Julia Sweeney appeared Feb. 5 in a chat with Playbill On-Line members, talking about her latest theatre project "God Said, 'Ha!'" and other interesting subjects. Folks will remember Sweeney from her "Saturday Night Live" days, where she was best known for her beloved androgynous character, Pat, later brought to the big screen in a film. Following is the edited transcript of the chat.
Playbill On-Line: Julia Sweeney launched her show business career with the Groundlings improv troupe in 1986. In 1990, she joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," and stayed for four seasons.
Sweeney has made the transition from "SNL" to a broad range of projects. She had a role in "Pulp Fiction," starred in her own movie, "It's Pat," has made numerous other stage, film and TV appearances and is in the process of writing a pilot for the Fox network.
She makes her theatre debut in a new solo performance written and performed by Sweeney herself titled "God Said, 'Ha!" Sweeney is a master storyteller who takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride of her past year examining family, career, love and death.
In "God Said, 'Ha!'," Julia finds her new-found independence obliterated when three family members descend on her tiny, little house and stay for nine months. In 1994, just after the completion of Julia's last season on "Saturday Night Live," she learned that her brother Mike had lymphoma. Mike soon moved into her Hollywood bungalow. A few weeks later her parents, naturally distraught, arrived with ten suitcases. The problems escalated as did the comedy until matters took on a surreal tone."God Said, 'Ha!" is showing through Feb. 25 at the Magic Theatre (Building D, Third Floor, fort Mason, San Francisco). For ticket information, call 415-441-8822.
Julia Sweeney: Well, Katia, I guess it's just you and me.
Playbill On-Line: Nope, there are plenty of people with questions here. I'm going to screen them for ya. Ready for the first one?
Julia Sweeney: Oh, Okay. Well, I'm ready. You don't have to screen them, unless they are asking if Pat is a man or a woman. I'm ready!
Playbill On-Line: Gotcha. This first Q comes from Xtroyer
Question: Hello Julia! How are you tonight? I loved the "It's Pat!" movie and your cameo in "Pulp Fiction" was great too!
Julia Sweeney: Oh thanks! The "Pulp Fiction" cameo only took a moment, but I was proud to be in it. Oh yeah, my whole scene will be on the laser disc version
Playbill On-Line: This Q comes from CBrad5121
Question: Julia, what was it like to work with Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey, ya'll are my favorites. Loved the movie "Pat."
Julia Sweeney: Oh! I'm so happy to hear that. I loved it too, and I had such a great time making it. They are really cool and funny and smart and I was/am lucky to know/work with them.
Playbill On-Line: This is from Littewon
Question: How did you land that spot in "Pulp Fiction?"
Julia Sweeney: Well, I admit, I am a friend of Quentin [Tarantino]'s and he wrote that part for me.
Playbill On-Line: Connections that's the key huh? Dolfinsye wants to tell you...
Question: Julia, I miss you on SNL!
Julia Sweeney: Oh! That's nice. But I'm happy to be done. I am glad my friend Cheri Oteri's on, however. She's having a great time.
Playbill On-Line: This q comes from RHeusinge
Question: When will "God Said Ha" play in NY
Julia Sweeney: Oh, you darling! I'm not sure. Perhaps in the fall, it all depends on if my pilot gets picked up for a series at Fox.
Playbill On-Line: Speaking of "God Said Ha!" This comes from CParker57
Question: Julia, I saw the show in SF--it was wonderful, warm and smart. I can't help but wonder where you got such an inspired name for the show--RP, Richardson
Julia Sweeney: I was inspired by the card sent to me by a good friend of mine in Texas. It captured exactly how I was feeling about the whole experience that I decided to take it as the name for my show. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Playbill On-Line: This Q comes from CBrad
Question: What was your last skit on SNL?
Julia Sweeney: Wow. I can't really remember? I remember the last party, though.
Playbill On-Line: Xtroyer1's Q
Question: Julia! I loved the "It's Pat" movie!!! And your cameo in "Pulp Fiction" was great! I love all of your characters. You're the best!!!! =) Will you be doing any more films in the near future???
Julia Sweeney: I don't know. Right now I'm concentrating on doing this monologue and the pilot for Fox. But I did do a small part in "Stuart Smalley Saves His Family."
Playbill On-Line: Hey, Julia, can you tell us a little about the pilot. When will it be on?
Julia Sweeney: Well, I can't be sure it will ever be on. But, it's basically inspired by this last year's events in my life -- my brother getting sick, my parents moving in, etc. etc. But, of course, all told in a comic way.
Playbill On-Line: So it's basically like the play "God Said Ha!" This Q comes from JMS785
Question: How did you come up with the Pat character?
Julia Sweeney: Yes, that's true. Now, as for the Pat character. I was inspired to come up with it by several people I was working with as an accountant before I became an actress.
Playbill On-Line: Julia the dreaded question . . . This comes from GRHRoyal
Question: Is Pat really a boy or a girl?
Julia Sweeney: HAHAHAHAHAHA. There is no answer. I honestly don't know.
