Penthouse Retrospective

by Nanette Varian Originally Published: December, 1990

Roseanne Barr

You can spend your whole life trying to figure out women, but you just can’t do it.

Barr: Like when I get the PMS thing.

Arnold: Two days a month she has this bad PM.S., and I get up at 4:30 in the morning and pack my bags and start heading out the door and she says, “Where you going, honey?” And I say, “Oh, I’m going to the gym.” “But they don’t open till nine.” “That’s okay, I’ll get there early.”

What are the signs that it’s time to go to the gym at 4 30 AM.?

Arnold: When I say, “Boy, it’s a nice day,” and she says, “What do you mean by that? What are you really saying, Tom?” When she acts lovey-dovey, then acts like a child, then acts like a terror­ist. [On that note, Arnold leaves.]

Please tell our readers what it’s really like to be a housewife.

Barr: Well, once I was vacuuming, wearing nothing but an apron, and my pert breasts were peeking out of the sides.


Barr: It’s a really cool thing, but you don’t get paid for it. You don’t get money, credit, a retirement plan – that’s the bad part of it. The other part is great ’cause the thing you most want to do in your heart – not all women, but a lot of us; most of us, probably – is to raise your kids, make a nest, and take care of your house. That’s biologically what we’re supposed to do – that’s the mother thing. If they paid women to stay home, a lot more would.

In your book you said that you once baby-sat for people who had men’s magazines in the house.

Barr: Yeah And they had magazines with pictures of naked people playing volleyball, too!

How do you feel about pornography?

Barr: I think pretty much everything’s pornographic, and I don’t know that one’s worse than another. Pretty much everything in show business is porno­graphic. Pretty much all the press is. I don’t see any difference between Time and the Weekly World News, because it’s always the same slant on everything. I think that there is total censorship in this country – every point of view that doesn’t agree with the middle point of view is cen­sored. And the fact that they go out there and talk about 2 Live Crew or Andrew “Dice” Clay – big deal. Who cares? It’s like flag-burning, a total non-issue. It’s a red herring. The fact of it is that our civil rights are being worn down daily.

In what way?

Barr: Well, you never hear a real radical woman’s point of view. If you do, she’s got blond hair, and she’s saying “they” rather than “we.” You never hear that. It’s the exclusion of women’s and minorities’ opinions. The media will always stick to the middle. And occasionally middle-left on PBS.

They talk about the sixties being a time of revolution, but I don’t think it really was that. It was a time when there were various points of view being of­fered to the American public. That’s why they called it revolutionary. But now the media just keeps presenting the status quo over and over. Never challenges it, never questions it. We’d rather watch people joke about tits.

You mentioned Andrew “Dice” Clay. What do you think about him?

Barr: If you look at the things he says, they aren’t that shocking because – to me – they’re what every guy says on every street corner. Boring. Bring on the next asshole.

No matter how insane people make her out to be, when you hear her words, Roseanne doesn't seem much different than any other intelligent woman with an ax to grind. Unless, of course, she's talking about how insane she is...

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