Janet Varney

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Janet Varney
Janet Varney Oct 2014 (cropped).jpg
Varney in October 2014
Born (1976-02-16) February 16, 1976 (age 47)
Alma materSan Francisco State University (BA)
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • writer
  • producer
Years active2003–present

Janet Varney (born February 16, 1976) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. She is known for voicing the character of Korra in the Nickelodeon animated television series The Legend of Korra, co-starring as Sheriff Evie Barret in the television series Stan Against Evil, and a recurring role as Becca Barbara in You're the Worst.

Varney has hosted The JV Club podcast since 2012 and is also the co-host of the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast. She is the co-founder, creative director and producer of the long-running comedy festival SF Sketchfest in San Francisco.

Early life[edit]

Varney was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated as salutatorian from Rincon High School in 1993[1][2] and is an alumna of San Francisco State University, where she majored in theater, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997.[3] She later pursued a career in interior design before eventually finding her way back into acting.[4] Varney was raised Mormon, but left the church at 17 and began to identify as an agnostic.[5] Varney is of English and Scottish descent.[6][2]


Television projects[edit]

Varney made her television debut in 2004 as a guest on the Comedy Central debate show Crossballs. She has appeared as a guest star in series including Bones, Better Off Ted, How I Met Your Mother, and Hot in Cleveland. Varney has had recurring roles on the shows Entourage (HBO), Burning Love (Yahoo! Screen), Country Comfort (Netflix), You're the Worst (FX), and Take My Wife (Seeso).

Varney at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con

In 2012, she co-created Neil's Puppet Dreams with Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. In 2012, Varney also began her role voicing the main character of Korra on the Nickelodeon animated series The Legend of Korra, a spin-off of the series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Varney voiced the character of Korra for all four seasons of the show, which ended in 2015.

In 2016, Varney was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her role on Everyone's Crazy But Us, a web series produced on Funny or Die.[7]

Varney was a main cast member on IFC's Stan Against Evil, playing Sheriff Evie Barret. The show ran for three seasons from 2016-2018.[8] She was also the host of ESCAPE!,[9] a web series broadcast on Geek & Sundry where teams of celebrities work together to get out of an escape room.[10] The show ran for one season in 2017.

In 2018 Varney created, produced and starred in Fortune Rookie, an 8-episode web series presented by IFC.[11]

Dinner and a Movie[edit]

In 2005, Varney replaced Lisa Kushell as the host of the TBS cooking and entertainment show Dinner and a Movie. She appeared with Paul Gilmartin and Claud Mann in each episode, introducing films and injecting humor during the preparation of a creative dinner for some themes. The series was cancelled in 2011.


Varney has written and performed several comedic audio commentaries for films along with fellow SF Sketchfest co-founder Cole Stratton. These appear on the RiffTrax website under the RiffTrax Presents branding, as they are officially sanctioned by RiffTrax founder and Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumnus Michael J. Nelson.

She has performed in Rifftrax commentaries for the following films:

Varney at the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con


In March 2012, Varney launched a podcast entitled The JV Club, hosted on Nerdist.com[12] from 2012 to 2018. In November 2018, it was announced that The JV Club would be moving to the Maximum Fun network.[13] The podcast released its 500th episode in Jan 2023.[14]

Varney has participated on a regular basis on the improv comedy podcast Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins, where she is referred to as "Little Janet" Varney. She is also one of the core cast members of the improvised SciFi podcast Voyage to the Stars,[15] and the podcast Thrilling Adventure Hour.[16]

Avatar: Braving the Elements, an official Nickelodeon companion podcast to Avatar: The Last Airbender, premiered on June 22, 2021, hosted by Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (the voice of Zuko). The podcast is an episode-by-episode deep dive into the Avatarverse with special guest appearances.[17]

She has appeared on the podcast Hello from the Magic Tavern as characters Braidwynn the Warrior Elf and Crone Bakeress.

Other professional projects[edit]

Varney is the co-founder, creative director and producer of SF Sketchfest, the San Francisco Comedy Festival, and is also the co-founder of the San Francisco sketch group Totally False People. She is a core member of the Los Angeles based improv group Theme Park Improv.[18] She performed with the Los Angeles and San Francisco-based group Sequel 4000.

Personal life[edit]

