Jeff Garlin

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Jeff Garlin
Jeff Garlin photo by Josh Alder.jpg
Garlin in 2010
Birth name Jeffrey Todd Garlin[1]
Born (1962-06-05) June 5, 1962 (age 52)
Chicago, Illinois
Medium Film, television, stand-up
Nationality American
Alma mater The Second City
Years active 1984–present
Spouse Marla Beth Garlin
(1994–present; 2 children)[2]
Children 2

Jeffrey "Jeff" Todd Garlin (born June 5, 1962)[1] is an American comedian, actor, producer, voice artist, director, writer, podcast host and author. He has acted in many television shows and some movies, but is best known for his role as Jeff Greene on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, for which he was nominated for seven Emmys in his role as Executive Producer, and two wins for Producing from the PGAs.[2] He currently stars in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs.

Early life[edit]

Garlin was born in Chicago, Illinois, to father Gene Garlin[3] and mother Carole Garlin (née Crafton).[4] Garlin grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois[1] where his father had a family plumbing supply business called Bilko and his mother was active in community theater. He has a younger brother named Michael Garlin.[5] Garlin is Jewish[6] and attended Hebrew school.[7][8]

Garlin said he has known he wanted to be a comedian for a long time: “I made the decision when I was 8 years old. I saw Jimmy Durante perform in Chicago and, on the way home, I asked my parents if that was a job. They said it was. I said, ‘That’s the job I want.’ ”[6]

On his childhood: "My childhood in Morton Grove was idyllic. It was the greatest time of my life. It was the last perfect time."[9] Garlin said he played every sport (football, baseball, shot put, discus, etc.) and was the class clown.[5] Garlin said the only problem with doing the sports was that he had a heart ailment called Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, so he had to quit all sports.[5]

Garlin attended Melzer Elementary School in Morton Grove, Illinois.[9] When Garlin was in sixth grade, his father sold Bilko and the family moved to South Florida, "an experience Garlin said was difficult because of anti-semitism he encountered."[9] He graduated from Fort Lauderdale's Nova High School in Davie, Florida in 1980. He attended Broward Community College, followed by a stint at the University of Miami studying film, but eventually dropped out. He began performing stand-up comedy there.[10]



In 1984, at the age of 22, Garlin moved back to Chicago, to perform with the comedy troupe The Second City, into which he had been accepted, as well as to pursue a stand-up comedy career there.[11] He worked in the box office with Stephen Colbert.[12]

In the late 80s, Garlin was roommates with Conan O'Brien, who was then a comedy writer, for less than a year.[5] He remains close to O'Brien, and after O'Brien was removed as host of The Tonight Show in 2010 so that Jay Leno could return, Garlin stated that he would not be a guest on the show again.[11][12]

Garlin was hired by comedians Denis Leary (Lock-n-Load) and Jon Stewart (Unleavened) to develop their specials with them, going on the road with them, taking notes. Garlin said he was a stage director with their shows and edited with the writing.[5] Garlin worked with Larry David in this same way.

Garlin said that when Chris Albrecht at HBO approached Larry David and wanted to do a series with him, he was part of that. Garlin would regularly go into David's office suite at Castle Rock Entertainment, which was next door to the writer Alan Zweibel's office (who Garlin was writing a show with), to talk with him, as they knew each other from standup. One day they went to lunch and Garlin said to David, "If you ever want to do a comedy special, I have the perfect idea. It would be the behind-the-scenes of the making of comedy special and you'd never have to shoot the special, you could back out, and then that would be the special. And it came from my experiences with Jon Stewart and Denis Leary." They went to Albrecht, who said, "How can I not do this?"[5]

Garlin continues to do standup, where he says he improvises a lot on stage, and feels very relaxed, "maybe too relaxed [laughs]."[5]

On comedy: "There's only one true superpower amongst human beings, and that is being funny. People treat you differently if you can make them laugh. Women like you more if you're funny. You get away with things other people don't get away with. And the kryptonite for people who are funny are people without any sense of humor."[13]

Film and television[edit]

