Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Janeane Garofalo Interview


Janeane Garofalo with Marc Maron

April 29-May 1, 2010

Comix Comedy Club

353 West 14th Street

Actress-comedienne Janeane Garofalo has had a successful career in movies (Reality Bites, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, The Matchmaker), on TV (24, The West Wing), even onstage (Love, Loss and What I Wore). She also did a well-publicized two-year stint as co-host of “The Majority Report” on the now-defunct progressive radio network Air America.

A stand-up veteran of 25 years who returns to the stage at Comix from April 29 through May 1 with another former Air America host, Marc Maron, Garofalo spoke recently about her career in stand-up, acting onstage and how the internet has changed comedy.

Kevin Filipski: How do you enjoy working with your Air America alum Marc Maron?

Janeane Garofalo: It’s great, I do standup with him a lot. We do it separately, however, it wouldn’t be very interesting to sit down at a table and talk in front of a microphone like we did on the radio.

KF: You performed in the hit off-Broadway show Love, Loss and What I Wore. How did you do?

JG: I don’t know how I did—I enjoyed it, but I have no idea if I did well. The audiences were always very supportive—they always gave a good response, so I’m assuming I did OK. The material in the show I could not really relate to, because in my experience, clothes and fashion mean next to nothing to me. I also never had that kind of close relationship with my mom, but the play is about family-oriented emotional issues and clothing. No one in my family could ever be accused of being fashionable. I was asked to do the play, and I wanted to, I had friends who had done it and enjoyed it, so I saw it as an interesting challenge.

KF: Since you spent time on Air America bashing Bush, do audiences assume you’re going to be political when doing stand-up?

JG: Maybe, but I am not a political comic, per se. Unfortunately I’ve been labeled that internationally much to the chagrin of most audiences. I consider Bill Maher or Lewis Black political. I don’t have political material—I sometimes talk about it, sometimes not, and I have never labeled myself a political comic. I don’t want people to be disappointed or to stay way if that’s what they think they’re going to see. It changes from night to night how much I discuss it. I don’t have any hard and fast rules: there’s always something to discuss, whether it’s politics, media or culture, and it depends on where I go with my material.

KF: You’ve been performing for 25 years: what has changed about doing stand-up in that time?

JG: Have things changed in standup? Sure, as in every aspect of our culture. First, there’s a much more varied, diverse group of comics out there. There’s a chance for comedy on the internet, which has changed it in a huge way. You no longer have to rely on Johnny Carson for your huge break, as comics did years ago. There’s also a lot more age variation among comedians, and there are fewer comedy clubs around. For comedy, the internet is a good thing, because it gives people from all over the world the opportunity to express themselves and show their talents, especially for people who couldn’t get to New York or Los Angeles to be seen. That’s all to the good—and to the bad, I guess, would be the load of shit that gets posted online in all areas of life. With this great democratic medium comes a lot of bad things.

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