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She’s Back

Roseanne Barr shows she still has great stand-up comedy chops in new HBO special.

This is more than a little late, but Roseanne Barr deserves praise as a comedic master who has only gotten better with age as evident in her new HBO special, “Blonde and Bitchin’,” which could be billed as something of a comeback.

Going back to the days before her hit sitcom, Barr actually had a comedic style similar to that of Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks (in fact, “Married With Children” was originally conceived as a vehicle for her and Kinison). That aggressive style, which includes a bit of fundamentalist preaching presentation, is still intact, and makes this stand-up special an entertaining piece.

At one point, she paints an apocalyptic picture of skinny women dying off faster than the rest if the food supply disappeared. “Step over the silicone bags and collagen lips,” she says. In another bit, about menopause, she describes the craziness this causes, saying, “I think they’re going to send someone after me with a needle full of hormones,” her voice rising in righteous fervor, “and I’m not falling for that again!”

In another bit, she takes on religion head on, parodying people’s prayers by answering questions as “the higher universal mind.” Most of which she answers with flat dismissive “no”s -- like “Will I get lucky tonight?” to which Barr says, “No, but you’ll still have to fuck her.”

Perhaps her attitude (and her comedy) grew from being an immediate outsider, as she recalls, “the only Jew in Utah.” Wherever it comes from, she’s not afraid to make fun of her various tabloid scandals (like the “Star Spangled Banner” incident), which she does through a great finale -- her own version of “My Way” studded with lines like “no longer think/everyday is eat pie day/you could win a teddy bear/guessing what I weigh.”

It’s always good to see comedians like Barr come out of creative declines with a return to the basis of what made them great, and the “Blonde and Bitchin’” special accomplishes exactly that.




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