In 1992, Garlin made his film debut in Dolly Parton's comedy Straight Talk.[14]

Garlin has a variety of television and film appearances to his credit, as an actor and a stand-up, including Dr. Katz, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Goes to the Mayor, The Life and Times of Tim, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Entourage. Garlin appeared with Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care and appeared in Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal.[15] From 1997-1999, Garlin spent three seasons on NBC's Mad About You in the role of Marvin.[16]

Garlin was cast in his small role for RoboCop 3 as "Donut Jerk" after a member of the casting crew witnessed Garlin eating a doughnut while leaving Krispy Kreme with an additional two dozen doughnuts. He went on to appear in a small cameo role in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999. Other cameo appearances include Run Ronnie Run, After the Sunset, Fat Albert, and Sleepover.

His feature directorial debut, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (which he also wrote), premiered to favorable reviews at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. It opened in September 2007. The film co-stars Sarah Silverman and Bonnie Hunt, with supporting appearances by Paul Mazursky, Dan Castellaneta, and Amy Sedaris.[17]

In 2005, Garlin played a small role in Fun with Dick and Jane as a man who falls victim to Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni's crime spree. In 2006, Garlin also directed This Filthy World, a one-man show performed by director John Waters. Garlin also was a voice actor in WALL-E, an animated film by Pixar that was released June 27, 2008, as the Captain of the Axiom spaceship. According to an interview, Garlin developed a harmful nodule in his throat due to the long process of recording his voice for this role.[18]

He had a recurring role on the series Wizards of Waverly Place as Uncle Kelbo, appearing in three episodes over the first three seasons. He also was a key person in the making of The Life and Lies of Jeffy Gelbo Garlin. In 2008, Garlin appeared in The Rocker as Stan. During 2008, he also played Ed Lawson in the film Strange Wilderness. He lent his voice to Disney/Pixar's film Toy Story 3, as Buttercup. He appeared as Sid, alongside Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, in the 2010 comedy-action film The Bounty Hunter. Garlin's most recent film role was as Ed Burch, father of aimless daughter Megan, played by Keira Knightley, in Laggies, released in 2014.

Curb Your Enthusiasm[edit]

On television, Garlin is a co-star and executive producer in the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show stars Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld. Garlin co-stars in the show as Larry David's manager.

Regarding the show and his role, Garlin stated:

Originally, I approached Larry David with the idea for the show, and my intent was to direct it and not even be in it. He's the one that insisted that I play his manager and be an executive producer. It totally has changed my life, and I'm indebted to him forever, and every time I work on that show, not only am I lucky, I laugh my ass off and I have a great time. And it's probably the most fun I'll ever have as an actor, ever.[16]

In 2013, Garlin directed his second film, Dealin' with Idiots,[19] which was inspired by his experiences with his two sons in Little League.[20][21] The entire movie was improvised.[22] The film started with "a 20-page outline, which Garlin wrote largely from his experiences with his sons' soccer and baseball leagues in Sherman Oaks, Hollywood and Cheviot Hills; he then had the cast improvise based on their own experiences."[19] The film stars J.B. Smoove and Bob Odenkirk, Jami Gertz, Gina Gershon, etc.

In 2013, Garlin signed onto the ABC sitcom, The Goldbergs, which is based partly on the life of actor-writer Adam F. Goldberg.[21]

Garlin executive produced the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier.[22]


On February 23, 2010, Garlin released a book, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, a memoir which documents his journey to lessen both his physical and carbon footprint.


As of January 10, 2013, Garlin is a host on the comedy podcast network Earwolf.[23] His show, By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin, is a series of unscripted casual talks, rather than formal interviews, during which Garlin mainly interrupts answers made by his friends in the entertainment industry. The debut episode featured a chat with Garlin's Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Larry David. The twice-monthly installments are recorded in front of a live audience at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Garlin married Marla Beth Garlin (née Cahan) in 1994. They have two sons: James (b. 1996), and Duke (b. 2000). They live in Los Angeles and Chicago.[2] He's a big Chicago Cubs fan.[21][13] His favorite comic is Jack Benny.[12]

