Melissa Peterman can be seen on the hit comedy Reba as the impossibly perky, yet always loveable Barbra Jean, who is married to Reba’s ex-husband.
Peterman hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from Minnesota State University with theater as one of her majors, she was cast as Madeline Monroe in Hey City Theater’s production of Tony & Tina’s Wedding. After more than 600 performances, she went on to work as a writer and performer at the improvisational comedy theater The Brave New Workshop, which boasts such alumni as Louie Anderson, Peter Tolan and Al Franken. While with the Brave New Workshop, she also performed at the Chicago Improv Festival and the Big Stink Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas.
Peterman made her film debut as Hooker #2 in the Coen brothers’ Oscar®-winning movie Fargo. She has also appeared in the comedies Recipe For Disaster and How High with Fred Willard, Hector Elizondo, Spalding Gray and Method Man. Peterman remains loyal to her comic roots as the host of 15 Minutes of Fem, a comedy showcase for women presented at the Egyptian Theatre. She continues to write her own material and has a one-woman show in the works.
On television, she appeared in the Oxygen sketch comedy show Running with Scissors and guest-starred on Just Shoot Me and The Pitts. Peterman also appeared in a celebrity edition of Trading Spaces, alongside her Reba husband, Christopher Rich.
During a summer hiatus from Reba Peterman co-wrote and starred in the Los Angeles theater production Portraits: Women Up Against a Wall, co-written by and co-starring Mo Collins and Cheryl Hawker. Peterman describes the play’s characters – the Virgin Mary, Venus De Milo and a Rubens painting come to life -- as “one’s never been touched, one can’t touch herself and the other can’t touch carbs.” She also hosted The Sound of Music Sing-A-Long at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.