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Janeane Garofalo was born in 1964 in Newton, New Jersey. As a child, her family moved around a lot and spent time in a variety of states, including California and Texas. While attending Providence College, Garofalo began experimenting with stand-up comedy, entering contests and attending open-mic opportunities.
By the late 1980’s, Janeane had developed her stand-up style, performing rather dark, self-deprecating humor that pokes fun at women in popular culture and female stereotypes in the media. Garofalo became part of the club comedy scene in California in the early 1990’s, appearing at a number of venues. Her breakthrough came in 1990 when she became friends with Ben Stiller, and so her television debut was on the Ben Stiller Show in 1992. That opportunity brought her a gig on the Larry Sanders Show, which earned her two Emmy nominations. After leaving the show, Janeane Garofalo joined the cast of Saturday Night Live for one season, and then from there accepted guest roles on a number of high-profile television shows, including Mad About You, Seinfeld, Newsradio, and a one-season run on the West Wing, in the role of a campaign advisor.
Around the same time, Janeane launched a film career that would eventually prove to be more successful than her stand-up and television work. She first appeared in Reality Bites in 1994, but her next role in The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) was far more successful and critically acclaimed. Since that time, Janeane has appeared in innumerous films, including: The Cable Guy (1996), Sweethearts (1997), Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), Cop Land (1997), Clay Pigeons (1998), Half Baked (1998), Can’t Stop Dancing (1999), Dogma (1999), 200 Cigarettes (1999), Dog Park (2001), The Laramie Project (2001), Wonderland (2003), Duane Hopwood (2005), Southland Tales (2007), and General Education (2012.)
Janeane Garofalo is known for being an outspoken liberal and feminist, publicly supporting political figures that are in alignment with her worldview. She began more politically active following the start of the Iraq War, and has recently denounced the Tea Party and its ideals. In addition to her political activism and work in film and television, Janeane Garofalo has also been a voice on radio, having joined Air America Radio as the co-host of the Majority Report in 2004. Recently, she joined the cast of the BBC comedy, Ideal.
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