A stand up comic by trade, she was first discovered during a comedy talent search by Showtime. Her TV debut was on The Ben Stiller Show (the second one), which resulted in Garofalo and Ben Stiller getting cozy for a while. A lucky break landed her the role of Paula on The Larry Sanders Show, netting her two Emmy nominations.
Her other notable 90's roles include Jerry's Distaff Counterpart on Seinfeld, a snarky Gap manager in Reality Bites, and starring alongside Uma Thurman in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. She continues to act on television.
In the 2000's, her acting has largely taken a backseat to her current work as a liberal political pundit, most prominently as host of her own show on the short-lived Air America Radio.
Janeane Garofalo provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Jewish: Except she's not.
- Asexuality: Self-proclaimed.
- Better as Friends: Came to this conclusion with regards to herself and Ben Stiller.
- Brainy Brunette
- Deadpan Snarker
- Demoted to Extra: Her role in Southland Tales was cut down to a single second in a crowd shot, with no dialogue.
- Nerds Are Sexy
- Old Shame: Her brief tenure on SNL certainly qualifies.
- Her highest-grossing film, ironically enough. Garofalo liked The Truth About Cats & Dogs when it was still a small indie production, in which her character ended up loveless and alone at the end.
- One-Scene Wonder/Ensemble Darkhorse: Often appears in Cameos or tiny roles. See: Dogma and The Cable Guy below.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Has considered her being dubbed Funniest Person in Rhode Island in her early standup days a case of this.
- Raised Catholic
- Rebellious Spirit: The daughter of an oil executive, she attended school in Texas and was raised as a Catholic conservative. Flash-forward to her today, a poster child for every left-wing atheist on the east coast.
- The Snark Knight
- Soapbox Sadie
- Typecasting: As Action Girls and Deadpan Snarkers, or both.
Notable film roles:
[deadpan] "There were no utensils in medieval times, hence there are no utensils at Medieval Times™. Would you like a refill of that Pepsi?"
- Heather Mooney in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
- Deputy Cindy Betts in Cop Land (1997)
- Liz in Dogma (1999)
- The Bowler in Mystery Men (1999)
- Paloma Fineman in The Independent (2000)
- Stith (voice) in Titan A.E. (2000)
- Beth in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
- Officer Monica Romero in Big Trouble (2002)
- Colette Tatou (voice) in Ratatouille (2007)
Notable television roles:
- Paula on The Larry Sanders Show (1992-96)
- Various characters on The Ben Stiller Show (1992-93)
- Various characters on Saturday Night Live (1994-95)
- Jeannie on Seinfeld (2 episodes, 1996)
- Adult Mabel on Mad About You (series finale, 1999)
- Sheila (voice) on King of the Hill ("Night & Deity", 2003)
- Louise Thornton on The West Wing (2005-06)
- Janis Gold on Twenty Four (2009)
- Tilly on Ideal (2011)
- Beth Griffith on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2011)
- ↑ Contrary to common assumption, she did not provide the character's voice.