Janeane Garofalo is still around | Bleader

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Janeane Garofalo is still around

Posted By on 06.14.12 at 02:36 PM

Looking good with a little help: Janeane Garofalo
  • Looking good with a little help: Janeane Garofalo
Standing in a line that started at the doors of Up Comedy Club and stretched three stories down to the ground floor of Pipers Alley—and that wasn't moving even though those doors were supposed to have opened a half hour earlier—I realized I wasn't exactly sure why I wanted to see Janeane Garofalo so much. I thought she was great in The Truth About Cats & Dogs and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, and I remember wishing I could get in to a sold-out performance she gave when I was in college. But I hadn't heard much about her in the last ten years or so, and neither had any of the friends to whom I mentioned this TBS Just for Laughs show at Up Comedy.

Plenty of people obviously remember her, though. Up Comedy wasn't just sold out but, from the looks of it, oversold. The organizers appeared to have crammed an extra row of chairs into the room, creating seating that was uncomfortably close to both the row ahead and the chairs on either side and that forced many of us to crane our necks to see. I was already tired and a little cranky because of the delayed start of the 11 PM show, and the crick I quickly developed in my neck didn't help things.

Garofalo shared the bill with peripatetic stand-up Kyle Kinane, and a coin toss determined that she'd go first. As she started talking, I was reminded of an interview I'd come across in Vulture while trying to figure out what she'd been up to since the 90s. In it she talked about getting Botox, losing weight, and wearing Spanx, and somehow I still liked her. Garofalo doesn't defend her actions—they're just things she's done. "I fucking sold out. That is absolutely a fact," she told Vulture in response to a question about her weight loss. "I was heavier and it really gets you almost nowhere, you realize quickly." One of the first bits in Garofalo's JFL performance concerned an Allure magazine piece about Jessica Biel that claimed her beauty has hindered her career. "No one's beauty has ever hindered their forward motion in entertainment," Garofalo declared.

Garofalo is similarly unapologetic in her stand-up, even while purposely presenting herself as awkward and odd. It's difficult to find work as a fortysomething woman in the entertainment industry, she said—and even more difficult when you unconsciously tear up the cell phone number of a casting director who's standing right in front of you. Garofalo is visibly uncomfortable talking about sex and bodies, particularly when it comes to women shaving their pubic hair. She's against it: "Don't bow down to the yoke of patriarchal oppression."

Through it all, Garofalo comes off as quirky and charming, someone you'd want to hang out with. Her self-deprecatory one-liners were my favorite part of the act. "People say you have to love yourself first. I disagree. I find others need to get the ball rolling," she said, then: "I would like to say yes to life. But that's not really me." She closed with a story about running into Natalie Portman in an elevator, focused almost entirely on how tiny Portman is. "I would say yes to life if I was Natalie Portman," she concluded.

And Kinane? I enjoyed his bit about coroner's office workers hitting on girls while carrying a dead body out of an apartment ("That takes a lot of self-confidence") and a long story about a guy eating pancakes out of a Foot Locker bag on an airplane. He also explained pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup, to us. Turns out it's "what happens when a former child soldier pours hot rainwater over fish nightmares."

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