Retta

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Retta Sirleaf
Retta 2012 (cropped).jpg
Retta in 2012
Born Marietta Sirleaf
(1970-04-12) April 12, 1970 (age 45)
New Jersey
Alma mater Duke University
Occupation Actress, stand-up comedian
Website twitter.com/unfoRETTAble

Marietta Sirleaf[1] (born April 12, 1970), better known simply as Retta, is an American stand-up comedian and actress. She is mainly known for her role as Donna Meagle on NBC's Parks and Recreation. She has appeared in several films and television shows, and has performed stand-up on Comedy Central's Premium Blend.

Early life[edit]

Retta is from New Jersey, and graduated from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Her family is from Liberia and she is the niece of the current Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She started working in the pharmaceutical research field before moving to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career in comedy.[2] Retta started performing stand-up comedy in 1996, although she said she did not start "earning money" until 1998, when she started touring on the college circuit. Retta said she used to get "really nauseated" before a performance, but that the feeling passed with experience.[3] Retta has said her stand-up material tends to be slightly embellished stories from her regular everyday life, family, and friends.[2][4] Retta has stated she would give up stand-up comedy for a full-time acting career if possible: "I'm not married to stand-up, just because it's a road thing. It's very lonely with all the traveling."[5]

Comedy career[edit]

Retta has served as the opening act for such comedians as Shirley Hemphill and Bobby Collins.[3] She has made television appearances on E! Entertainment Television's The Soup,[4] Freddie, Moesha, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,[5] the "Comedy Divas Showcase" segment of The Jenny Jones Show,[6] Retta has performed on Premium Blend, a Comedy Central show featuring up-and-coming comedians.[3]

In 2009, Retta started making regular guest appearances on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation as Donna Meagle, an employee in the parks department of a fictional Indiana town. During a stand-up performance at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Retta said the acting job on the show was stressful because it was unclear how long the show would stay on the air, because of the poor reviews it received during the first season.[4] Alan Sepinwall, television columnist with The Star-Ledger, said second season episodes of Parks and Recreation have afforded more personality and funnier jokes to Donna and other minor characters.[7] She was upgraded to a full-time regular cast member in the third season.

Retta also hosted the 3rd Critics' Choice Television Awards in 2013. In 2014, Retta appeared on Hollywood Game Night as a contestant along with other celebrities Paget Brewster, Michael Chiklis, Mario Lopez, Thomas Lennon, and Alyssa Milano.

Personal life[edit]

Retta's aunt is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current President of Liberia.[8]

Retta is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and has presented awards at the NHL award ceremony in Las Vegas in 2014 and 2015.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Slackers Bruna
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Sad Eye Sadie
2007 Fracture Evidence Room Cop
2007 Sex and Death 101 Ethel (as Retta Sirleaf)
2008 First Sunday Roberta
2014 Sex Ed Sydney

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Hardware Store Clerk Season 4, episode 12 ("The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition")
2009–2015 Parks and Recreation Donna Meagle Guest star in seasons 1–2, series regular in seasons 3–7
2014 Drunk History Sylvia Robinson Season 2, episode 3 ("American Music")
2014 Key & Peele singer cameo in Scat Duel

References[edit]

  1. ^ Retta - Donna Meagle Parks and Recreation, NBC.com
  2. ^ a b Azzi, Amy (January 28, 2009). "Comedian took long route to comedy". Royal Purple News (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater). Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c Eells, Kelly Feser (June 6, 2003). "T-150 seats down for stand-up guys". Ojai Valley News. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Dunn, Valeree (October 14, 2009). "Performer Spotlight on... Retta". UIS Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Haynes, Robert (November 17, 2009). "Comedian Retta brings glee to bear country". The Echo (University of Central Arkansas). 
  6. ^ Ory, Marie (March 15, 2001). "Laughter -- the medicine of life". The Nicholls Worth. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (November 5, 2009). "Parks and Recreation, "Ron and Tammy": Megan Mullally guests". The Star-Ledger (New Jersey On-Line). Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ Chaney, Jen (October 7, 2011). "What’s the connection between a Nobel Prize winner and ‘Parks and Recreation’?". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]