Actress, comedian, and paragon of cynicism Janeane Garofalo was born on September 28, 1964, in Newton, NJ. During high school, her family relocated to Houston, TX, where the trauma of the move prompted her famously insecure, self-loathing persona to begin blossoming in full. While studying history at Providence College, Garofalo entered a comedy talent search sponsored by the Showtime cable network, winning the title of "Funniest Person in Rhode Island." Dreaming of earning a slot on the writing staff of the Late Night With David Letterman program, she became a professional standup upon graduating college but struggled for a number of years, working briefly as a bike messenger in Boston.
Upon moving to the Los Angeles area, Garofalo met actor/comedian Ben Stiller, who in 1992 invited her to join the cast of his short-lived but acclaimed Fox television sketch comedy program The Ben Stiller Show. A stint on Garry Shandling's breakthrough HBO series The Larry Sanders Show (for which she was nominated for an Emmy award in 1996) soon followed, and in 1994 Garofalo reunited with Stiller in the film comedy Reality Bites, a role which earned her the much-despised tag of "Generation X comedian." That fall, she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live but exited before the conclusion of the season, publicly disheartened by the show's increasing drop-off in quality.