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

Why you should listen

After taking improv classes with The Groundlings, comedian Julia Sweeney became a household name for her work on Saturday Night Live, particularly for her creation of the androgynous character Pat (later the basis of her 1994 movie, It's Pat). Sweeney has written four one-person shows, each diving into personal experiences, including processing her and her brother's joint cancer diagnoses (God Said Ha!), divorcing from her Irish Catholic faith (Letting Go of God) and adopting a child as a single parent (In the Family Way). Her latest show, Older & Wider, was filmed in 2022.

Sweeney's acting and voice credits include the TV series Maybe It's Me, Shrill, Father of the Pride and Work in Progress, as well as appearances in According to Jim, Frasier and Sex and the City. She's acted in several films, including Pulp Fiction, Clockstoppers, Monsters University and the Beethoven and Stuart Little franchises. Her book, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother, is a collection of essays on her life and experiences as a mom.

Julia Sweeney’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Julia Sweeney

Live from TED2023

The dots finally connect: Notes on Session 12 of TED2023

April 21, 2023

After a jam-packed week of ideas, connection and wonder, the remarkable closing session of TED2023 connected the dots, with deep thinking on purpose and the power of self-belief as well as some much-needed challenges to conventional wisdom. The event: Talks from Session 12 of TED2023: Possibility, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson, Helen Walters and Whitney […]

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Live from TED2017

The future us: The talks of Session 11 of TED2017

April 28, 2017

In the final session of TED2017, we look ahead to the future we’ll build together. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 11, in chronological order. A design renaissance for our apps. “There’s a hidden goal driving all of our technology, and that goal is the race for our attention.” says Tristan Harris. He would know; he […]

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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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