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Lacher / OUT & ABOUT

Forget the Star, Go With the Stunt Double

May 28, 1999|IRENE LACHER

Here's advice from Janeane Garofalo and Ben Stiller for successful dating in L.A.: Date stuntmen. It has to do with Garofalo's theory about the differences between men and women in show business. And how there aren't any.

"A lot of actors share all the same narcissistic neuroses," she instructs from a prone position on a couch in her Chateau Marmont suite, "so there's not as sharp a division that says men are men and women are women in this business. Everybody's got the same exact set of peccadilloes and neuroses."

"Except for stuntmen," Stiller interjects from a chair across the room.

"Except for stuntmen and crew guys," Garofalo says. "Those are manly men."

Stuntmen don't have peccadilloes. They just have pecs. Ah, yes. Now we get it.

What qualifies two actor-comedians to give you advice? The same thing that qualifies many in the lucrative advice-giving business--because they can! And they'll be happy to run your life too. Just cough up $22.95 plus tax for their new how-to, "Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy and Sexual Satisfaction" (Ballantine Books).

On the sexual front, they consider their past fling to be the model relationship. In the book, there are he-says, she-says chapters revealing their brief interlude as boyfriend-girlfriend several years ago.

"It was the perfect three-week relationship," Garofalo says dreamily.

"I think long-term relationships are overrated," Stiller says.

But seriously, folks. Garofalo and Stiller have had a marriage of creative minds that goes far beyond their first co-written book. They worked together on the short-lived TV series "The Ben Stiller Show" and on films--"Mystery Men," their third after "Reality Bites" and "The Cable Guy," is coming out in August.

So why are you guys so much better at working together than sleeping together?

Garofalo: "We've actually never had sex."

Stiller: "In the book, we say we had sex."

Garofalo: "The book is fictional. In real life, we just made out."

You made out for three weeks?

Garofalo: "Sex is overrated."

Stiller: "I don't overrate it. I like sex. Janeane doesn't like sex. I like sex, which was probably one of the biggest problems we had in our three weeks."

Garofalo: "I don't like to be nude. Ever."

Ever?

Garofalo: "Ever."

So are you nude when you take a shower?

Garofalo: "I have a shower suit. And I wear that."

Stiller: "I think Janeane downplays her sexuality, her femaleness. She's actually very beautiful, obviously."

Rrrrriiiiiinnnnnggg.

Garofalo: "Sounds like I'm being saved by the bell."

While Garofalo chats with one of the "Mystery Men" producers who's on the phone, disrupting the interview--not that we mind, of course--we ask Stiller about their dynamic.

"We're like an old married couple," he says.

You mean no sex?

"Exactly. And lots of bickering. We get very snippy with each other very quickly, but we also laugh a lot together. It's a weird relationship, but it's also the most long-term relationship I've had with any woman in my life in terms of a friendship."

Irene Lacher's Out & About column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2. She can be reached by e-mail at socalliving@latimes.com.

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