When I spoke with Roseanne Barr from her home in Hawaii, she was about to embark on a short stand-up tour. It’s a try-out for what might become a much larger tour.
The cities where she’d chosen to perform are Raleigh, N.C.; Jim Thorpe, Pa.; Detroit; and Fort Wayne. Barr will make a stop at Memorial Coliseum on May 16.
Barr’s career started in stand-up, but it’s been a dozen years since she last took the stage. I asked her if she still enjoys stand-up as much as she used to.
“Ask me after my show,” she replied.
If these practice dates go well, Barr will launch a full tour.
“That or porn,” she said. “I’d like to get into geriatric porn.”
It is probably safe to write that Barr is a divisive figure these days. The woman who claimed in 2011 that her show Downwardly Mobile was dropped by NBC because of her progressive politics has morphed into a Donald Trump supporter who delights in (and gets in career-harming trouble for) taunting progressives.
If Barr hadn’t been fired a year ago from a successful reboot of classic ABC sitcom, she probably wouldn’t be doing this tour.
I asked her if she’d been able to find some peace in the aftermath of last year’s turmoil.
“I’m as bitter as twenty (expletives),” she said, laughing.
Whatever you think about Barr’s politics or impulse control, you have to acknowledge that Barr is funny.
Well, you don’t have to acknowledge anything. What I have to do is report that Barr is very funny on the phone. And opinionated. And contemptuous of softball questions about what sorts of jokes she is writing these days.
“Are you kidding me?” she growled. “Do you know anything about comedy?
Barr said she writes about real life and real life for her includes everything that happened in 2018. But it includes more benign stuff as well.
“I’ll be doing jokes about getting old and being a grandma and living in a world full of (expletive) idiots,” she said.
Off-Color — And hilarious
Where Barr lives much of the year is in a world composed of offspring, grandchildren, palm trees, and nuts.
Since 2007, Barr and many of her relatives have lived on a Hawaiian macadamia nut farm.Barr said the white nut meats remind her of biblical references to manna. She grinds them up and makes a sort of ersatz meatloaf out of them. My questions about this nut farm threw the interview irretrievably off the rails, ultimately.
“Go to my YouTube channel,” she said. “It’s all about my (expletive) nuts and my fight with pigs. That’s my life.”
In a 2011 episode of her short-lived reality show Roseanne’s Nuts, Barr addressed her wild boar problem. The boars ate her nuts then, and apparently still eat her nuts now. If she had her druthers, Roseanne said she would only answer questions about pigs and nuts.
Asked about her career aspirations at this point, Barr said, “All I want to do is outsmart these (expletive) pigs that keep getting through my fence. I’m protective of my nuts.”
“How about creative projects?” this journalist inquired futilely.
“It’s very creative to figure out how to outthink a pig,” Barr said.
Barr said she was forced to conclude that they’re “never going to stop coming for my nuts.”
“They want my nuts,” she said. “I’ve got big nuts, too. I bought this farm from Dole Pineapple and they were engineering my nuts. I’ll tell you: My nuts are friggin’ huge. Bigger than your average nuts.”
This vein of juvenile humor was too good to pass up.
“Yes, Roseanne, your nuts are known far and wide for their hugeness,” I told her. “When most people think about you, the first things that comes to their minds are your enormous nuts. I don’t see how anyone could write an article about you without spending a lot of time on your huge nuts.”
Then we both laughed like middle-school nerds, Barr’s signature cackle echoing in her Hawaiian kitchen. I may not have laughed that hard since middle school.
Barr said she wants the people who come to her shows to laugh that hard.
“I want to see people laugh with their heads back, their mouths open and their big, fat bellies a-shakin’”
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