There’s little not to love about Parks and Recreation star Retta. The actress and stand-up comedienne is beloved for her role as Donna Meagle on the NBC sitcom and her off-duty career as one of the snarkiest (and funniest) Twitter commentators ever. When she’s not confessing her love for Joe Manganiello, you’ll find her tweeting about her favorite TV shows — from Smash to True Blood — and even beefing with Octavia Spencer and Yvette Nicole Brown. Here are seven reasons we think you should know one of the funniest stars on network television.
She only goes by one name: Retta
“That was me just being lazy,” says the former opera singer and Duke University alum. “I remember doing stand-up at an open mic a long time ago and the MC was like ‘Who’s next?’ I said, Marietta Sirleaf and he was like ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘Ugh, okay, just Retta.’ It stuck with me ever since.”
She a prolific tweeter
Her Twitter timeline is full of witty and always entertaining, commentary on her favorite TV shows. Jezebel crowned her the Best TV Recapper on the Internet. “Twitter makes me feel like I have friends over,” says Retta. “I realize that if I talk about television someone will respond. I’ve always been co-dependent in that fashion, and Twitter has fed my sickness.”
She’s got a thing for vampires
“Funny enough I don’t like vampires,” says the actress who recently bought a collector’s edition of the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. “First of all, True Blood is pure comedy to me. There are some cute boys on it and it’s funny as ever. Lafayette (played by actor Nelsan Ellis) breathes life into my day. I only watched The Vampire Diaries because my friends who loves vampires was like, ‘Just watch it.’ I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to watch Gossip Girls with teeth.’ But I have to say the writers are doing a great job.”
She loves Joe Manganiello as much as we do
“He’s just so manly,” says Retta. “I’m a big girl so I want somebody that’s going to make me look a little bit smaller. I remember being at a party with him but couldn’t work up the nerve to say hello. So I thought, ‘you know what, I’ll just proclaim my love to Alcide (Manganiello’s character on True Blood) on Twitter.’ I loved that people made him aware of all my tweets. When he responded I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s my fake boyfriend,’ b****es.’
She recently got into a faux Twitter beef with Octavia Spencer and Yvette Nicole Brown over the hunky True Blood star.
“I feel like Yvette is still holding on to something,” jokes Retta. “Octavia has given in. She’s willing to laugh about how much I love [Joe]. Yvette on the other hand, is like, ‘He’s not yours.’”
She’s a lot like her Parks and Recreation character Donna
I have a lot of Donna in me in that I take on a lot of my own idiosyncrasies much like she does. The writers on Parks and Rec though, decide what’s going to happen to her. We get to know the writers and they see your personality and sprinkle it on your character. Donna recently got her own Twitter account.
She’s always known she was funny
“I was always silly in high school,” says Retta. “I used to always get in trouble because I was laughing. I’ve always thought I was funny but never thought I could use it to make money. In 1996 I decided I was going to use my humor to get on TV to make money. All the people I looked up to—Roseanne, Tim Allen, and Jerry Seinfeld—were stand-up comedians who used humor to get TV shows. I’m on TV now, and I’m working towards getting my own show.
Season five of Parks and Recreation premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.