Marietta Sangai Sirleaf, better known as Retta, is an American stand-up comedian and actress. She is best 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 stars as Ruby Hill in NBC's Good Girls.
After graduating from Duke, Retta worked as a chemist. In her spare time, she did stand-up at Charlie Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh, North Carolina. Eventually she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy. Retta started performing stand-up comedy in 1996, although she said she did not start "earning money" until 1998, when she began touring on the college circuit. Retta has said her stand-up material tends to be slightly embellished stories from her regular everyday life, family, and friends. 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."
Retta has served as the opening act for such comedians as Shirley Hemphill and Bobby Collins. She has made television appearances on Bravo's Welcome to the Parker, E! Entertainment Television's The Soup, Freddie, Moesha, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the "Comedy Divas Showcase" segment of The Jenny Jones Show.
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 the fictional town, Pawnee, Indiana. 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. Alan Sepinwall, a television columnist with The Star-Ledger, said season 2 episodes of Parks and Recreation afforded more personality and funnier jokes to Donna and other minor characters. 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, she appeared on Hollywood Game Night as a contestant along with the other celebrities Paget Brewster, Michael Chiklis, Mario Lopez, Thomas Lennon, and Alyssa Milano.
In 2015, Retta was one of the audiobook narrators for Welcome to Night Vale, a novel tie-in to the eponymous podcast series in which she is the voice of Old Woman Josie. The same year she appeared in season 2 of Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.
In 2018, Retta co-starred in the NBC series, Good Girls, opposite Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman.
In 2018, Retta published a series of essays in a book called So Close to Being the ShT, Y'all Don't Even Know*.