Janeane Garofalo (pron.: / /; born September 28, 1964) is a stand-up comic, actress, liberal political activist and writer. She is the former co-host on the now-defunct Air America Radio's The Majority Report. Garofalo continues to participate regularly in New York City's local comedy and performance art scene.
Garofalo was born in Newton, New Jersey, the daughter of Joan and Carmine Garofalo. Her mother was a secretary, in the petrochemical industry, who died of cancer when Janeane was 24. Her father is a former executive at Exxon. Garofalo was raised as a conservative Catholic and is of Italian and Irish descent. She grew up in various places, including Ontario, California;Madison, New Jersey; and Katy, Texas. Garofalo is quoted as having disliked life in Texas because of the heat and humidity and the emphasis on prettiness and sports in high school.
While studying history at Providence College, Garofalo entered a comedy talent search sponsored by the Showtime cable network, winning the title of "Funniest Person in Rhode Island." Her original gimmick was to read off her hand, which was not successful in subsequent performances. Dreaming of earning a slot on the writing staff of the TV show Late Night with David Letterman, she became a professional standup comedienne upon graduating from college with degrees in History and American Studies. She struggled for a number of years, working briefly as a bike messenger in Boston.
Garofalo has described herself thus: "I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth."
Garofalo married Robert Cohen, at the time a writer for The Ben Stiller Show, in Las Vegas in 1991. She later explained it was intended to be a joke, not thinking it was legal unless filed at a local courthouse. It was revealed later, when Cohen tried to get married for real, that the marriage was indeed legal. The marriage was dissolved in 2012.