Janeane Garofalo Interview

by Noah Gardenswartz (CL Atlanta)

The 90s were good to Janeane Garofalo. The generous decade provided her a stint on “Saturday Night Live,” and roles in the box-office hits Reality Bites and The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Over the years, the comedienne could always find stage time around New York City to tell jokes, but good work as an actress became harder to come by. She recently spoke with Creative Loafing about her early career, her break from the spotlight, and her relationship with the web.

You taped your first special in over a decade recently. Why has it been so long, and why come out with a special now?

Well it’s been so long because nobody asked me to do one. I got an offer from Shout Factory a few years back, but I backed out at the last minute because I didn’t think anybody would see it. Then Epix asked me if I would do one and I thought this would be a good opportunity because you can see it on cable, online, and they release DVDs.

Have you still been performing stand-up during all the years since your last special, or did you take some time away from the stage?

Oh no, for the past 25 years I have still consistently done stand-up.

So were you working material out for a really long time until you had a wealth of material you felt good about, or are the jokes in your special your most recent stuff?

For the special I didn’t pull from long-ago material; for the most part it’s very recent stuff. There’s some stuff in the special that I’ve never said before in my life. Every show I do I try to do at least a little bit of something for the first time. As a viewer, and as a fan of stand-up I like it when I feel like I’m seeing something that seems like an original tangent, or organic thought the comedian is having.

In the documentary, I am Comic, you said something to the effect of you doing stand-up until people stop coming to see you do it. Will you really perform for as long as you have an audience?

Yeah, I don’t see why not. I mean, maybe one day, in my sixties I might decide I don’t want to do it anymore, but it’s something I genuinely enjoy doing. I don’t have a lot of other marketable skills, so I can’t just go jump into another career. And I don’t control my acting career… the jobs are few and far between, and I can’t control when they come in. With stand-up, I can control it.

When you said earlier that you turned down a past offer to do a special because you were worried nobody would see it, do you not trust that you have a fan-base that will come out and support you and your work?

No, it’s not that. It has nothing to do with not having faith in my fans, I just have been out of the public eye. I have no web presence, and I’m just not interested in social networking.

Why is that?

I just have no interest in doing it, and having to keep up with it. I know a lot of other comedians do it, and I think that’s great for them, I really do, it’s just a lot of work that I don’t want to put in. I also am a very private person. Not because I’m anti-social, I’m just socially awkward. I’m not trying to be aloof, I just literally don’t feel comfortable in my own skin.


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