Roseanne: 'I Was Not Prepared for the Crash'

Comedian says Sarah Palin's talk of feminism "is ripping off her act."

January 4, 2011, 2:15 PM

Jan. 4, 2011— -- Having tread on one too many toes with her comedy, Roseanne Barr now lives in self-imposed exile in Hawaii -- literally on a nut farm.

Her home is a 46-acre macadamia nut farm in the mountains of Honakaa.

"I was not prepared for the crash of like the crazy crash of celebrity," she said, "I'm one of these people that has, I call 'em my fans, people who love to hate me."

Watch the full interview with Roseanne Barr on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 p.m.

But she's back with talk of a new reality show and the release of a third book -- part autobiography, part political rant.

"Roseannarchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm," released Jan. 4, accuses Sarah Palin of stealing her act, takes aim at celebrities in general and retraces Barr's own spiritual and cultural odyssey from her beginnings as a "fat Jewish girl" in Mormon Utah.

In the book, the 58-year-old performer described her path to fame and fortune as a "deal with the devil." To Barr at least, the devil looks an awful lot like her ex-husband, actor Tom Arnold.

"Everyone I've met in Hollywood made a deal somewhere to remain silent about abhorrent things in order to remain popular," she told "Nightline." "They decide, well, these are safe topics that I can speak out on but not this, because this will cut into my money."

Barr decided long ago that it was no longer a compromise she was willing to make. She continued to make her voice heard in very public ways.

Last May, on Mother's Day, she stood with a bullhorn in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., across from the White House, to announce her candidacy for both U.S. president and prime minister of Israel.

"This is a two-fer," she said. "I'm running on the new Green Tea Party ticket." Her platform is to fix all the world's problems herself.

Roseanne Says She Doesn't Like Sarah Palin or President Obama

Barr said she sympathized with the Tea Party movement and shared its anger.

"I understand a revolt by American taxpayers who are getting nothing for paying these huge taxes," Barr said. "But the solution is for the American public to have some say in how public money is spent. And I believe that public money needs to be spent on the American public, not these private contractors who Sarah Palin works for."

Barr said she doesn't like Palin, even though the two could both be described as brassy, blue-collar feminists.

"I feel she's ripping off my act," Barr said. "She's not even telling the truth to the American people. I think she took a lot from me and from my show, absolutely."

Barr had strong words for President Obama as well. "I didn't vote for him," she said. "I did NOT want Obama to be president of the United States."

Nor does she think highly of Obama's accomplishment on passing a health care law.

"I think it's a bunch of crap," she said, noting that she favored the public option. "I think the American people deserve to have health care like every other country."

Barr's intense interest in current events helped make her sitcom, "Roseanne," the No. 1 show on television in the early '90s, reaching an audience of 36 million people at its peak.

"Roseanne" launched in 1988 and tackled sensitive social issues throughout its nine season run. At a time when the rest of America only whispered about such things, the show talked openly about alcoholism, teen pregnancy, masturbation and gay marriage.

But Barr said she caused lasting damage to her public image when she sang the National Anthem at a San Diego Padres game in 1990. It was the eve of the first Gulf War, and America was in a patriotic fervor at the time.

Before the game started, Barr gave a screaming, off-pitch rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," then grabbed her crotch, spat on the ground and walked off the field. Time magazine later called it the worst rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" ever.

"It was horrifying," she said of her performance now. "I knew I had started too high and about the fifth note in, I had nowhere to go. I thought well, at least I'll try to make it funny, and you know I tried to make it funny, just by screaming."

Roseanne: 'The Truth Is a Shocking Thing'

The crowd was not amused, and Barr said she knew it. She recalled people shaking their fists and throwing beer cans at her as she walked off.

Even President George H.W. Bush called it a disgrace.

Barr said the incident almost cost her everything she had worked for. She also writes in the book that the fallout from the "Roseanthem" was a huge factor in the breakup of her marriage to Arnold.

Now, she said, life is much "calmer" on her farm in Hawaii, but that doesn't mean she's through with show business.

She recently recorded a DVD of children's songs with her boyfriend, musician Johnny Argent. She also hinted at a reality TV show, similar to "Sarah Palin's Alaska," set in "Roseanne's Hawaii."

And, of course, she's still out there speaking her mind.

"The truth is a shocking thing," she said. "The truth is everybody, really, seriously, should take a big fat look at [themselves] before [they] go around telling everybody else what's wrong with them."

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