Janeane Garofalo

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The actress and comedian reveals her childhood “obsession” and is the first to use the Guest DJ pulpit to make a formal apology…to Mike Nesmith. Janeane tells Jason Eldredge about the song that marked the day she decided to pursue standup and ties “alcoholism, sobriety and a herniated disc” into a story about Badly Drawn Boy. She picks a bunch of bands from across the pond but also an “auditory gift” that was not in our KCRW library. Janeane can be seen on the upcoming season of 24.

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1. The Beatles - Ticket to Ride
2. The Monkees - What Am I Doing Hangin' Round
3. The Blue Nile - Tinseltown in The Rain
4. Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around the Block
5. The English Beat - I Confess
6. Big Dipper - She's Fetching


Jason Eldredge: Hey, this is Jason Eldredge from KCRW and I'm here with actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo. Janeane, how are you?

Janeane Garofalo: I'm good thank you, how are you? (in radio announcer voice)

Jason Eldredge: I am doing well. We're going to talk about some of the music that has inspired you over the years and I understand that you brought a few songs to share today.

Janeane Garofalo: I did.

Jason Eldredge: Well, why don't we jump right in and what was the first thing that sort of popped into your mind and that you brought with you.

Song: "Ticket to Ride," by the Beatles.

Janeane Garofalo: Well the first one was from the Beatles soundtrack of “Help,” and the song is "Ticket to Ride," because the Beatles were sort of the first obsession group I had as a very young child. I'm sure a lot of young kids responded to the Beatles because of the melodies and the harmonies. It reaches people on a lot of levels but for me in the late '60's…my father's sister who used to babysit us had Rubber Soul, when I was about 3 or 4, and she played that a lot. And then, when I got some birthday money once, my first album, full length album, I ever bought, was Magical Mystery Tour. But "Ticket to Ride" has remained one of my, just, I never tire of hearing it. I think it's one of those songs everybody loves.

Song: "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?" by the Monkees.

Jason Eldredge: Janeane, what do you have next for us?

Janeane Garofalo: I would say the next song is sort of a young girl crush on the band and their music. Since about the age of four, I have been in love with Mike Nesmith -- and not just because his mom invented White Out.

Jason Eldredge: * laughs* I didn't know that actually.

Janeane Garofalo: You didn't? Oh, I thought everybody knew that.

Jason Eldredge: No.

Janeane Garofalo: The TV show was on in the late '60's when I was a little kid and my mom would let me stay up to watch it and I would actually go to bed at night and pray that I could dream about the Monkees. I would ask God if I could please dream about the Monkees, Mike Nesmith in particular. And then some years back I met Mike Nesmith was so nervous I was rude, I think, to him and I've always regretted that. So, in his honor today, and in hopes that he's listening, and if he can hear me say "I am sorry I think I might have been rude because I was nervous around you, Mike Nesmith." "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?" Mike Nesmith on vocals from the Monkees Anthology.

Jason Eldredge: That's music from the Monkees on KCRW, "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?" I'm Jason Eldredge sitting here with actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo, but you know, you're much more then that as well, you wear many, many different hats.

Janeane Garofalo: Many hats, many hats. People always say that about me. They say ‘Janeane you wear many hats,’ literally.

Jason Eldredge: Well, that's a good lead into, like, when you're on set or when you're preparing for a role, or when you're doing things to maybe prepare for a stand up gig or something like that, is there certain music that you tend to gravitate towards, or does music play an integral part in that process for you?

Janeane Garofalo: Well, for the acting stuff I've done, I've never really been asked to do the type of roles that you know, Daniel Day Lewis-esque, ‘I'm not getting out of the wheel chair until the rap party,’ you know.

Jason Eldredge: *laughs*

Janeane Garofalo: My Left Foot-ish prep time. I tend to be asked to play gal number three in movie number seven, you know, whatever it is.

Jason Eldredge: Right.

Janeane Garofalo: So I listen to music but just for fun, you know in my life. I like to have it playing. And when I'm driving to work at “24,” it's an hour commute for me when I'm here, so I make sure that I have all the music that I love…when I'm not listening to KCRW that is!

Jason Eldredge: Right, well now you have your musical hat on.

Janeane Garofalo: I do, I do.

Jason Eldredge: And we're talking about music.

