On Twitter, she’s @unfoRETTAble, but last night, Retta’s Penn appearance was unforgettable.
Most people in the audience at the Penn Museum’s Harrison Auditorium know the comedienne for her work on NBC’s comedy “Parks and Recreation,” where she plays Donna Meagle, the live-tweetin’, self-treatin’ one-liner queen.
But Retta appeared as herself last night, and without the constraints of network television, language censorship or others writing for her, the actress was on her A-game. Raunchy and expressive, it was no wonder the Duke alumna, once pre-med, stuck with the comedy path after experimenting with standup after graduation.
Retta took the stage after a Penn student opened for her. No comment, but let’s just say the headliner overshadowed him, and forgetting that set is no great loss. Retta opened with hilarious — and clearly spur of the moment — commentary on the “green room” SPEC placed her in before the show: the Penn Museum’s Africa Room.
Retta, an infamous TV live-tweeter and hashtag-coiner — like her character Donna — used the social media platform in the show. While backstage, she tweeted a selfie in the Africa Room with the hashtag #ABitOnTheNosePenn. Touché.
Later in the show, she had students in the audience tweet #RettasInTheAfricaRoom from their phones, selecting a “winner” at random to get an autographed pair of sneakers she wore on the set of “Parks and Recreation.” The winner, of course, asked her to write “Treat Yo’Self.” Retta obliged after making fun of her obvious request.
Retta’s standup ran the gamut, but the laughs never stopped — whether she was recalling a longtime friendship ended when she learned her friend’s wedding would not have an open bar, or noting the only time she’s not sitting in the gym is when she’s “taking the elevator up.”
She even said her mother once taught her Latino boyfriend that he couldn’t go out in the sun (Punchline: Her mother confused Latino with albino.).
The star rounded out her appearance with an audience Q&A, a highlight of which was her rant about people tweeting spoilers, most recently about Sunday night’s “The Good Wife.” Additionally, this article’s author was lucky enough to “clear the air” with Retta after a sassy “Girls”-themed Twitter interaction. We tight now.
Lastly, a note to “Parks and Rec” writers: Donna can sing! We expect a “Circle of Life” rendition next season.