Retta is a strong. Whether if she is tweeting or performing, this stand-up gets laughs. She is smart and knows how to engage her audience. She began simple and has reached greatness. This is something only a true game changer can do.
Marietta Sirleaf is her given name. Her parents are immigrants from Liberia. She is actually related to Liberia’s first female president. Perhaps this is proof that greatness runs in her blood. Sirleaf was born in New Jersey and was an honor student. She went onto Duke University to study pre-med. Before going straight into med school, she took a year off to work in pharmaceuticals. During this time, she realized her real dreams. She wanted her own sitcom.
Influenced by Roseanne, Tim Allen, and Jerry Seinfeld, Sirleaf knew stand-up was a way to get there. In 1996, she began her comedy endeavors at the club Charlie Goodnights in Raleigh, North Carolina. She adopted the name “Retta” after a comic at an open mic struggled with pronouncing her name. Once she built some success, she moved to Los Angeles, and she started doing open mics again. Soon, she was touring on the college circuit with the National Association for Campus Activities and was nominated for female comedian of the year by Campus Activities Magazine. Retta competed in the first of Comedy Central’s Laugh Riots. She won which led to a Just For Laughs Showcase. This opened the door to a development deal with ABC/Disney.
While the comic has yet to star in her very own sitcom, she has garnered many fans from her role as Donna on Parks and Recreation. Like Donna, her stand-up is about frank takes on her environment. In one bit, she calls out her friend who feeds fried chicken to her pet bird. She calls out men who claim to have high libidos, pointing out lions have a high libidos. She also uses her resources.
Retta riffs on the small soap bar from her hotel. She pulls out the soap so the audience can see. The tininess of the bar next to the stand-up’s curvaceous full body is comical. Similarly, she does this in a bit about dating a skinny boyfriend, and only in this time, she uses the mic stand to create a humorous visual of the size differences. Another talent of Retta’s is that she has quite the pipes, and she uses them well. In a routine where a couple old folks think she is listening to rap due to the heavy bass from her car, she mimes rolling down power windows, and Retta belts out top notch opera singing. It’s apparent she likes to play on stereotypes, and she creatively gets the message across.
Her skill-set of making others laugh is not only on stage or TV. She has a widely acclaimed Twitter account. She is known to tweet out things like, “My local car wash has new owners. It’s organized & now has wifi so naturally I think they’re laundering 4 a meth operation. #BreakingBadLA.” She is especially known to live tweet her favorite tv shows. On watching Girls, “How MANY times am I gonna have to see Hannah pee in this episode? #GIRLS.” In 2012, she got into an epic twitter feud with Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown, and The Help‘s Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. The three were all pining for True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello. Truly, this gal has got a strong Twitter game.
She is blunt and sometimes snarky, but she is also relatable and tactful. This is a comedian whose life was on the road to a PhD. She has the potential to do so just about anything, yet she choses to do comedy. That is because she is funny. Retta is a game changer.