Playbill On-Line: A very deep question for you Julia.
Julia Sweeney: All righty
Playbill On-Line: From Mambo Sun
Question: Julia, if God is genderless and Pat is genderless, is Pat God?
Julia Sweeney: Ha! Well, I must admit. That is a possibility.
Playbill On-Line: From GRHRoyal
Question: Welcome Julia, my question is, what did you like most about "Pulp Fiction"?
Julia Sweeney: Well, besides the vulgarity and violence? Oh, the restaurants scenes! No, I liked the construction of it, the dialogue, the tone. Everything.
Playbill On-Line: Q from GenPrice
Question: Hey Julia, my friends and I enjoyed your stint on "SNL" but besides PAT who was your other favorite roles to play?
Julia Sweeney: I loved to play Chelsea Clinton, and Jane Pauley, and the old English lady on Mike Myer's Theatre Stories.
Playbill On-Line: Julia, many people are asking about Pat -- boy or girl. Should I tell them to give up?
Julia Sweeney: Oh, I'm sorry. It's just that there is no answer. I really, really don't know.
Playbill On-Line: Some folks don't believe it's you here. Give them some sort of proof.
Question: Can we get proof it's you (William Shatner E-mailed his picture)?
Julia Sweeney: Oh dear! I don't know how to prove it. Ahhhh . . . . How can I?
Playbill On-Line: Question from Bondzbk
Question: Julia, in my opinion you really are one of the funniest women in the biz. Are you going to perform your one-woman play on television in anyway or put it on video so those of us not in California can see it?
Julia Sweeney: Yes. I hope to film it in July. I will open it in LA until then. And I mean Los Angeles not Louisiana. Ha. So there.
Playbill On-Line: Xtroyer wants to know
Question: when does the laserdisc version come out???
Julia Sweeney: You mean, of "Pulp?"
Playbill On-Line: Of "Pulp Fiction" yes.
Julia Sweeney: Oh, well, I'm not sure. Sometime soon, I imagine. I guess that's not a good answer.
Playbill On-Line: From A Margo16, How's life on the stage that is
Question: How's life on Broadway compared to "SNL?"
Julia Sweeney: Well, I'm not exactly on Broadway, but I am onstage,
and let me tell you, it's great. I love it. I started at the Groundlings Theatre, and I feel most at home onstage in a live environment.
Playbill On-Line: From Detlef3
Question: How does someone get on "SNL"?
Julia Sweeney: Well I was performing at the Groundlings, and that theatre has been a source of talent for "SNL" for many years, from Lorraine Newman to Jon Lovitz, to Phil Hartman, and now even to Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell. So, that's how I got involved.
Playbill On-Line: From Grh
Question: How did you keep from laughing during "SNL?"
Julia Sweeney: It was hard. In fact, there were a couple of sketches where I did laugh. For example, on the first Chris Farley "Motivational Speaker" sketch, remember the one where he played the "man down by the river"??? Well, I was laughing the whole time on that sketch.
Playbill On-Line: From Alkaline
Question: I loved you on "SNL." Did you like Aerosmith when they were on? How were they?
Julia Sweeney: They were great. Steve Tyler was really nice. I even got a picture with him.
Playbill On-Line: Q from GRHRoyal
Julia Sweeney: P.S. Nobody plays guitar better than Joe Perry.
Question: Where is your home town?
Julia Sweeney: It's Spokane, Washington. I wonder if anyone on here is from there?????
Playbill On-Line: From YMachang
Question: What's it like working live without the cameras now? Is it more fun and free or what?
Julia Sweeney: It's great. It's nice to experiment in a theatre setting and not think that a camera is recording your every move. That can be infuriating.
Playbill On-Line: Was it hard for you to make the transition from TV to stage? Did you say hey I better make this good, there are no second takes?
¼p>Julia Sweeney: Not really. The Groundlings was the perfect training ground. That was live too. I always just pretended that the cameras were just a regular audience, some shows were better than others. It's just when the tape shows up later that it strikes you as strange.
Playbill On-Line: From Vandee
Question: Julia - I read in "Rolling Stone" last year that "SNL" was unfair to the females on the show . . . what's your stand on that?
Julia Sweeney: Well, it's true. I think women have a much harder time. But Cheri Oteri says that she's having a great time right now, so maybe things have gotten better. I hate to complain, because I had a wonderful time there (OVERALL) and it helped me immeasurably, but there were prices to pay all around, for everyone.
Playbill On-Line: Do you find yourself giving Cheri pointers, or critiquing her performances?
Julia Sweeney: Actually, I don't watch the show. I saw Cheri at the Groundlings, however, and I thought she was great. It's hard for me to watch, now.
Playbill On-Line: You're soooo busy!! Q for you from Michell37
Question: Julia - I think you are really funny, what was one of your favorite skits and/or characters that you did???
Julia Sweeney: My favorite sketch was with Alec Baldwin and he played a priest and I was a parishioner who was confessing my sins. I wrote it with Christine Zander and we had such a great time writing it and performing it. Alec was great. An all time high on the show.
