Janeane Garofalo
April 1996
Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark
Photo Editor: Jennifer Crandall


Janeane Garofalo's appeal as an actress and a stand‑up comedian is that she's not so different from the smart, ordinary‑looking, single women she's addressing. The clincher is that despite her penchant for self‑loathing ‑her production company is called I Hate Myself Productions‑ the 31‑year‑old Garofalo is always fearless. This explains why she was brave enough to quit Saturday Night Live after less than one season and why she was unafraid to portray the world's most obnoxious blind date in last spring's Bye Bye, Love. And even though she seems to try to keep success at bay (during her 1995 HBO comedy special, she threw herself on the ground to protest the audience's applause, saying, "If you do that, I just don't know how to handle it"), her career continues to flourish: In addition to her ongoing stint on cable smash The Larry Sanders Show and a role opposite Bill Murray in this summer's Larger Than Life, she's the leading lady ‑with Uma Thurman co‑starring ‑ in this month's romantic comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs.

"I finally got up the courage to do stand‑up the night a club held the Funniest Person in Rhode Island contest. You would have had to have been a 20‑year‑old history major at Providence College to appreciate my act. But I won, which is a testament not to my talent but to how awful the other Rhode Island comics were at the time .... I'm a harsh critic, and I hate everything that I ever do. The only thing I'm proud of is Larry Sanders. Everything else I take great issue with. My best experience was The Ben Stiller Show. My worst experience was Saturday Night Live. That's well‑documented. No need to go into that."
‑Christina Kelly