Comedian Julia Sweeney isn't a slave to punch lines. As introspective as she is funny, her humor mines the (sometimes excruciating) issues in her own life: her philosophical shift towards atheism, the adoption of her daughter from China, her brother's terminal cancer and her own cancer diagnosis. Though not usually big laugh-getters, audiences and critics have responded to her fine-tuned, intelligent and very funny monologues.
The first, "God Said Ha!" detailed her family's experience with cancer. It moved to Broadway after its successful run in clubs. Its CD won a 1996 New York Comedy Festival Audience award. "In the Family Way," her second, recounted the adoption of Sweeney's daughter. It was released on CD and performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And "Letting Go of God," her third autobiographical show, became a film that debuted at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival.
And there was Pat, the androgynous, humorous, unsettling character she played during her four years, 1990-1994, in the cast of "Saturday Night Live." A loveable if confounding alter-ego, Pat brought Sweeney wide-spread kudos for her offbeat, comedic vision. Film and TV roles followed, including ones in "Pulp Fiction" and "Stuart Little."
This talented, straight-shooting, soul-searching comedian has crafted a new kind of performance, a show with her friend Jill Sobule, the singer-songwriter of the 1995 single "I Kissed a Girl." Sweeney writes on her blog, "Jill Sobule and I have been working for a few years now doing a show together. I tell about 10 to 14 stories in our show. (She sings songs, I tell stories) We have worked hard to make the show work dramatically and musically. I think we’ve succeeded. In fact, I think our show is at least as good as any other show I’ve done, maybe better. I’m glad I tell all those stories in our show." After its run, she says, "I plan to hang up my mouth."
Before she silences herself, catch Sweeney and Sobule at Fairfield Theatre Company on July 15 at 7:30 p.m. Their show is bound to be deeply funny.