Varney dated comedian Chris Hardwick from 2004 to 2011.[19][20][21] In 2018, Varney came out as bisexual.[22] In young adulthood, Varney was diagnosed with depersonalization disorder.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 Stuck Jane
2004 Catwoman Party Girl
2007 Humble Pie Joleen
Dante's Inferno Cleopatra / City of Dis Intercom / Teacher / Ulysses' Usher (voice)
2008 Bill Amelia Short film
Drilbit Taylor Attractive Blonde Woman
2009 Still Waiting... Haley Direct-to-video
2010 Nic & Tristan Go Mega Dega Sylvia Fishtickle - Mom
2011 The Selling Mary Best
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer Mrs. Kate Moody
2014 Present Tense Cynthia Short film
2015 Norm of the North Janet (voice)
2016 Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse Shana
2021 See You Next Christmas Lenora
2021 Injustice Wonder Woman (voice)[24]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Crossballs: The Debate Show Additional Characters Unknown episodes
2005 Back to Norm Christine MacDonald Television film
2006 Free Ride Megan Episode: "Up the Aunty"
Love, Inc. Glenda Episode: "Full House"
Happy Hour Molly Episode: "The Mix CD"
What About Brian Carol Episode: "What About First Steps"
2007 Home Purchasing Club Debbie Driscoll Unknown episodes
The Untitled Rob Roy Thomas Project Ellie Tennant Television film
Halfway Home Kimberly Costas Episodes: "Halfway Hot", "Halfway High School"
Die Hardly Working Heroine Television film
Eternal Waters Lead
How I Met Your Mother Stacey Gusar Episode: "Little Boys"
The Weekend Madelaine Television film
2008 Chocolate News Trina Johns 2 episodes
Man Stroke Woman Various Television film
2008, 2014 Psych Mindy Howland / Connie Camp Episodes: "Murder?... Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller?", "Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement"
2008–09 Back on Topps Bev Cleary Series
Unknown episodes
Entourage Amy Miller 3 episodes
2009 Memory Lanes Tracy Morris Television film
Bones Maureen Perot Episode: "The Bones That Foam"
Better Off Ted Lawyer Episode: "Trust and Consequence"
Married Not Dead Susan Television film
2011 Hot in Cleveland Ellen Episode: "Bad Bromance"
Best Player Tracy Saunders Television film
2012 The Game Summer Grayson 2 episodes
Sullivan & Son Kim Elliot Episode: "The Bar Birthday"
Childrens Hospital Stacy Episode: "Ladies Night"
Neil's Puppet Dreams Patron 3 episodes; Also co-creator, writer, and executive producer
2012–14 The Exes Lorna 2 episodes
2012–13 Burning Love Carly Regular role (23 episodes)
2012–14 The Legend of Korra Korra (voice) Main role (52 episodes)
2013 MyMusic Nancy Spackman 2 episodes
2013–14 Kroll Show Wife / Mrs. Wilson / Jessica Episodes: "Secret Room", "Sponsored by Stamps"
2014 Warehouse 13 Elise Episode: "Secret Services"
Maron Delphine Episode: "Therapy"
2014–19 You're the Worst Becca Barbara Recurring role (28 episodes)
2014 Sanjay and Craig Bernice / Yoga Instructor (voices) Episode: "Ting/Farkwerk"
2015 Shameless Park Mom Episode: "Rite of Passage"
Other Space Host Episode: "Getting to Know You"
2016–18 Take My Wife Melina Marquez 5 episodes
2016 Comedy Bang! Bang! Movie Trailer Wife Episode: "Kaley Cuoco Wears a Black Blazer and Slip on Sneakers"
2016–18 Stan Against Evil Evie Barret Main role: 18 episodes
2016 American Housewife Jenn Episode: "Power Couple"
ESCAPE! Host Web series
2017 Adam Ruins Everything Mandy Episode: "Adam Ruins Weight Loss"
HarmonQuest Sedona Episode: "The Barely Cursed Bazaar of Commerce"
2018 Bravest Warriors Ambulance Driver (voice) Web series
Episode: "I Just Can't Cope Without My Soap"
2020 Dicktown Tracey Episode: "The Mystery of the Moaning Ghost"
The Loud House Dr. Carol Linnaeus / Automated Voice (voice) Episode: "Blinded by Science"
The George Lucas Talk Show Self 2 episodes
2021 Country Comfort Summer 8 episodes
Bless the Harts (voice) Episode: "Betty's Birthday"
2023 The Legend of Vox Machina Vilya (voice) Episode: "Pass Through Fire"
Harley Quinn Mera (voice) Episode: "A Very Problematic Valentine's Day Special"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2014 The Legend of Korra Korra
2021 Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Voiceover added in the June 2022 update
2022 Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2016 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Everyone's Crazy But Us Nominated


  1. ^ Villarreal, Phil (April 15, 2012). "Justice keeps listeners posted on heart surgery". Arizona Daily Star.
  2. ^ a b "The JV Club #153: Felicia Day". Nerdist. May 7, 2015. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  3. ^ SF State Magazine (Fall 2008). "Funny Business". sfsu.edu. San Francisco State University. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  4. ^ "Conversations With Ross: Featuring Janet Varney". rosscarey.com. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "The JV Club #29: Cara Santa Maria". Nerdist. September 20, 2012. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "Varney Family History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Outstanding Actress In A Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series Nominees / Winners 2016". Television Academy.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (January 28, 2019). "'Stan Against Evil' Canceled After Three Seasons On IFC". Deadline. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "Escape! With Janet Varney". YouTube. February 8, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Manuel, Rob (November 14, 2016). "Introducing ESCAPE! with Janet Varney". Geek & Sundry. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "fortune-Janet Varney reads your palms in an absurdly fun web series". November 29, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "The JV Club". Nerdist. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Special Announcement: The JV Club Joins Maximum Fun!". Soundcloud. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "Episode #500 Special featuring Stephen Jackson & Brandon R. Reynolds of Journos!". the jv club podcast with janet varney.
  15. ^ "Janet Varney on 'Voyage to the Stars' Season 2". November 25, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Workjuice Players". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Dar, Taimur (June 23, 2021). "INTERVIEW: Janet Varney and Dante Basco talk BRAVING THE ELEMENTS for the Last Airbender Podcast". Comics Beat. Archived from the original on June 23, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  18. ^ "Theme Park Improv". Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  19. ^ "An Actress's Hollywood Hills Home Is the Embodiment of a Hug". Apartment Therapy. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
  20. ^ Bacon, Caleb (June 30, 2009). "Chris Hardwick: Nerdism For Fun and Profit". LAist. Archived from the original on July 19, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  21. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (June 26, 2018). "Janet Varney, Chris Hardwick's ex-girlfriend, says he never abused her". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Varney, Janet (June 28, 2018). "Janet Varney on Instagram". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2019. I've been woefully lax in celebrating Pride this month on social media! So I'm ending this month listing 10 movies that made me feel less weird about my feelings for ladies as a young person. #pride
  23. ^ "Janet Varney". mentalpod.com. March 26, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  24. ^ "DC's 'Injustice' Sets Cast for Animated Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. July 21, 2021.

External links[edit]