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Janeane Garofalo

August 11, 1997

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Everyone knows comedian Janeane Garofalo for her many comedic roles in movies like The Truth About Cats & Dogs. (And who can forget her stint on the Ben Stiller Show?) But now, starting with the movie Copland, (release date: August, 1997) Garofalo is planning more dramatic roles. Clay Pigeons, due out August, 1998 will be another dramatic role.

"When you're known as a comedic actress, it's harder to get dramatic roles," Garofalo stated. "No one offers you a dramatic role. When you audition, they have a hard time thinking of you as a dramatic actress, because they're used to seeing you in funny roles," she continued.

Such roles include, most recently, the smart - mouthed, chain-smoking businesswoman in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, where Garofalo kept an incredibly straight face as she gleefully mouthed foul language between puffs of smoke.

And she doesn't think she's funny.

It's true. She told me, "I don't think I am funny." (Which I thought was funny, because she is so funny....you following me?)

Funny or not, Garofalo is working on a fun, fake self-help book with Ben Stiller. "In theory, it's a take off on self-help books - and the advice will be bad," Garofala laughed. It's going to be called Sound Advice for Young People....and of course, the advice won't be sound!" she added.

If you couldn't already tell, comedy is Garofalo's favorite "medium". "Stand up comedy is my favorite means of expression, " she explained. "The only thing I don't like about it is 'bombing'. It hurts my feelings, when the audience doesn't laugh, but I'm obligated to perform, and must go on." she remarked.

Garofalo certainly won't bomb when she airs an hour standup comedy special on HBO on August 23rd. It remains an untitled comedy special because "all the titles we came up with were just totally corny" according to Garofalo.

Equally as corny was her recent weight loss - and gain. "I felt guilty when I lost 30 lbs. to get a part, because I don't like the way Hollywood works - they usually prefer actresses who are half-starved. Because of our screwed-up society, the biggest deterrent to a woman in Hollywood is fat. And then, after losing all that weight, I didn't even get the role! I put the weight back on in a minute or so, and now I feel better. Next time I won't lose weight or make other changes just to get a part," she informed me. (She wouldn't reveal what the role was except to say, "It's too embarrassing. It was a big role, in a big film that did very well - without me.")

Although she doesn't audition anymore and gets offered parts, she never knows if they're going to fall through. "Moviemaking is such a funny business - at any point along the way it can just fall apart," she remarked.

Hopefully, her next two roles won't fall through. She's planning to film Dog Park, a glorified single scene comedy with Bruce McCullough in Canada. After that, she'll be going to London to do the movie Over There (with Bill Paxton)- a movie about a young couple's move from Los Angeles to London and the disasters that follow them.

One thing Garofalo doesn't like about the movie business is that it sometimes requires her to keep her mouth shut. " Actors are not allowed to be honest - when a movie you're in is a disaster you have to pretend it's good or you'll get in big trouble with the studio!" she exclaimed. "But I want to be honest about that stuff. So usually I'll say "well, Cats & Dogs wasn't my type of movie, but if you like romantic comedies, you'll enjoy it" or "I personally didn't like it but that's just my opinion."

But she's smart enough to know that even keeping her mouth shut won't keep the parts coming. "In acting, you eventually get a long, unsolicited vacation - whether you want it or not," she told me. " And I know what field I'll go into whenever I get handed my unsolicited vacation - talk radio! I want to have a news show - serious discussions of current events, not jokes. I've already talked to a few people about it. So talk radio is definitely in my future, after acting."

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