Julia Sweeney creates comedic works that tackle deep issues: cancer, family, faith.

Why you should listen

Julia Sweeney is a writer, director, actress, comedian and monologist. She is known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995, where she created and popularized the androgynous character, Pat. She is also well known for her comedic and dramatic monologues. God Said Ha! is a monologue about serious illness, her brother's lymphoma and her own cancer, and her family's crazy reactions to this crisis as they soldiered their way through struggle, confusion and death. This play was performed all over the U.S. and on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater. It was made into a film produced by Quentin Tarantino, and the comedy album from the show was nominated for a Grammy.

Sweeney's second monologue, In the Family Way, played in theatrical runs in New York and Los Angeles. It was ultimately fashioned into a book, a memoir titled If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. Sweeney's third monologue, Letting Go of God, chronicled her journey from Catholicism to atheism. It was made into a film that played on Showtime.

What others say

“Without breaking her affably conversational tone, in "Letting Go of God," she inhabits the emotional memory of each step on her path.” — New York Times

Julia Sweeney’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Julia Sweeney

Live from TED

In case you missed it: Day 5 of TED2014

March 22, 2014

This year’s packed conference came to a close on March 21, 2014: Day 5 at TED2014. Here are some highlights from this Friday: Mark Ronson ruled the dance floor On Thursday night, Mark Ronson DJ’d for TEDsters. Bent over the mixing board under a neon green TED sign, he tied all the music back to […]

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Live from TED

As told to Aunt Bonnie: Julia Sweeney wraps up TED2014

March 21, 2014

In a naked grab for the new TED/XPRIZE, Julia Sweeney has spent the last day and a half building an AI. It rolls onstage to give a convincing simulacrum of a TED Talk — until Sweeney herself runs out from backstage to chastise the rogue intelligence. She’s actually here to wrap up TED2014, in her […]

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News

A Ripple Effect: Speakers in Session 12 of TED2013

March 1, 2013

TED2013 has come to an end. Here, the final session — about the doers and givers who never stop spreading their ideas. In session 12, these speakers shared their bold words and even bolder actions. And it all built to a riveting finale. Here, the speakers who appeared in this session. Click on their name […]

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