Marietta Sirleaf[2] (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. She currently stars as Barbara in Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

Early life

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.[3] 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.[4] Retta has said her stand-up material tends to be slightly embellished stories from her regular everyday life, family, and friends.[3][5] 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."

Comedy career

Retta has served as the opening act for such comedians as Shirley Hemphill and Bobby Collins.[4] She has made television appearances on E! Entertainment Television's The Soup,[5] Freddie, Moesha, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 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.[4]

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, due to the poor reviews it received during the first season.[5] 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.[8]

Retta also hosted the 3rd Critics' Choice Television Awards in 2013.[9] 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.[2]

In 2015 Retta was one of the audiobook narrators for Welcome to Night Vale, a novel tie-in to the podcast series by the same name.[8] The same year she appeared in season 2 of Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.[8]

Personal life

Retta's aunt is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current President of Liberia.[2]

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.



1998RingmasterAdditional voices
2003Dickie Roberts: Former Child StarSad Eye Sadie
2007FractureEvidence Room Cop
2007Sex and Death 101EthelCredited as Retta Sirleaf
2008First SundayRoberta
2014Sex EdSydney
2015Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road ChipParty planner


2005FreddieJoanEpisode: "Rich Man, Poor Girl"
2006RodneyTanya EvansEpisode: "When Rodney Comes Marching Home"
2008It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaHardware Store ClerkEpisode: "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition"
2009–15Parks and RecreationDonna Meagle120 episodes
2009Jimmy Kimmel Live!HecklerEpisode: "#7.46"
2014Kroll ShowTSA #1Episode: "Krolling Around with Nick Klown"
2014Drunk HistorySylvia RobinsonEpisode: "American Music"
2014Key & PeeleThe WomanEpisode: "Sex Addict Wendell"
2015–Girlfriends' Guide to DivorceBarbaraRecurring (season 2), regular (season 3)[2]
2015Kroll ShowLaraEpisode: "Body Bouncers"