Stand-up comedy was all the rage in the '70s and '80s. From Richard Pryor to George Carlin to Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld, it was an embarassment of riches, each comic outdoing the other with outrageous, pointed routines. It was mostly a man's world until Rosenanne Barr came along.
This crass, gum-chewing, nasal-sounding, slurry-voiced female comedian was something else entirely. Despite her breakthrough in a male-dominated industry, I still never cared for Rosanne. Now, I better understand why.
She went on have her own TV show, Roseanne, for nine seasons on ABC, from 1989-1997. Although I like John Goodman, who played her husband, I never watched an episode. It was too mainstram for me, plus I was no Roseanne fan.
Some thought her crotch-grabbing and spitting stunt while she attempted to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" before a national televised baseball game in 1990 was genius; I did not.
She decided to run for president in 2012. Barr was the Peace and Freedom Party candidate (the Green Party chose Jill Stein over her). She likes to remind people that she placed sixth with nearly 62,000 votes.
Roseanne swiftly became a new celebrity darling of marijuana activists when she declared her support for marijuana legalization. In 2015, she revealed her use of medical cannabis for glaucoma and macular degeneration. "It's good for me because I have pressure in my eyes," Barr said. "It's a good medicine for a lot of things."
However, her effort to open a dispensary in 2017 named Roseanne's Joint in Santa Aana, CA fizzled.
By then, she had become a Donald Trump acolyte. Barr aggressively opposed Hillary Clinton as the first U.S. female president. "She's friends with anybody who gives her any goddamned money," Barr told Hollywood Reporter in a June 2016 interview.
"I like Trump becasue he financed his own campaign... To me, he's saying that the order of law matters. When a president can just pass laws all on his own, that is a little bit different than what America was supposed to be about. And Trunp is saying people will have to be vetted, we'll have to have legal immigration. It's all a scam. I mean, illegal immigration. When people come here and they get a lot of benefits that our own veterans don't get. What's up with that?"
Barr was back in the news this week with the revival of Roseanne 20 years after its final episode. Her backing of Trump and his far-right agenda is a major part of the storyline, with banter between her, Dan (Goodman) and her sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf).
Roseanne: "He talked about jobs, Jackie. He said he was going to shake things up. This may come as a complete shock to you, but we almost lost our house the way things are going."
Jackie: "Have you looked at the news? Because now things are worse."
Roseanne: "Not on the real news!"
Jackie: "Oh, pul-lease!"
Of course, Trump was watching and lapping up every minute of the return of Roseanne. The first episode racked up huge ratings. At a speech in Ohio on March 29, he praised the show, noting the ratings and that it was "about us."
Barr and the show's writers can mine this subject all season, but the ill will directed at Roseanne by former fans, Democrats and even stoners will ultimate take its toll. Barr has become a pariah.