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Quick Wit: Maripat Donovan

The star of Late Nite Catechism talks a whole lot of nun-sense with Hoyt Hilsman. logo
Maripat Donovan was raised in a strict Irish Catholic household. She attended Catholic grammar school and high school in Chicago, and then a Catholic university (Loyola). In addition to working as a fry cook, phone operator and photo stylist, she has owned a construction company and a restaurant. After committing to a career in the theater, she won Joseph Jefferson awards in Chicago for her work in The Portrait of a Shiksa and The Good Times Are Killing Me. Donovan's other credits include Anna Christie, It's Only A Play, and Womandingo. In 1992, she formed a writing partnership with Vicki Quade; and, in 1993, the two wrote Late Nite Catechism, which premiered at the Live Bait Theatre in Chicago. The show now has productions in a number of other cities in the United States and abroad, including New York and Los Angeles; Donovan is currently alternating (with Second City veteran Jane Morris) as "Sister" in the L.A. company. I spoke with her recently to get a dose of nun-sense.
How is the comedy business going? I'm enjoying it very much. L.A.'s a good town for comedy, because people here like to laugh. They're easy-going, and they don't mind participating. It's perfect for interactive theater. What projects do have for the future? I think I'm going to be working on Late Nite Catechism for a long time. The show has legs! We've been running for eight years in Chicago, and we just opened in L.A., which is the largest Archdiocese in the country. I hope I'll be running here for about two years. When I'm done here, it's still my play, so I'll be opening it in different cities. I think I'm going to be the Late Nite Catechism person for the next 10 years or so. It's nice. I get health insurance. How many cities is the show playing in right now? Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Sidney, Melbourne. Who were some of your favorite comedians growing up? When I was a kid, I thought Jonathan Winters was the king. And Carol Burnett, Danny Kaye... How about contemporary comedians? I really like Lisa Kudrow. I would see her in anything. And Tracy Ullman is spectacular. Also Julie Kavner; she's the queen of it. Do you have a favorite quote? When I was younger, my friend had a needlepoint on her wall. It said, "Whatever it is, I'll take two." Okay, now I'll give you a series of words, and you free associate. What are we aiming for here? Humor, I guess. Oh, boy. That's an assignment! Here we go. Habit? Daily. Clinton? Baptist. Fear? Fearless. Catholic? Guilt. Internet? Porn. Traveling? Tired. Fog? Lifted. Career? Going along. Laughter? Medicine. Admire? Mary. George W. Bush? Devil. Al Gore? Potato.

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