Once upon a time there was Rosanne Rosanna-Dana. Then there was the Church Lady. More recently there was Rich, the annoying guy who hangs out near the copying machine. Now the latest Saturday Night Live character to cause a lot of buzz is Pat, the unsettlingly androgynous office worker played by Julia Sweeney. When Pat makes his/her season debut which is scheduled for Oct. 12, if SNL's writers can come up with a decent skit viewers won't gain any further insight into the character's gender. Pat first turned up on the show last season, and whether buying razors or introducing a long-haired, equally androgynous friend named Chris, the whiny-voiced geek has never revealed his/her true colors.
''Pat is a compilation of people I met when I was an accountant,'' says Sweeney, 30. ''I worked with a few people who were creepy like that.'' So, evidently, have others; Pat has struck a universal chord with those who labor alongside sexless dorks. ''With these people,'' says Sweeney, who joined the show last season, ''you really are always wondering, what is their family life like? And how did they get this age and think that drooling all the time was socially acceptable?''