Roseanne Barr is coming to Portland! She doesn’t look very much like she did when her hit TV show was on the air. At the age of 63 the comedienne is slim and very blond. Her comedy, however is still just as biting and astute as ever. On Saturday, June 11 Roseanne Barr will grace The Newmark Theater at The Portland5.
The award winning producer, writer and actress is sure to discuss her standby subjects of marriage and family as well as her 2012 bid for president. Ms. Barr has always offered an insightful take on the life of the American woman and she has always been very progressive. Before Lena Dunham every had realistic looking sex on television or Amy Schumer ever discussed having her privates waxed on stage, Roseanne Barr broke ground by talking about something that is shocking even by today’s standards; a lack of money.
Ms. Barr took to the stage in the early 1980’s when she was a housewife in Denver, Colorado. By the mid 80’s she appeared on The Tonight Show and eventually had her own comedy special. She appeared on a Pizza Hut commercial in which she told her husband to, “get real” for suggesting that she “graze at the salad bar,” while he and the kids enjoyed pizza. She soon coined herself a domestic goddess and her no nonsense attitude caught the attention of producers and she was offered the role of Peggy Bundy on Married with Children. Ms. Barr turned down the offer and soon was the star of her own self-titled show.
The television series Roseanne stood convention on its ear by featuring a family whose matriarch was plus sized, uneducated but very smart and often the sole breadwinner of the family; as well as a patriarch who was often unemployed and always overweight. The family’s three children were hardly typical sitcom kids. The brood included a tomboy with bad grades who was actually smarter than her popular, straight A student sister, and an awkward young boy who did not seem to excel at anything.
In addition to having an unconventional family with actual economic problems the show was one of the first to deal with such heavyweight subjects as child abuse, drugs and homosexuality.
Shows today do not shy away from stories about sexual orientation, child abuse or drug consumption, however, poverty is still a very underexplored subject in Hollywood. Ironically, Roseanne made Ms. Barr the second highest paid woman in comedy.
Ms. Barr caused quite a bit of controversy in her personal life when she told the People magazine that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. She said that her parents were part of a satanic cult that practiced ritualistic sex abuse. She later retracted her statements on Oprah, telling Ms. Winfrey that, “incest” might have been the wrong word to use to describe what she went through. She attributed her odd behavior to being prescribed psychotropic drugs and going through a hard time in her life.
When her show ended, Ms. Barr tried a variety of different roles in the entertainment industry from talk show host, to reality star, to a Green Party presidential candidate. She returned to the comedy stage in 2006 with her show Blond and Bitchin’ at the Comedy Store. Fame and money had not softened the comedienne’s sharp edge at all.
She told the audience that she, supported a “woman’s right to chew.” And said that she missed having PMS because, it was one of the only times she could be herself.
In 2011 she released the book Roseannearchy, which detailed her life on her Hawaiian nut farm as well as her opinions about feminism and the Kabbalah. She is hardly timid in the book saying that, Sarah Palin couldn’t find where her heavily armed son was fighting on a map, even with both hands.”
Ms. Barr goes on stage at 7:00 p.m. on the 11th of June. Tickets to the show are $35.00 to $55.00.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.