Janet Varney was born in Arizona and eventually moved to San Francisco. An alumnus of San Francisco State University, Varney has worked for and co-founded several comedy troupes, and was in a relationship with Chris Hardwick, who voiced the adult Sokka in The Legend of Korra, between 2004 and 2011. In film, Varney has appeared alongside Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor, Halle Berry in Catwoman, and in the Lionsgate feature Still Waiting as part of a comedy ensemble that includes Justin Long, John Michael Higgins, and Luiz Guzman. Varney recently played the female lead in the teen comedy Nic & Tristan. She also starred opposite iCarly's Jerry Trainor and Jennette McCurdy in the 2010 Nickelodeon Original television movie Best Player.
Varney is the co-creator and co-producer of one of the largest and most successful comedy festivals in the country, the San Francisco Sketchfest. She is well known for co-hosting TBS' Dinner & a Movie and the Mark Burnett-Steven Spielberg-produced film competition On the Lot. She has also starred in the sketch series HPC with Dave Koechner, Diedrich Bader, and Kristin Wiig, and Sean Hayes' sketch series for Fox, Man Stroke Woman.
She has guest starred on many hit shows, including How I Met Your Mother, Better Off Ted, Psych, Bones, What About Brian?, and Halfway Home. Varney continues to recur as smart, sexy television executive Amy Miller on HBO's Entourage. In 2009, Varney signed on to star in an ABC comedy series from Jeff Strauss titled Married Not Dead.
Janet Varney identifies with the character of Korra in the fact that she shares Korra's impatience and enthusiasm for a lot of things, as well as the loyal friendships and the concern about right and wrong in the world. However, she does believe that Korra is about a hundred times cooler than she will ever be.
Varney has stated that if she could be a bender, she would be either a firebender, as she has always had a serious fascination with fire, or a waterbender, because she likes its effects and because she was fascinated by large bodies of water growing up in a desert area. On the other hand, she thinks she would be the worst at airbending.
Janet Varney wrote a song with Paul Gilmartin and Grey DeLisle, the voice actor who voiced Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender, called "Daddy Drank" for the characters her and Grey DeLisle play opposite Paul's Republican Congressman character, Richard Martin.
During an exclusive San Diego Comic-Con 2014 interview for Wikia, Varney mentioned that Varrick and Lin Beifong are her favorite characters on the show.