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DVD Review: Janeane Garofalo – If You Will

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Janeane Garofalo has not done a solo stand-up show in over ten years, and she has been missed. Always known as being edgy, the edge seems to have gotten a bit sharper. Listening to her routine is like listening to your best friend let her hair down. 

Garofalo is an observer; she observes American culture. She knows what’s what in popular culture and includes her opinion with her references. In Janeane Garofalo – If You Will, filmed at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington, she shares her views on dogs, men, eating, drinking, and politics. She tackles Lady Gaga, asexuality, technology, and Homeland Security, flitting from one to another and on to a plethora of other topics.

Garofalo is irked by infomercials that make fabulous claims and end with “results will vary,” which means “this won’t work for you.” She proposes an infomercial drinking game; every time someone says “Thank you for giving me my life back,” do a shot.

When it comes to technology, Garofalo is out of the loop. She once used computers, but no longer. She doesn’t Twitter, and hardly knows how to use her cell phone. She does have a soft spot for dogs, though, and shares photos of some of the dogs who have been her companions. Included in her act is a funny riff on a woman at the dog park who has high expectations.

Janeane Garofalo is the kind of funny that has you saying “Yeah, I think so, too,” or experiencing relief when you learn you’re not the only one who feels “that way.”  There seem to be few topics that she won’t tackle, but she manages not to sink into utter grossness (even when discussing the symptoms of a particularly bad flu she and her boyfriend suffered).

Although Garofalo does not tear into anyone in particular, there seems to be a lot more politics, but not so much as to make her act tiresome. Her gripe about her “plainclothes mailman” echoes the sentiments of many when a non-uniformed person is delivering their mail, and she asks the question we all want answered, does Olive Garden think we really believe they run a culinary institute in Italy? While on the subject, does Applebee’s think we buy the concept of people making home movies in their restaurants?

There are lots of laughs in Janeane Garofalo – If You Will , including two short films:  “Janeane on Pets” and  “Congressman’s Dream.” Expect gentle laughs, not side-splitting guffaws, as you are entertained with stories from right inside the edge.

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