Hey, Janeane Garofalo. Girl, where have you been? I’ve missed you. It’s so great to see you again. Plus, damn, you look fantastic. Look at your cute little wave. Look at your adorable glasses. Look at your killer tattoos. Seriously, damn.
Last Friday, the 42-year-old actress, comic and political activist attended the premiere of the Disney Pixar animated feature Ratatouille. Janeane voices the part of French chef Colette in this culinary comedy about a rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who dreams of Cyrano de Berger–cooking his way to the top of the Parisian food world with the help of a young bus boy. Rodent issues aside, the movie looks cute and comes from Brad Bird, the Oscar-winning writer-director of both The Incredibles and The Iron Giant.
I couldn’t be happier to see Janeane working and looking so great. She has always been one of my favorite comics. Her acerbic wit warms the cockles of my ink-black heart. Plus, she was the best “My Sharona” dancer ever in Reality Bites (not to mention her friend’s coming out speech practice partner — to this day, when I’m joking around I call PFLAG “Pah-flag.”)
Her early film career suffered from Hollywood’s lack of imagination when it comes to dealing with funny women. She got stuck in toothless romantic comedies like The Truth About Cats & Dogs and The MatchMaker or cult indie projects like Wet Hot American Summer and 200 Cigarettes. Speaking of the latter, who couldn’t relate to Janeane’s in-transit, post-breakup cab rant? Say it with me: “These matches are disappointing me!” (Yes, that was a pre-Chappelle Show Dave Chappelle as the disco cabbie.)
What I admire about Janeane is not only her humor (or her penchant for slacker casual), but also her willingness to put herself out there politically. She has been an ardent liberal advocate, speaking out against the Iraq War since before it started, supporting the Democratic candidate in the last two presidential elections and co-hosting the Air America talk show “The Majority Report.” Of course, those very same outspoken views made her a favorite target of the right wing. Heaven forbid a famous liberal woman be allowed to express her views.
For a while she was Fox News’ favorite kicking bag (a role now reserved for Rosie O’Donnell), but Janeane has no problem wearing her bleeding heart on her sleeve today. Well, actually, on her skin. Check out her left-leaning tats. Instead of a heart with “Mom,” hers says “Liberal.” And instead of a pinup gal, she has Rosie the Riveter.
In a recent interview with Dark Horizons, Janeane said she has quit drinking, which might be the reason for her fantastic-at-40-something-ness of late. She also said, sadly, that she won’t be as active in the next election. But I understand her reasoning.
“No I don’t think it’s helpful. I worked very hard on the Dean campaign and it became an object of derision, myself and some of the other people who happened to be in entertainment — we’re tax paying citizens first and foremost. … And in any town we would do our little tours across the country, the critics couldn’t resist bashing myself and the other actors who happened to be there working on the campaign. And they lose focus from what is important and it just doesn’t help because there’s too many hacks writing about it that love to waste our time mocking people in the entertainment industry. You know what I mean? And it takes away space from important stuff about the candidate.”
She and Rosie would have a lot to talk about. Speaking of which, that seat on The View is still empty. Hey, Janeane, how do you feel about getting up early in the morning?