Best known for her creepily androgynous character Pat, actress-comedienne Julia Sweeney was born in Spokane, Washington; she first entered show business not as a performer but as an accountant, working at the Los Angeles offices of Columbia Studios for over five years. After deciding to pursue a career as an actress, Sweeney began taking classes at the famed Groundlings Theater, where she counted among her classmates future Friends star Lisa Kudrow. After honing her improvisational and sketch-writing skills, Sweeney was tapped to join Saturday Night Live in 1990.
While a cast member, her character Pat became an instant audience favorite, and in 1994, after exiting the program, she starred in the feature film It's Pat. Following the movie's release, however, Sweeney's life turned upside down: she divorced her husband, and then, after nursing her brother Mike through a losing bout with lymphoma, she herself fell ill to cervical cancer. Three days after Mike's death, Sweeney went into the hospital for a hysterectomy; while recovering, she began writing about her recent tragedies, and gradually the one-woman show God Said "Ha!" began to take shape. Acclaimed for its honesty, wit and insight into family life, the monologue debuted in San Francisco in 1995, and later graduated to the Broadway stage; a two-disc document of the performance was released in 1997.