Pop quiz: what do Janeane Garofalo and Britney Spears have in common?
Ooh, I see the smoke coming out of your ears. I’m sorry.
The obvious answer is “not a damn thing.” But you would be incorrect. Garofalo and Spears both drunkenly entered into marriage in Las Vegas. But here is where Brit-Brit wins the Maturity Award. Spears (or her Thinking Things Staff) realized within hours that the union to her, by all accounts, sweet and well-intentioned childhood friend was binding and that she needed to get out of it tout de suite. So that she could move on to bigger and better popozaos.
Garofalo, however, did not understand that the whole marriage thing was for realsies. As she explained at a Ben Stiller Show reunion during the New York Comedy Festival last week, she and fellow comedian Rob Cohen teetered to a chapel and got married 20 years ago. But they figured that it wouldn’t be legit unless they filed some kind of papers somewhere in, like, a city building with marble columns or something. They continued to lead their separate lives under this assumption…until Cohen went to get married for real and his lawyer was like, “Hold up a sec, Brigham Young.”
Garofalo has always been one of my favorite comedians. Her acerbic wit and, “Have you noticed how this is all bullshit?” approach to dealing with life struck a chord with me when I first became aware of her in the early to mid 1990s. I’ve always felt that she and I shared a certain Daria-ness.
She only further endeared herself to me when she discussed the finer points of Ghost Adventures (or GHOST BROS, as it’s known around here) in her more recent stand-up special If You Will.
I’m tempted to put on my best mom-voice and launch into a tsk-tsk rant of, “HOW could she not realize that she was actually married? Who DOES that? She’s a smart woman, you’d think she’d know to research that after the fact.”
But, honestly, it sounds like something I would do. Plus, I’ve been to Vegas. There is absolutely nothing real or realistic about that place so I can understand how one could get confused. At no point when you’re sipping a 64 oz. beaker of alcohol while wandering through the streets lined with monstrous lions and pyramids and Eiffel Towers, dodging the hordes of young men trying to give you flyers for prostitutes before ducking into a building decorated to look like Venice where it’s always around 5:30 in the evening and the air always smells like flowers and cake do you think, “This must be the kind of place were rational decision-making and adult behavior happens A LOT.”
Garofalo and Cohen are now happily divorced. But it’s a lesson to all of us: don’t take legal marriage advice from Jack Daniels.