Controversial, and proud of it: Roseanne Barr stands up for comedy at Penn’s Peak
Comedy superstar and “Domestic Goddess” Roseanne Barr brings her comedy tour to Penn’s Peak, 8 p.m. May 4.
Barr, an award-winning actress, producer, talk-show host, “Last Comic Standing” judge (2014), best-selling author, 2012 presidential candidate, activist, Full Moon and High Tide production company owner, wife, mother and grandmother of six, continues to astound with her real-life, tell-it-al, comedy by using her personal experiences that impact everybody, every day.
“I like to talk about everyday things that everyday people go through. I always address class issues because I think they are funny for one thing, and also, because I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum from being raised very poor to being very rich. That’s kind of why it is my subject of interest and where all the funny comes from in the world,” says Barr in a phone interview.
Barr began her career as a standup comedian, turning her everyday life into an act.
In addition to Penn’s Peak, Barr’s tour includes: May 2, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, N.C.; May 16, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Ind., and May 19, Fox Theatre, Detroit, Mich.
On Oct. 18, 1988, the “Roseanne” TV show aired its first episode. The show spanned more than nine years (1988 - 1997) and returned to television in 2018 when it was abruptly canceled because of controversial social media tweets by Barr.
The original “Roseanne” aired for 224 episodes, averaging 30 million viewers weekly. Barr received an Emmy Award in 1992 and was nominated for Emmys in 1994 and 1995, all for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and was nominated for an Emmy in 1998 for “The Roseanne Show” for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
She was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Roseanne” in 1994 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series. “Roseanne” received Peabody Awards in 1992 and 1993.
According to published reports, for the final two “Roseanne” seasons, Barr earned $40 million. At the time, Barr was the second-highest-paid woman in show business after Oprah Winfrey.
“Roseanne” was hailed by Entertainment Weekly magazine as “the most groundbreaking, kitchen-sink sitcom since ‘All in the Family,’ adding of Barr, “she is the funniest disturber of peace that we have.”
In 2018, the “Roseanne” show returned to ABC, receiving record-breaking ratings. Barr was fired from the TV show, which was canceled, after her controversial tweets. The show, renamed “The Conners,” returned without her.
Barr, 67, born Roseanne Cherrie Barr Nov. 3, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Nev., lives in Hawaii. She began her show-business career as a stand-up comedian in 1980.
She performed at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles and was on “The Tonight Show” in 1985. In 1986, she performed on a Rodney Dangerfield special and on “Late Night with David Letterman.” In 1987, she had her own HBO special, “The Roseanne Barr Show” (1998-2000) for which she received an American Comedy Award for the Funniest Female Performer in a Television Special. In her comedy routine, she popularized the phrase, “domestic goddess,” in reference to a homemaker or housewife.
Barr has guest-starred on numerous TV shows, including “Third Rock From The Sun” and “The Nanny” (both, 1987).
Her theatrical motion picture credits include “She-Devil” (1989) and character animation voice work in “Look Who’s Talking” (1991) and “Home on the Range” (2004).
Barr has written three books: “Roseanne: My Life as a Woman” (1989), “My Lives” (1994) and “Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm” (2011).
Barr, who was born to Jewish parents, has been involved in activism, including trying to stop Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) production on the Big Island in Hawaii, aiding Native-American families of the Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D., and advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Of her show-business career, Barr says, “They are all great accomplishments. But my whole life has really been a great accomplishment. I’ve never bowed down and I never will. I’ve never kissed corporate a-- and I never will.
“And I’ve never forgotten where I came from and I never will. All of these things caused a lot of damage to my nervous system and taught me to be brave.
“All of that kind of fits into comedy, I think I was born to say something and I felt that every day of my life. I’ve lived a pretty good and honest life, too, and all of those things took some guts.”
Barr’s family-run production company, Full Moon and High Tide Studio (FMHT), produced her first DVD for children, “Rockin’ with Roseanne: Calling All Kids!“ (2006), which was inspired by her grandchildren.
FMHT has produced original programming for VH1, videos for Barr’s YouTube Channel and her fourth HBO comedy special, “Roseanne Barr: Blonde and Bitchin” (2006).
“I started FMHT studio about 20 years ago and I got really involved in technology and communications. I created an international call-in show on the internet. It was pretty primitive, but I would get calls from all over the world.
“It was exciting and different and I basically started this whole call-in, podcast, interview thing. We talked to people about where they lived and what it was like where they lived. It was like a world-call call-in show.”
A documentary by Barry chronicles her 2012 Presidential campaign, “Roseanne For President,” directed by Michael Moore.
“People have a certain common sense that seems to be lacking, especially in our leaders,” says Barr.
Asked to summarize her life in one-sentence, Barr says, “I fought mind control and won!”
Referring to the 2018 “Roseanne” TV show reboot and cancelation, she says, “I won now, too, even though they think I’ve lost. But I’ve actually won.
“I am very proud that I can construct and write a joke that can go in three different directions. I have about 280 killer jokes in my act and I love to see how people take it all in.
“I love a live audience and I love how I can bring a very diverse crowd to the same singular place and hear great laughs. To me, I really bring people together.”
Tickets: Penn’s Peak box office, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe; pennspeak.com; ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000