Birth Date: September 28, 1964 / Age: 52
Birth Place: Newton, New Jersey, USA
Also Credited as: Janeanne Garofalo
Biography: Janeane Garofalo (born September 28, 1964), born in Newton, New Jersey, is a stand-up comedian, actress, political activist, and radio host on Air America Radio.
During high school, her family relocated to Houston, Texas, where the trauma of the move prompted her famously self-loathing acerbic persona to begin to blossom. 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." Dreaming of earning a slot on the writing staff of the Late Night With David Letterman program, she became a professional standup upon graduating college with degrees in History and American Studies but struggled for a number of years, working briefly as a bike messenger in Boston.
She officially began her career in stand-up comedy in the early 90s during the grunge era. Her appearance was often in line with grunge style: disheveled with thick black glasses and unkempt hair. Her comedy was often self-deprecating; she made fun of popular culture and the pressures put on women to live up to media-created body ideals.
Garofalo is a self-described pessimist: "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."
Her 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 Ben Stiller, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Dick, and David Cross (who was a bit player).
Following the show's cancellation, Garofalo joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in its ill-fated 1994-95 season. As detailed in Tom Shale's book "Live From Saturday Night," Garofalo was unhappy on the show, citing weak material and a sexist atmosphere among the writers. She left mid-season. During this time, Garofalo also landed a role on The Larry Sanders Show on HBO.
Janeane Garofalo has also made a guest appearance in the Comedy Central series Stella as a famous bookwriter.
Garofalo's first starring role in film was in 1996 in The Truth About Cats and Dogs The independent film was a surprise hit, eventually becoming number one at the box office. She had a supporting role in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and a memorable cameo in The Cable Guy. She continues to act in films and do comedy in 2003. In April 2004 she was selected by Comedy Central as one of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, coming in at number 99. She is set to appear in Southland Tales in late 2005.
Garofalo has been open and outspoken regarding her political views, and this was particularly the case when she voiced opposition to what became the 2003 Iraq War, appearing on CNN and Fox to discuss it. She said that she was approached by groups such as moveon.org and Win Without War to go on TV, as the networks weren't allowing antiwar voices to be heard. Garofalo and the other celebrites who appeared at the time said they thought their fame could lend attention to a side being ignored by the corporate media. Her appearances on cable news prior to the war garnered her praise from the left and spots on the cover of Ms. and Venus magazines. Garofalo has had frequent on-air political disputes with Bill O'Reilly, Brian Kilmeade and Jonah Goldberg.
In March 2003, she took part in the Code Pink antiwar march in Washington, D.C. That fall, she served as emcee at several stops on the "Tell Us the Truth" tour, a politcal-themed concert series featuring Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, and others. Throughout the year, Garofalo also actively campaigned for Howard Dean.
In 2004, she was lampooned for her liberal views in Team America: World Police; a puppet version of herself, collaborating with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, met a gruesome fate in the course of the movie. Garofalo said she had no problem with the lampoon, and when she ran into one of the directors of the film (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) they were hesitant to make direct eye contact or speak to her. Her only response was to ask them if they could give her the puppet.
Air America Radio
In 2004 she 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 of hers. The show advertises itself as "The battle to reclaim America from the forces of darkness continues with hosts Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder."