Roseanne Barr started with stand-up, then changed the way sitcoms were viewed, with her show, Roseanne, airing for nine seasons. With the Lifetime Channel she seeks to tackle the reality show circuit in Hawaii on a macadamia nut farm no less. See why Roseanne's life is nuts these days with this candid interview.
Windy City Times: Hi, Roseanne. I just watched episodes of your new reality show and saw you cursing on a tractor. You were raised very conservatively, right?
Roseanne Barr: Yes, I came from a really conservative place, the reddest state there is: Utah. That is where I grew up and started thinking everything was ridiculous.
WCT: Do you go back and visit there?
RB: I do, and I gave a great big speech at a rally there recently.
WCT: What compelled you to open up your life for this television show?
RB: Because I had something to say and I just wanted to.
WCT: In one episode there appeared to be a wardrobe malfunction and your private parts were blurred out.
RB: That made me mad and I tried to make them take that out. I had black shorts on. I sat down the shorts went to the back. When those guys filmed that then I asked them to take it out because it looked like I didn't have on any underwear. But they convinced me to leave it and they said it was funny so I let it go. I did indeed have linen shorts on that go to my knees unless I sit down they get really short. Thanks for your interest in my crotch.
WCT: [Laughs] What made you decide to buy a macadamia-nut farm?
RB: Because I wanted to show what America is doing to its farmers. I had to join a righteous cause. I think Americans should know about their food and what is being fed to them and have some alternatives presented to them because I am running for president of the United States. That is my goal.
WCT: Really? What do you want from a reality show, then?
RB: I hope it blows up everybody's programming and scrambles themselves down the core of their DNA. That's what I pray to God it does. I think it might.
WCT: What do you get from Hawaii that you couldn't find in L.A.?
RB: There is a great sense of community of the farmers in Hawaii. They are really trying hard to grow organic food. It really is a hard task. That is what I am doing in the background of all of the stupid stuff you see on the screen. There is an incredible method to my madness.
WCT: What have you done to keep away those wild pigs?
RB: Well, I have done just about everything from peeing on things to building a fence. I have done it all and nothing works.
WCT: Does Greg Cipes help out by living in your yard?
RB: Oh he doesn't really live there, hon. It is just TV. My show is all fake reality.
WCT: You have an episode about snoring. Are you sleeping better with the sleep-apnea mask on?
RB: I can't figure that damn thing out. I have to take a class in the fall and then I will try to get that going.
WCT: How has the surfing been going?
RB: I only did it once but I will tell you that I really liked it. They had these half naked gorgeous Hawaii men holding me up so how could I not like it?
WCT: Do people recognize you on the big island?
RB: Yes and they say, "Hi."
WCT: How did you meet your boyfriend, Johnny Argent?
RB: I met him on my website, www.roseanneworld.com . It is a great dating place. So many people have come there and fallen in love. I am not kidding. I happen to be one of them. I have made some nice matches over there.
WCT: You have a big following on Twitter. How has social networking been for you?
RB: I have done it off and on for many years. I do it for a while until I get too addicted to it and then I run from it. This is like my third Twitter thing but I am enjoying it so far.
WCT: Is your real life similar to your sitcom show, Roseanne?
WCT: So many reality shows have a big dramatic ending. Are you avoiding that with this one?
RB: I might break up with Johnny over this reality show. I seriously might…
WCT: Oh, no!
RB: Well, he's pissing me off, man, on this reality show. He doesn't do a goddamn thing around there.
WCT: Your arguing like a real couple is refreshing to see on television.
RB: I am so glad to hear you say that. We fight all the time. We really do.
WCT: And then you can have the make-up sex…
RB: We like to do our thing but we like to talk, too. We have built a life with these chickens and goats. Johnny and I are having a blast a inventing all kinds of funny things to do on TV. It is like all reality television and fake.
WCT: People forget that sometimes.
RB: They sure do and I think that's funny that they forgot. [Laughs] It's a fake version of myself. It can be fun. For instance this week I get to hit my son on the head at least five good shots. That was rad! It was the best Mother's Day.
WCT: Was it hard to let the cameras in for moments like that?
RB: No, I was ready for it. It was time to do some comedy.
WCT: Who are female comedians that you like?
RB: I have Phyllis Diller and Sandra Bernhard on this show and I consider both of them intense trailblazers. A lot of other women too, but I am good friends with both of them.
WCT: Would you come back to Chicago to do more stand-up?
RB: Well, I should. I have enjoyed the times that I came there. I am not doing that right now but I wish I was sometimes. Maybe I will come and give a presidential speech down there.
WCT: Come on back then. Since you have done sitcoms, reality TV and movies, what's next on your bucket list?
Watch Roseanne's Nuts on Wednesdays and visit www.mylifetime.com for listings and details.