Janeane Garofalo

Janeane Garofalo Biography

Actress, Writer, Radio Talk Show Host, Activist, Comedian, Activist (1964–)
Janeane Garofalo is an Emmy Award-nominated TV and film actress, comedian and political activist known for work like Reality Bites and The Truth About Cats & Dogs.


Born on September 28, 1964, in Newton, New Jersey, Janeane Garofalo pursued stand-up comedy and later starred on television shows like The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show (for which she earned two Emmy nods) and The West Wing. She has been featured in films like The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Mystery Men and Ratatouille. An outspoken liberal activist, Garofalo has also hosted the radio program Majority Report.


Janeane Garofalo was born on September 28, 1964, in Newton, New Jersey, with her family relocating to Houston, Texas, during her adolescence. She attended Providence College as an undergrad, majoring in history, and took up comedy as well, winning a Showtime-hosted talent search based in Rhode Island. She continued to pursue stand-up in the New England area before moving to Los Angeles, California, and joining the cast of the 1992 sketch comedy series The Ben Stiller Show. She and Ben Stiller also dated, and would later co-star in movie projects.

During the 1990s, Garofalo was highly prolific with her television and film work. She joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1994, and received 1996 and '97 Emmy Award nominations for her role as Paula the booker in Garry Shandling's The Larry Sanders Show.

Major Movie Roles

Garofalo's movie output was prodigious as well, with the actress featured in projects ranging from offbeat comedies to charming romantic fare to a police thriller. She was part of the ensemble cast of the iconic Stiller-directed film Reality Bites (1994), and earned her first leading role in the 1996 comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Truth was an update on the tale of Cyrano de Bergerac that co-starred Uma Thurman, with Garofalo portraying a radio show host who conceals her identity from her would-be paramour (Ben Chaplin).

In 1997, Garofalo took the lead again in the Boston-to-Ireland romance The Matchmaker, while playing an officer in Sylvester Stallone's Cop Land and an acerbic cigarette inventor in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. In 1999, she starred in two ensemble comedies: the comic-book inspired Mystery Men, which put a humorous spin on super-heroics, and Dogma, a satirical meditation on traditional religion and spirituality.

She and Stiller took a foray into publishing as well, with the 1999 release Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction. The book became a New York Times best-seller.

Hosting 'Majority Report'

Garofalo later spoke of being consumed by the scene and becoming dependent on alcohol. She quit drinking in 2001 with the aid of Alcoholics Anonymous. By the middle of the decade, with work becoming quieter on the film front, Garofalo turned to finding a media outlet for her political beliefs and activism, hosting the liberal talk show Majority Report on Air America Radio for a time.

In 2005, Garofalo returned to TV series work with the critically acclaimed The West Wing, portraying campaign strategist Louise Thornton during the series' seventh and final season. The actress then had a global blockbuster hit with the 2007 animated film Ratatouille, in which she voiced the character Colette, a no-nonsense, trailblazing feminist chef.

Marriage From the Past

In 2011, Garofalo starred on the CBS drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. The following year, she starred in the Acorn Theater production Russian Transport as well as the film comedy General Education.

Around this same time, Garofalo was in the news upon realizing that she had unknowingly been married to Big Bang Theory producer Rob Cohen for 20 years—the result of an earlier ceremony at a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. (The two were drunk at the time and didn't believe the ceremony was binding.)

Garofalo has continued to work as a stand-up comedian in a variety of formats in recent years, and has spoken openly about the Hollywood double standard when it comes to older actresses and women in general.

Garofalo has several tattoos, some prominent, that sport words like "Valor" and "Truth."

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