Throughout her career, Roseanne Barr has employed many people. During the Roseanne years, soon-to-be-TV auteurs like Joss Whedon, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Chuck Lorre, and a slew of others all worked on her writing staff. Judd Apatow also worked for Barr, but on an HBO comedy special, not her sitcom.
During an interview with Barr for a profile for Newsweek, I asked her about Apatow and all the famous writers she had worked with, particularly given her tendency to talk about how much she really, really hates TV writers.
But instead of going off, Barr said evenly: “When I hear about people being successful, I’m kind of proud of them, like the show was their college. Especially Joss Whedon. I think he’s one of the best. And I like Judd Apatow, too—he’s good.”
Which led us to this exchange.
Q. Do you see a movie like Knocked Up?
Roseanne Barr: No.
Q. It’s just not something you’d want to watch?
Barr: I hate movies. I hate the whole fucking movie business. I hate everything involved with movies. Producers. Moviemakers. Those people are freaking nuts and criminals. I can’t take it. They’re not like the rest of humanity. I’d rather hang out with plumbers. They’re so self-important. And everything they do is bullshit. Excuse me, but movies are bullshit. They’re tidy little fucking bullshit stories. They all have a rape thing in them. They’re all anti-woman. They’re all fucking bullshit. There isn’t one of ‘em that speaks to me or says anything decent. Somebody could go in with the best fucking script, like, Grapes of Wrath, and they’d come out and it’d star Kevin James. Nothing can happen good in movies and it never does.
Q. Grapes of Wrath with Kevin James!
Barr: Yeah! That’s the best that could ever happen in movies. And they all go and sit in the big building and congratulate themselves. I just hate movies. I hate the entire movie business.
Q. So there isn’t movie night on the farm.
Barr: I hate movies. Hate everything to do with moviemakers, movie producers. People who talk about movies. Or represent anybody who writes a script for movies. Script writers. No. Please. It’s such a horrendous bore. I didn’t like being in movies. You have to sit there 19 hours in a trailer. Which is why I got into show business—to get out of a fucking trailer. I’m sitting in a trailer and 19 hours later, they come down and they turned on a light. So you go down and stand there and then you go back and wait 19 more hours. And then you go and say your line 75 times in a row. It’s boring to me. I liked that movie V.
Q. Oh! V for Vendetta? I love that movie.
Barr: That one was the last good one I saw. The politics were fucking great. It was on fire. It was not the regular Hollywood, now is the time for the nude scene and the rape. Building up the freaky little man thing. It’s just so not feminist or real at all. I don’t really watch TV either because that’s all bullshit, too, for the most part. Although I am excited about Chelsea [Handler] and Whitney Cummings—is that her name? And Tina Fey. I’m excited for those people.”
Q. Do you watch 30 Rock?
Barr: I’ve seen it a couple of times. You know, I can’t remember when anything’s on. And the fact is, all I really watch is, like, forensics shows. That’s my life.
Q. CSI or reality ones?
Barr: No, not CSI, no! Hell no. I’m talking about the real crime shows. I like the true crime shows. I like forensics where they take stuff apart. I like Nancy Grace and all those shows. Me and all the other old ladies. That’s what we do. When my mom comes and visits me, we sit side by side in chairs and watch Nancy Grace, Jane Velez, Joy Behar. Dr. Drew now, which I couldn’t believe I actually liked Dr. Drew’s show.
Q. Have you ever watched Celebrity Rehab?
Barr: No. That’s bullshit. But I like him when he’s talking about Casey Anthony.
Q. So you watch no scripted shows?
Barr: Not really.
Q. But you like Tina Fey in theory?
Barr: I like what she does in theory. And my kids all love her show. I’d just rather watch somebody be arrested. And tried.