Sunday, January 26, 2014

Not Narrow: She's straight, she's irate, get used to it

Ever since I first saw her in 1994’s Reality Bites, I’ve felt a strong kinship with Janeane Garofalo. Her character, a recent college graduate, was working at The Gap and demonstrating how to use a plastic board to fold a sweater: “People don’t know,” she said dryly. “They don’t know what it takes.”

I’d just graduated from college when that film came out, and that summer I found myself working at Target in Boise, Idaho — using the same damn folding board.

Clearly, Janeane is my soul sister. The 42-year-old former co-host of Air America Radio’s The Majority Report vented with me about the state of the union before hitting the road for a comedy tour.

Jimmy Radosta: Do some people come to your shows unprepared for you to be so outspoken?

Janeane Garofalo:
During the buildup to the illegal invasion and occupation, there would be pockets who were of course the people that believed the nonsense that the administration was shoveling, and so they would be offended. There would be walkouts and heckling.

That personality type is as confusing to me as people who abuse animals. You kind of wonder what makes them tick, like when you watch Animal Cops on Animal Planet and you see that someone has thrown a puppy in a trunk and left it there. I feel the same way about a right-winger: I don’t get it, I don’t understand what makes them tick, I don’t know what happened to them as children that caused them to turn out that way.

Some Democratic politician [state Sen. Bob Hagan of Ohio] half-jokingly said that it shouldn’t be gay people who should be banned from adopting but conservatives and Republicans…because you don’t want to put them in that environment. I concur with that sentiment.

JR: Speaking of gay family matters, do you feel like same-sex marriage scared enough voters to swing the 2004 election in Bush’s favor?

First of all, it is my belief that not only was the 2000 election stolen when Antonin Scalia installed George Bush as president, I believe John Kerry won the 2004 election. If you read the Conyers report and other studies done to investigate the voter fraud, the electronic touch-screen voting problems, if you look at the documentary Hacking Democracy, there’s no evidence to support George Bush won that election, either.

I would say that the gay issues that the so-called conservatives put out there — it’s just embarrassing. It doesn’t scare anyone off who is reasonable. It’s a flash-point topic used to corral the dumb and the mean into voting.

JR: Are we at least making some progress with the recent scandals involving Ted Haggard and Ann Coulter?

Don’t forget Jeff Gannon/Duckert and Cpl. [Matt] Sanchez at the [Conservative Political Action Conference] recently — the gay porn star who Sean Hannity says is “a great American.” CPAC is about as close to a white supremacist rally as you’re gonna get.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Anybody who is a vehement anti-gay activist is usually a closet queen. They have that Roy Cohn quality of the self-hating gay or the attack queer or whatever you want to call it.

Reasonable people can always see through televangelists, right-wing bullies, people like Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter is just a performing clown.

Then there’s some people who Malcolm Gladwell would call “late adopters” who see through it eventually.

And then there’s people who will never see through it, because that’s who they are. There will always be a segment of the population, because of their personality shortcomings, who will embrace gay-bashing and internment camps and gulags.

JR: Are you going to continue acting?

Yes, I like to do both. I just did a pilot for a TV series for next season…about lawyers. It’s a one-hour dramedy from the people who are involved with Numb3rs and Law & Order starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar [Saved by the Bell, NYPD Blue].

JR: Are you going to return to radio?

I actually only do the radio show intermittently. Sam Seder still has the show…and it’s moved to the morning. I could not move to a morning slot. No way, José. After Sam had his baby, he and his wife agreed that he needs to move to the morning show so that he could be home at night. I was like: “You know what, Sam? Good luck to you.” I can’t be in an office at 5:30 a.m. five days a week. I’m not cut out for it.

Originally published in Just Out, March 16, 2007

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