Pat (Saturday Night Live)

Pat (Saturday Night Live)

Pat was an androgynous fictional character created and performed by Julia Sweeney for the American sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live", and later featured in the film "It's Pat". The central aspect of sketches featuring Pat was the inability of others to determine the character's sex.


Pat (whose full name was revealed on an episode of "Saturday Night Live" as Pat O'Neil Riley) was a somewhat overweight character with short, curly black hair who wore glasses and a blue western-style shirt with tan slacks. The character spoke in a nasally voice that sometimes squeaked. Pat apparently suffered from very sweaty palms, and constantly wiped them on his/her clothing while making a strange whimpering sound, further adding to the character's unappealing quality. Sweeney wore no makeup and colored her lips beige to further hide any sex identity clues.

The sketches always involved the celebrity guest hosts of the show playing everyday people who encounter Pat and then go to great lengths to discover Pat's true gender without being so rude as to actually ask (since Pat can be short for either "Patrick", a traditionally male name, or "Patricia", a traditionally female name). Pat remained completely oblivious, endlessly frustrating the questioners with answers that leave the character's sex vague. The character often made statements that seemed to reveal a sex, only to then immediately confuse things again. (A typical example might be, "Sorry if I'm a little grumpy, I have really bad cramps... I rode my bike over here, and my calf muscles are KILLING me!") In another sketch, Pat tells Kevin Nealon that his/her name is Pat Riley, same as the coach of the Lakers, "except there's a big difference between him and me. I'm not the coach of a professional basketball team." Other gags included Pat's attempts at humor, which served to confuse everyone further, such as when asked what Pat is short for, the character would reply, Pat is short for "P-a-a-a-a-a-t!", or when asked in an application for sex, Pat responded "Please!". Another joke was when Pat was asked the full name, to which the character responded that Pat almost never referred to the character's self by the middle name, as it was embarrassing, to which an eager audience was filled in that it was "O'Neill", again continuing the joke. (Although this would reveal that Pat is clearly of Irish heritage).

The character was popular enough to spawn a feature length 1994 film called "It's Pat" (from the lyrics of the character's theme song on "Saturday Night Live"). In the film, Pat meets Chris, another sexually ambiguous character played by Dave Foley. (On SNL, Chris had been played by Dana Carvey.) They quickly fall in love and propose to each other at the exact same time. Before the wedding, however, Chris breaks up with Pat on account of Pat's arrogance and the fact that Pat cannot decide on a direction in life. Meanwhile, Pat has become an object of obsession of a neighbor (Charles Rocket), who is so determined to discover Pat's sex that he goes insane. Pat also has a brief rock music career in the film and plays with the band Ween. After the band hired Pat for a cameo appearance, he/she built it up and started looking at it from an unrealistic point of view (in which Pat thought he/she was going to become an overnight celebrity), which had a hand in the breaking up of Pat and Chris. The film was a critical and commercial bomb.

Sweeney also helped co-author a book to coincide with the film's release, entitled "It's Pat!: My Life Exposed". Pat makes it through the entire 96 page book without revealing his/her true sex.

Pat's gender

Sweeney recently admitted that Pat is probably a woman. This admission stems from a sketch with Harvey Keitel in which their two characters, both of dubious sexual provenance, share a kiss. (Although it is obvious that Keitel, playing a shipwrecked sailor, is masculine, as he writes in his journal "I miss the intimacy of a woman, or male bonding.") Sweeney reflexively tilted her head to receive the kiss in the stereotypically feminine fashion, a move that was not noticed at the time but was brought to her attention a couple of years later. Sweeney says she normally paid close attention to such details in her performances as Pat and was disappointed that she had made this mistake. Although a slip of acting does not necessarily define Pat's sex, Sweeney nevertheless accepted that she has defined Pat as a woman.

In the "SNL" episode starring Linda Hamilton, 16 November 1991, a few people are able to learn the truth about Pat's sex. In a sketch set at a gymnasium, the showers there are separated by sex, forcing Pat to choose one or the other; when Pat does, Hamilton and the other characters in the sketch learn Pat's sex. However, the audience is still left wondering, because while the characters in the sketch were learning the truth, SNL cut to Nealon, from the "Weekend Update" desk, announcing the results of the Louisiana gubernatorial election between David Duke and Edwin Edwards. In the final Pat sketch to air on television, Keitel asks Pat directly what Pat's sex is. Just as Pat is about to reveal the truth, an audience member (played by Adam Sandler) suddenly stands up and screams at Pat not to tell, declaring that NBC will be bereft of comedy if Pat told, along with the departure of "Cheers" and David Letterman. Pat reluctantly agrees to this, and the question goes unanswered.

ee also

* Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saturday Night Live TV show sketches — Saturday Night Live has long mocked the television medium with many fake commercials and parodies of TV shows themselves. Another of the show s frequently used styles of recurring sketches has been the talk show format (eg. The Brian Fellowes… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live (season 23) — Saturday Night Live Season 23 The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 23rd season. Country of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live — For the competing sketch comedy on ABC, see Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. SNL redirects here. For other uses, see SNL (disambiguation). Saturday Night Live The Saturday Night Live inter title season 37 Also known as …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live — Para otros usos de este término, véase SNL (desambiguación). Saturday Night Live [[Archivo:Logotipo de Saturday Night Live|250px]] Título NBC s Saturday Night (1975–1977) Saturday Night Live 80 (1980) Saturday Night Live (1977 presente) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Saturday Night Live TV show sketches of the 1980s — Since the beginning of Saturday Night Live, the show has been something of an anti television show, turning the medium on its head with endless fake commercials and parodies of TV shows themselves. The most common style of their recurring… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live — Pour les articles homonymes, voir SNL. Saturday Night Live Autre titre francophone NBC s Sa …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Saturday Night Live TV show sketches of the 2000s — Since the beginning of Saturday Night Live, the show has been something of an anti television show, turning the medium on its head with endless fake commercials and parodies of TV shows themselves. The most common style of their recurring… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live characters appearing on Weekend Update — Weekend Update has been a platform for Saturday Night Live characters to grow and gain popularity ever since Gilda Radner used it to create Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna. Many cast members have used Update as the primary vehicle for a… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live animal sketches — The Falconer redirects here. For the John Cheever novel, see Falconer (novel). This list includes write ups for animal themed recurring sketches that appeared on Saturday Night Live. The sketches are listed chronologically. Character lists:… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturday Night Live cast members — The following is a list of Saturday Night Live cast members, past and present. The cast members of Saturday Night Live are often referred to as the Not Ready For Prime Time Players . A photo of the original cast of SNL. From left to right:… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”