, 2009 she is still searching
  2. Marijuana Engineering
  3. Declaring on Larry King Live that the only reason Thurman looks better than her is because her frontal lobe is misfiring neurons
  4. The unrated DVD release used the same puppet head but it had the authentic heavy-set body from her early work
  5. whom she supported in the 2000 election, but opposed in 2004; she claimed that the neurons in his frontal lobe began misfiring in late 2003
  6. Films with * represent pornographic movies that Garofalo was not actually an actress in, but attempted to sneak into with the hopes of losing her virginity