News Clips— Reality bites

To the dozens of people who lined up outside the Paramount Theatre Sunday night, waiting more than an hour in the cold for last-minute tickets to see Janeane Garofalo, I'm sorry. And to those even more desperate souls, the ones who paced the sidewalks murmuring "one" like a junkie hoping for a quick and easy deal, consider yourselves lucky if you didn't get in.

Maybe Garofalo used to be funny, but if someone told me that a portal to 1984 had opened and we, the miserable audience, had collectively fallen back into the land of Bright Lights, Big City, at least the evening would have made more sense.

Cell phone bits? Like how it's hard to talk through the tiny holes? A riff on popular music: Teasing the Backstreet Boys is so fresh. Making fun of drunken frat boy businessmen wandering around wearing their ties like headdresses and peeing on street corners? Didn't that end when Reagan left? Jokes about how it's too embarrassing to buy condoms? Can this possibly be true? Are there 36-year-old women living in major metropolitan areas that are truly embarrassed to buy condoms? And here's something new and different: Soap operas are stupid!

To say the evening was a disappointment is a bit like saying George W. is a daddy's boy. Garofalo's attempts to throw in current political humor were as transparent and thin as a Doonsbury character. Drawing from a rumpled sheet of yellow-lined paper for inspiration, she tossed off a few obvious, if accurate, observations about the Seattle service industry (jokes that could be made anywhere these days) and mentioned hanging out at the "hipster" Cha Cha, which was cute, I guess.

Garofalo made a name for herself by being a sharp-tongued and bitter "Gen Xer" (her term) railing against the vagaries of modern life. She's the kind of celebrity fans feel like they could sit down and have a cup of coffee with. But I don't know what Garofalo would contribute to the conversation beyond "what's the deal with all these weird coffee drinks?"


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