Garlin is a practitioner of transendental meditation, which he does twice a day.[24] He says that it has helped him with the symptoms of ADD.[25]


Garlin had surgery in Oklahoma City when he was in his late 20s to correct Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a heart condition, an extra pathway in your heart that gives you tachycardia.[5] Garlin said he was an early recipient (#72) of the surgery -- following Mitchell Hurwitz (#14) -- which now millions of people have done. The surgery burns the extra pathway with high frequency waves. Before surgery he had at least one tachycardia attack on stage.[5] Before Curb Your Enthusiasm filming began in 1999 he had a stroke, when he was 37 years old. During the early episodes of the first season he had noticeably slurred speech, although his speech improved.[5] When Garlin had the heart attack, he said he didn't know it before, but he had type II diabetes, which he now controls with diet and exercise.[5]

Garlin has written about his issues with food and has discussed his weight issues publicly.[24] He says, bluntly, "I'm an addict."[5] On this, Garlin said: "I think people look at fat people as having a lack of willpower, when willpower has nothing to do with it. I didn’t change my life until I approached everything like an addict. I haven’t had sweets in almost three years because I know if I have one cookie, just like if an alcoholic has his first drink, I’m off to the races and I’m back eating sugar again."[25]

2013 arrest[edit]

In 2013, Garlin was arrested following an argument while parking[26] at a CVS in Studio City, in the valley area of Los Angeles.[27] Garlin damaged a car window, and because of the value of the car's damage (a Mercedes), was arrested.[5] The charges were dropped,[13] although a lawsuit was filed.[28][29]



Year Film Role Notes
1983 Spring Break Gut Gut Uncredited
1992 Straight Talk Bob
Hero News Vendor
1993 RoboCop 3 Donut Jerk
1994 Little Big League Opposing Little League Manager
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Agent Reese
1997 The Love Bug Highway Patrolman
1998 Senseless Arlo Vickers
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Cyclops
Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm Jeff Greene
2000 Bounce Emcee
2002 Run Ronnie Run Birthday Woman's Friend
Naked Movie Writer No. 1
The Third Wheel Office Worker Uncredited
Full Frontal Harvey
2003 Daddy Day Care Phil
2004 Sleepover Mr. Corky
Outing Riley Partner in Architects' Firm Uncredited
After the Sunset Ron
Fat Albert Jer Uncredited
2005 Fun with Dick and Jane Boss
2006 The Jeff Garlin Program Jeff
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With James Aaron Also writer/director
The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3: The Jerkinators! Shirley
2007 Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot Lenny
2008 Strange Wilderness Ed Lawson
The Rocker Stan
WALL-E Captain B. Mcrea Voice only
2010 The Bounty Hunter Sid
Toy Story 3 Buttercup Voice only
2011 Hawaiian Vacation Buttercup Voice only
Cars 2 Otis[30] Voice Only
Sin Bin Dean Theatard
2012 ParaNorman Perry Babcock Voice only
Safety Not Guaranteed Mr. Britt
2013 Dealin' with Idiots Max Morris Also writer/director
2014 Laggies Ed Burch



Episode #[31] Guest Date Duration
01 Larry David 01/10/13 1:22:02
02 Lena Dunham 01/24/13 1:29:44
03 Jeff Tweedy 02/07/13 1:42:34
04 J.J. Abrams 02/21/13 1:50:58
05 Mitch Hurwitz 03/07/13 1:19:27
06 Will Ferrell 03/21/13 1:32:17
07 Zach Galifianakis 04/04/13 1:23:55
08 Conan O'Brien 04/18/13 1:17:53
09 Michael Moore 05/02/13 2:03:23
10 Matthew Weiner 05/16/13 1:50:24
11 Tig Notaro 05/30/13 1:27:22
12 Judd Apatow 06/13/13 1:39:15
13 Aziz Ansari 06/27/13 1:08:58
14 Henry Rollins 07/11/13 2:04:56
15 Amy Poehler 07/25/13 1:18:44
16 Vince Gilligan 08/08/13 1:37:05
17 Marc Maron 08/22/13 1:38:01
18 Colin Hay 09/05/13 1:15:27
19 Rosemarie DeWitt & Lunn Shelton 09/20/13 0:57:23
20 Bob Odenkirk 10/03/13 1:00:49
21 Sarah Silverman 10/17/13 0:57:30
22 Jay Roach and Sussanna Hoffs 10/31/13 1:27:00
23 George Segal and Wendi McLendon-Covey 11/14/13 1:13:00
24 Maya Rudolph 11/28/13 0:31:00
25 Mike Birbiglia 12/12/13 1:04:00
26 Jeff Garlin 12/26/13 0:54:00

