'Ugliest House in America: Ugly in Paradise' on HGTV: How host Retta made her LA dreams come true
Standup comic and 'Parks and Recreation' actress Retta is traveling once more, this time to find ugly mansions in paradise
Anyone who enjoys seeing a satisfying home should tune in to HGTV. That being said, Retta, an American comedian, and actress will unveil a new season of 'Ugliest House in America' in July. People enjoy beautiful homes, but they may also enjoy ugly ones because, oh, the possibilities.
Retta has become a household name thanks to network sitcoms such as 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Good Girls.' Anyone who hasn't seen her numerous funny TV or movie performances will recognize her as the @UnfoRETTAble on Twitter, where she frequently live-tweets all of her favorite shows, much to the joy of the Internet. Many people recognize Retta, but others may be unaware of her journey to become an A-list celebrity.
How did TV comedies save Retta?
Retta is the main host of 'America's Ugliest House.' Her real name is Marietta Sangai Sirleaf and she is most known for her stand-up comedy and her role as Donna Meagle on 'Parks and Recreation.' She has also been on discussion shows like 'Celebrity Page,' 'Today,' 'Late Night with Seth Meyers,' and 'The Talk.' Retta's Instagram handle is @unforettable, and she has 736k followers.
Marietta Sangai Sirleaf was born on April 12, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. Her parents were Liberian immigrants who often had up to six family members living in their two-bedroom flat. Retta resorted to television for consolation throughout their financial difficulties. According to her interview with The Guardian, her parents were eventually able to relocate the family to a seven-bedroom property in Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, which provided a better home environment. According to AmoMama, she is also related to former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Despite her difficulties as a child, Retta seemed to have made the most of her high school years. She told the Guardian that she was highly engaged at school and that she was a member of the home-ec club, the wrestling team, cheerleading, mathematics club, and French club.
Retta has also had success outside of network television. She appeared in the 2019 feel-good film 'Good Boys,' as well as Bravo's 'Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce' series. She has been a well-respected figure in the standup scene since the late 1990s, long before she made it famous on the small screen.
How did Retta get her start in comedy?
Retta may have grown up watching comedy television, but she didn't start her career in the entertainment industry. She earned a sociology degree from Duke University in 1992. When Retta graduated from Duke, she had finished her pre-med prerequisites and was taking a year off to prepare for the MCAT exam to continue her medical studies. Retta may have excelled in chemistry in college, but she also had a natural sense of humor.
Retta studied for her medical school entrance tests while working as a scientist for Glaxo Pharmaceuticals in North Carolina after graduating from college. According to Vogue, she performed stand-up comedy at Raleigh's Goodnights Comedy Club from time to time. Retta considers herself to be a better actress as a result of her exposure to the "real world" outside of Hollywood.
It is ironic to consider that Retta's character from 'Good Girls' started out as a scientist before mastering her process of creating fake money in a home lab. But her life as she knew it was about to alter due to a radical choice she made because of her lifelong love of TV comedies.
How did Retta make her LA dreams come true?
Retta, like many others attempting to make it big, left her life in North Carolina to pursue her acting aspirations in Hollywood. On a whim, she packed her belongings and came to Los Angeles in 1996, with the approval of her parents. The new city necessitated a name change. She switched her name from Marietta to Retta on an open mic night because she was "lazy," she told Essence. The MC apparently had difficulties pronouncing her name while introducing her, so she changed it straight away. "Just Retta. It stuck with me ever since," she continued.
Retta worked hard to get attention in Los Angeles, finally joining the comedy touring circuit in 1998. Her breakthrough came in 1999 when she was named the first-ever winner of Comedy Central's Laugh Riots Stand-Up Competition, which allowed her to meet even more influential individuals. According to THR, she kept doing stand-up while still seeking cinematic employment on the side.
Retta told Essence that when she moved to Los Angeles in 1996, she planned to find a method to generate money from being on TV. The budding celebrity realized her acting ambitions when she made her debut on-screen appearance in a 1997 episode of 'Moesha.' However, as her comedy tours became more popular, she found it difficult to land Hollywood roles while on the road.
Retta made her big-screen debut a bit later, in the 2002 bawdy comedy 'Slackers,' in which she portrays an overtly irritated college office manager. According to IMDb, she had a few guest roles in programs including 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' and a recurring role on 2006's 'Deadly Hollywood Sins' TV series before landing her big break with 'Parks and Recreation.'
Retta is on the lookout for the ugliest of the ugly in the finest locales as the host of HGTV's 'Ugliest House in America: Ugly in Paradise,' which returns for a second season on July 24 at 8/7c.