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The real Garofalo

Blunt, potty-mouthed, and utterly unpretentious, comedian/actress Janeane Garofalo is about as real as those in the limelight come. Her humor ó dry to the point of being parched ó is acerbic, honest, and righteously funny.

A Providence College graduate, Garofalo got her start on stages around Boston ó interspersed with stints hawking shoes, bike messengering, and working the register at the BU Bookstore. Now the proud owner of "I Hate Myself Productions," she will bring her specific brand of "spoken-word-meets-stand-up" to the Orpheum stage this Friday.

We reached the 37-year-old New Jersey native to get the scoop on her Boston days, her recent affair with the drummer for Gravel Pit, and how people have her all wrong.

Q: What were you up to in Boston?

A: I graduated from Providence College in 1985 and would drive in to do open mike at Play It Again Samís. At that time, Boston was an incredibly supportive comedy community. I used to perform at the Comedy Connection, Catch a Rising Star, Nickís. And then, you know, I hit the road some, too.

I lived in Allston in 1989, at 1325 Comm Ave. I used to go to T.T. the Bearís, the Rat, Spit. I used to eat at Steveís Kitchen constantly. I was always at the Middle East, Grendelís.

Q: You were also a bike messenger, right?

A: Yeah. With ASAP Courier. I was a foot-and-bike messenger downtown. Thereís not much to tell except that I was lousy at it. I also worked at Kevin Brethler Shoes, in Allston. And then I worked for like one week at the BU Bookstore.

Q: How did you move from stand-up to film?

A: When I was 27, I met Ben Stiller, who had seen me do stand-up, and I assume liked it. When he got his sketch-comedy show, I started working with him. I also got to know Garry Shandling around that time.

Q: You and Ben Stiller dated, didnít you?

A: Ahhh. The big myth.

Q: So itís a myth?

A: Thatís such a myth. There was this vague self-help book that we wrote and we said that we were this couple for the purposes of the book. We never actually dated.

Q: Youíve often been dubbed the spokeswoman for Gen X.

A: Oh, God [groans]. That makes me sound so very seven years ago. Iím the spokeswoman for a mythological journalistic construction. I have no idea what it is. I do know that Iím definitely 10 years too old for it.

Q: Youíve also been called "the living Daria."

A: People seem to think I do the voice. I actually donít even sound like her. I donít know what it is.... Weíre both myopic and have dark hair ...

Q: Who are you listening to these days?

A: I just purchased the new Sleater-Kinney. Iím also listening to the Hisseyfits, the Hives, Muckaferguson. I like to keep my finger on the pulse, as it were.

Q: How about ... Gravel Pit?

A: I loooove the Gravel Pit. I am a huge Gravel Pit fan. I have been a Gravel Pit booster. Jed Parish is an amazing singer.

Q: I read somewhere that you were dating the drummer.

A: I was, I was. Pete Caldes. That ended ó oh, God, heís going to hate me for this. When? Probably about a year ago.

Q: What are the common misconceptions that people have about you?

A: That Iím mean; that all I do is talk about body image; that Iím unprepared on stage.

Q: Whatís the deal? Every interview Iíve read with you focuses on weight.

A: Iím a yo-yo. I donít know why every woman is obsessed with that. They canít believe that someone like me is in show business. Just because I donít go to the gym and eat carbohydrates, I am somehow this rebel, this anomaly, the anathema ó is that the word? ó this troll that lives under the bridge that somehow got into show business. Iím going to co-opt Courtney Love here; I want to start a magazine called And Sheís Not Even Pretty. People are so outraged.

Janeane Garofalo will perform with Greg Behrendt on Friday, February 22 at 8 p.m., at the Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place, Boston. Tickets are $27.50 to $36.60, and are available from Ticketmaster at (617) 228-6000.

Issue Date: February 21 - 28, 2002
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