Video games[edit]

Works and publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Jeff T Garlin - United States Public Records". FamilySearch. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Witchel, Alex (25 June 2006). "The Improviser". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Gene A. Garlin". Chicago Tribune ( 2 November 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Gene A. Garlin". Find A Grave. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Maron, Marc (12 January 2015). "Episode 567 - Jeff Garlin" (AUDIO PODCAST). WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Torok, Ryan (1 June 2010). "Jeff Garlin…Seriously". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (19 October 2004). "Jeff Garlin interview". Retrieved 23 June 2010. ...very proud and happy to be Italian, and I think everything that I do is naturally Jewish. 
  8. ^ Smiley, Tavis (12 September 2005). "Jeff Garlin". The Tavis Smiley Show. Retrieved 23 June 2010. I guess you could say – I mean, I'm Jewish, Larry's Jewish. 
  9. ^ a b c Sotonoff, Jamie (7 June 2011). "Jeff Garlin: Spontaneous, sugar-free and suburb-loving". Daily Herald (Paddock Publications). Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Fine, Arlene (6 March 2008). "Jeff Garlin definitely will not curb your enthusiasm". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Downs, Gordon (1 February 2011). "Interview With Comedian Jeff Garlin". Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Rivers, Joan (24 September 2013). "In Bed With Joan - Episode 29: Jeff Garlin" (VIDEO INTERVIEW). In Bed With Joan. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c Spitznagel, Eric (12 July 2013). "Q&A: Jeff Garlin on Getting Arrested, The Chicago Cubs, and The Future of Curb Your Enthusiasm". Esquire. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Jeff Garlin". Turner Classic Movies Database. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Jeff Garland". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Murray, Noel (29 August 2007). "Jeff Garlin". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 26 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Full Bio". The Speaker Agency. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  18. ^ The Weakly News, Episode Episode #217,; accessed 29 October 2014.
  19. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (18 July 2013). "Jeff Garlin Got So Annoyed at L.A. Little League Parents That He Made A Movie About Them". LA Weekly. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Webster, Andy (16 July 2013). "Youth League Tantrums, but Not by the Kids". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c Zeitchik, Steven (23 July 2013). "Jeff Garlin takes another directorial swing in 'Dealin' With Idiots'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Marshall, Rick (25 July 2013). "Jeff Garlin on Improv, Little League, and Dealin' With Idiots". IFC. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Hibberd, James (1 August 2013). "Jeff Garlin discusses 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and his new podcast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Puckrik, Katie (22 June 2011). "Jeff Garlin: 'Monty Python changed my life'". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Pixie (27 October 2011). "Can I Please Say This? Jeff Garlin talks to us about ADD, eating disorders, and why adversity is the best thing that can happen to you.". Rookie. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  26. ^ TMZ Staff (16 June 2013). "'Curb' Star Jeff Garlin Arrested For Alleged Window Rage". TMZ. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "Actor Jeff Garlin Arrested on Vandalism Charge". Variety. Associated Press. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  28. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (23 July 2013). "Jeff Garlin Sued Over Parking Lot Incident That Got Him Arrested". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Sternbergh, Adam (17 June 2013). "Jeff Garlin Is the Funniest Guy in the Room. Except for Larry David.". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  30. ^ "Cars 2 Interview - Jeff Garlin". Trailer Addict. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  31. ^ Garlin, Jeff. "By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin podcast on Earwolf". By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin. Earwolf. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 

External links[edit]