The ''Saturday Night Live'' actress talks about her showbiz roots in comedy and accounting

By Tim Appelo
Updated February 08, 1991 at 12:00 PM EST
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type
  • TV Show
network
  • NBC
genre

That long-running boys’ club, Saturday Night Live, recently brought in its first new female cast member in four years: Julia Sweeney, who also happens to be the first accountant since Bob Newhart to make it big as a TV comic. Sweeney, 29, says that in 1985, while she was breaking in with the Groundlings, the fertile L.A. acting troupe that produced Laraine Newman, Jon Lovitz, and Pee-wee Herman, ”I worked in accounting at Columbia Pictures. I also helped figure out profit participation on Rain Man, so people would say, ‘Oh, you’re in the creative end of the business.”’ Comedy kept her from losing her button-down mind, and her day job fed her art. When Paul Simon hosted SNL, she wrote them a skit lampooning office-party adultery; her most notorious role is Pat, a boss of weirdly indeterminate sex who perfectly embodies the surrealism of the corporate world. The role closest to Sweeney’s heart, however, is Mea Culpa, the ultimate Catholic-school refugee. Meticulous, deferential, it’s a persona not unlike Newhart’s, and it has come close to inspiring a feature film and a TV pilot of its own. ”I love comedy, and I feel so welcome [on SNL] it’s almost scary,” Sweeney says, ”but on a day-to-day level, it’s more satisfying to be an accountant.”

Episode Recaps

Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 46
rating
  • TV-14
genre
airs
  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
creator
  • Lorne Michaels
network
  • NBC
stream service

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