Playbill On-Line: I remember that one. Funny stuff. This question comes from Rerunr
Question: Is it true you once toured with Ronald McDonald in Wisconsin?
Julia Sweeney: Hey you! What happened???? I have been waiting to hear from you!!! Okay, yes, it's true, I once toured in Wisconsin with Ronald
Playbill On-Line: From Angus2001
Question: Were you friends with Paul Reubens in THE GROUNDLINGS?
Julia Sweeney: No. I actually never met him. Phil is friends with him, though.
Playbill On-Line: From RussaImo
Question: Is it cool to be friends with Quentin?
Julia Sweeney: Hahahaha. Yeah . . . Last Monday we watched three "Invisible Man" movies back to back.
Playbill On-Line: Q From A Margo
Question: Quentin is THE MAN. Are you ever going to go into directing...you're certainly creative enough?
Julia Sweeney: Well, I don't have enough vision enough for that right now...
Playbill On-Line: From Lord Jad
Question: Julia-Hi, I was wondering how you are feeling . . . I heard that you were ill a while back...
Julia Sweeney: Oh yeah. I had a little cancer. But I had an operation, and radiation, and everything seems to be okay.
Playbill On-Line: From RockyLuve
Question: Hi Julia, I wanted to tell you that you are great, I have admired you for quite some time now. What advice would you give to a young actress?
Julia Sweeney: Really, really want it. It's awful hard. You have to have the desire beyond anyone's belief that you will succeed.
Playbill On-Line: From Mambo Sun
Question: Julia, did you use any alternative therapies (acupuncture, etc.) when you were fighting the cancer? Do you agree with the theory that laughter is a cure--the way hospitals are screening comedies for patients, etc.?
Julia Sweeney: Well, first, I do laugh a lot. So, maybe that does help. On the other hand, my brother Mike laughed a lot too, and that didn't heal him. But I did do a lot of "alternative" therapies like acupuncture and herb therapy. I think it did help.
Playbill On-Line: This comes from Katrona
Question: Did you create Pat on "SNL" or did Lorne Michaels create it and then present it to you???
Julia Sweeney: I was doing it at the Groundlings first, then I took it to "SNL."
Playbill On-Line: From A Margo
Question: Are you ever coming to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA w/ GOD SAID HA?
Julia Sweeney: Well, I think I will set my sights a little lower than THAT!!!! I am thinking of maybe the Tiffany in West Hollywood.
Playbill On-Line: From CBrad
Question: can you e-mail us a picture?
Julia Sweeney: I can't. But, I have heard from a friend that you can download a picture of me from the NBC files, (don't ask me how to do that) and I also have a picture in Cinemania.
Playbill On-Line: From NevExpres
Question: What are your favorite TV shows?
Julia Sweeney: "Frasier." "Seinfeld." The regular ones. Lisa Kudrow is a fellow Groundling on "Friends."
Playbill On-Line: Great taste
Playbill On-Line: From Detlef3
Question: I think you're great in "God Said 'Ha'!". How do they decide who becomes a member of "SNL?"
Julia Sweeney: Hey, thanks. Lorne decides.
Playbill On-Line: Soput asks...
Question: Julia, Could you at least say "Hi" to me?
Julia Sweeney: Hi there Soput.
Playbill On-Line: You made his day. Q From Jillry
Question: Julia, I saw your show last weekend and can't help but wonder what happened to the guy you met through your friend? I don't remember his name.
Julia Sweeney: Well, we're still together. It's great.
Julia Sweeney: By the way, I never told anyone, but I LOVE Fred Garvin!
Playbill On-Line: On that note, I think we have time for one more Question.
Playbill On-Line: This comes from Amyklipp2
Question: I love your work on "SNL," will you ever have a surprise visit on there?
Julia Sweeney: Well, I don't know. I was there to visit in December, but it may be a while before I venture on stage again, there.
Playbill On-Line: Actually, Julia can you answer this question also. I think it's a good one.
Question: Julia, after doing "Pulp Fiction," do you want to do serious movie roles?
Julia Sweeney: Yes. I do. I hope so, anyway. Thanks for even thinking that I could.
Julia Sweeney: Good Bye Everyone!!!!! Thanks for coming.
Playbill On-Line: Thank you Julia for coming to Center Stage!!!
Playbill On-Line: Perhaps you can tell us where to look out for you
Julia Sweeney: I'll be in San Francisco at the Magic Theatre until Feb. 25, and then opening in L.A. in May.
Playbill On-Line: Kool Deal! "God Said, 'Ha!'" now showing at the Magic Theatre (Building D, Third Floor, fort Mason, San Francisco). For ticket information, please call 415-441-8822. Julia, I hope you had fun. Well did ya?
Julia Sweeney: Yeah. I did!!!
Playbill On-Line: You were wonderful. Let's say good night.
Playbill On-Line: GOOD NIGHT!!
Julia Sweeney: Good night!!!!
Playbill On-Line: Thanks for stopping by folks. And remember Playbill is your premier theatre source!
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