Song: "Tinseltown in the Rain," by The Blue Nile.

Janeane Garofalo: And, so, should I just go into the next one?

Jason Eldredge: Let's talk about the next one.

Janeane Garofalo: The next one is from a band called The Blue Nile, which I believe is a Scottish band, and the song is called "Tinseltown in the Rain," off of, I believe, the album of the same name. That one is particularly meaningful to me because I can remember listening to it when I was in college on the very night I made the decision to make stand up comedy my career -- like to really try and commit to that. And it just, for some reason, something about this song, the melancholy way it sounds or something, it's a very kind of an emotional song and I just made that decision. And every time I hear The Blue Nile now, I think about 1985 when I started doing stand up and that song to me is just commensurate to making a big, life decision.

Song: "Once Around the Block," by Badly Drawn Boy.

Jason Eldredge: What else, what else you got for us?

Janeane Garofalo: The next one would be Badly Drawn Boy and the song is "Once Around the Block." That song to me is a very sort of pivotal time in my life of drinking to excess and getting sober. Towards the end of my drinking days I listened to that album constantly and then in the beginning of my getting sober days I listened to the album constantly but that song, "Once Around the Block," always cheered me up no matter how sad I was to not be drinking. *laughs* It's a sad thing when you're not drinking.

Here's another thing I forgot until right now… I was drunk, this is the drunk part of listening to that album, doing cartwheels in my hotel room listening to that song, and then I was convinced I could do a split, because I could when I was in high school even though this was many years after and Grandma decided to try and do a split and I wrenched my back and herniated a disc. Ok so, let me backtrack here, so we have alcoholism, sobriety, and herniated discs, all tied into Badly Drawn Boy and the song, "Once Around the Block."

Song: "I Confess," by The English Beat

Jason Eldredge: I understand we have a little something from The English Beat coming up next.

Janeane Garofalo: We do indeed, The English Beat and the song is called "I Confess." The reason I picked "I Confess," is because when I was in high school back in those days-- which was the late '70's and early '80's-- it wasn't that easy to get into the alternative music or college radio as it were. And every once in a while something would start to slip through and it was usually because of the new medium of MTV, and so Madness got in and The English Beat and a handful of other bands that ordinarily a suburban kid like me would not have had the pleasure of hearing. So "I Confess," to me was when I realized -- Oh, there's better music out there, it isn't just all this kind of mainstream arena stuff which I, even at the time, felt was just mediocre at best. But something sounded better and different about a lot of these sort of left of center, left of the dial type bands and "I Confess," has remained, a life long, again like "Ticket to Ride," I never get tired of hearing.

Jason Eldredge: No, yeah, it's a great track.

Janeane Garofalo: In a public place, if it comes on, everybody’s toes start tapping. I mean, it's sort of the great equalizer, everybody seems to respond well to "I Confess."

Jason Eldredge: It's actually like the moment in Reality Bites - like it comes on the air and you see everyone in the store just like-

Janeane Garofalo: They just like it

Jason Eldredge: Jammin' along and they just love it.

Song: "She is Fetching" by Big Dipper

Jason Eldredge: So, as sort of a last minute thing -- this wasn't part of your original list but you brought in this.

Janeane Garofalo: This is a gift.

Jason Eldredge: You just had this in your bag. You just happened to have this.

Janeane Garofalo: This an auditory gift I'm giving you and the listeners. If you're not familiar with Big Dipper, you should be. Well, if you just play this song, “She is Fetching,” I think you'll see what I'm talking about. When I first heard it…I had forgotten all the songs I've loved by them, I have not stopped listening to it now for about three weeks, I cannot.

Jason Eldredge: Wow.

Janeane Garofalo: And it haunts my dreams unfortunately. I can't not think of it now, which is bordering now on driving me nuts.

Jason Eldredge: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Janeane Garofalo: I wake up thinking of lyrics of theirs and I try and sweep it away and it keeps creeping back in. This is my gift to you for having me on the show. I can't, of course, leave this disc with you because I have to listen to it in the car on the way home, but I'm giving it to you as a sonic gift.

Jason Eldredge: Absolutely, that's fantastic. Janeane, thanks so much for joining on KCRW.com today.

Janeane Garofalo: Thank you for having me.