Retta: ‘I cry at everything. Hallmark commercials will take me out’

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Retta is on Good Girls on NBC and I know her from Parks and Rec, which just had a reunion at Paleyfest almost ten years after it first aired. Those are the photos of Retta in the pink dress, which has the words “Treat Yo Self” on it in script! That’s a reference to an episode in the fourth season where her character, Donna, and Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom, have a yearly “Treat Yo Self” day where they get spa treatments and go shopping. (I’ve seen a lot of Parks and Rec but I hadn’t seen that one and I watched it for this story! It was so cute.) She’s 48, which I mention because she said she’s “at an age” where everything makes her cry. I thought she was in her late 30s and am surprised. Retta was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, where she also talked about meeting Rob Lowe for the first time when he started working with her on Parks and Rec. He was one of her childhood crushes and he told her that women tell him that a lot. She said she first appeared on television doing standup on the Jenny Jones show. I remember that show.

On her first day meeting her high school crush, Rob Lowe
Our [director of photography] loved me. I was on a show with some of the whitest people in the industry. So when you shoot together if you light her you can’t see me [and vice versa] so he would light me special for all our scenes. The first day that Rob worked he [was] like ‘Do you have your own lighting?’ I was like ‘Sure do.’

In high school I used to sketch cute boys in magazines. Rob was one of the cute boys I had sketched and he was on my wall. [I told him] and he looked at me like ‘you’re not the first.’

Her first time doing standup on TV was on Jenny Jones
My dad was like cool for a week at the barbershop because his daughter was on Jenny Jones. I was like ‘Your barber watches Jenny Jones?’

On crying at everything
I’m at an age where I cry at everything. Hallmark commercials will take me out. When you cry yourself to sleep it’s easy to bring it back up. When I had the first meeting with our creator and director I was like ‘I got this.’ The first day I had to shoot a crying scene it wasn’t coming. I went and chugged a bottle of water. I was dehydrated and that was it.

[From Jimmy Kimmel Live]

I didn’t realize that people of color needed to be lit differently on sets. There are surely so many things like that to which white people are oblivious. Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted recently that she almost always had to do her own hair and base makeup for shows because the hairstylists and makeup artists don’t know how to do black hair and don’t have the right shade of foundation for her.

As for crying at everything, I’m especially like that at this age but I’ve always been like that. I cry at sappy commercials, I cry when anyone cries on screen, and I most recently cried at this freaking tweet about a dog who loved tennis balls. That’s wild that you can’t cry as much if you’re dehydrated. It makes sense, but it never would have occurred to me.

Here’s the interview!

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photos credit: WENN

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21 Responses to “Retta: ‘I cry at everything. Hallmark commercials will take me out’”

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  1. runcmc says:

    I was prepared to be like “you cried at a tweet?” but I clicked that link and now I’m crying. I love dogs so much.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Right? I thought that would be impossible too but that tweet gets you.

      • Phat girl says:

        Really, REALLY!!! I did not need that doggie tweet right now! Boss man’s here today and now I have mascara smeared on my face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One second I’m laughing at my new favorite chick telling Rob Slow “Yep sure do!” and now I’m crying like my nanna died. DAMNIT!

  2. Lucy2 says:

    I love it so much thathat she wore a Treat Yo Self dress! That was one of my favorite episodes.

    • Ifeoma says:

      That episode honestly changed my life, I’m not exaggerating. Lol. I started taking myself out on dates and generally just listening more to myself and treating myself. I miss Parks and Rec.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Aw, that’s great! I miss it too, it was truly one of the most heartfelt and optimistic comedies ever.

    • Adam Scott crying in the Batman suit. <3

      I love Retta. Everyone on that show was amazing, and I wanted to be their friend. Except Chris Pratt. I like his characters, though. :(

  3. Riemc526 says:

    Good Girls is my fave show right now. I’m at the end of my 1st trimester and I force myself to stay awake on Sunday nights just to watch it. Retta is such a great actress! And Manny Montana’s character, Rio… *swoon*

  4. launicaangelina says:

    She was perfect in Parks and Rec. I need to catch her new show.

    There’s definitely a lighting/photo/film issue for people with darker skin tones. I’ve read a few articles online about how certain film types were not created with darker skin tones in mind. When I was a kid and teen, my skin was darker and I always noticed I looked off, especially when compared to my mom and sister, both of whom are quite light-skinned.

    • Slowsnow says:

      This just goes to show that black/brown people were not considered for film or TV or photos even…It’s mot that there is a lighting “problem” but that film was created for white skin maybe? I dn’t have the technical knowledge to back this up but…

  5. Case says:

    I’m not someone who cries about real life, serious issues very often (I tend to internalize) but that just means that my emotional outlet is everything else — movies, music, TV shows. It’s not hard for me to get emotional over a cute commercial either.

  6. elimaeby says:

    I just had to come here to honk for more Retta! I absolutely adore her. I don’t even really like Good Girls, but I watch it when it’s on at the gym just for her because she’s an absolute gem.

  7. Yawn says:

    I learned about the lighting issue from Oprah about 20 years ago. They won Emmys for their lighting I think. It was a great lesson for me to learn, both to enable me not to be oblivious, but also because I am pale af and suddenly realized why I looked so awful on camera. I am the palest person I know, just super super white, and I have never gone more than a few days without people commenting on my skin color. “Nude” as a color definitely doesn’t work for me. Bandaids are really ghastly. People don’t know how to do my hair (really really fine and thin), so even professional stylists make me look bald. I can so relate to so many specific things, I don’t know the kind of mental gymnastics I would have to play in order to not realize how much worse all these things are for an entire population of people, especially since they are inherently linked to “value” of a person.

    I have a mega crush on Retta. She is hands-down the reason I still watch Parks and Rec (Amy Poehler is not my favorite person), and every time I see her in stuff I get excited af. She lools so unbearably beautiful in that pink dress! I want to twirl her, or twirl around her like a little minion.

    • Slowsnow says:

      I also have a crush on Retta. She is beautiful and has such a magnetic presence
      Also: great actress.
      Why don’t you like Poehler?

    • Sankay says:

      Came here to say the same. Learned about TV/movie lighting from Oprah.

  8. CC says:

    I’ve met her at a bar once as we share a mutual friend. She’s quite the B. Rude and condescending.

  9. ravynrobyn says:

    Awwww, that hurts my heart 💔. I’ve head Tina’s pretty awful too.

  10. hkk says:

    The lighting thing is an issue. Do you know how many ids I’ve seen where you cannot see the person at all? Because they are black and the photo setup is for white people. licenses, passports, it is terrible.

  11. Nina says:

    Loved her in Parks & Rec, loving her even more in Good Girls now, that show is brilliant!