When the definitive history of stand-up comedy in the United States is written, Roseanne Barr will figure prominently. In a largely male-dominated field, she made great strides for female artists.
“There were a lot of problems back then, but it’s a lot better now,” she said by phone last week. “I was just old enough then to be able to be in the trenches, and I knocked down a few doors. I enjoyed taking them down. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, too. There are still barriers, I think, but we’ve come a long way. Women can do a lot more than men, if we hit it big.”
Barr, 63, arrives at Cache Creek on Saturday night. (7:30 p.m.; $49, $65; cachecreek.com)
“I love it,” she said. “I love telling jokes. I always look forward to doing it as I look forward to being on stage at Cache Creek. Actually, stand-up is what I like most to do.”
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Back in the 1980s, Barr was arguably the hottest new talent out there. She boldly talked about the roles of men and women in society, was political and described herself as “a humanist, sort of, an anarchist, sort of, and a feminist, sort of.” She made the phrase “domestic goddess” famous.
Since that time she’s gone in a multitude of directions: starring in a major television sitcom in the 1990s, “Roseanne” (“I would say in all those years I was most proud of that show”); making a multitude of guest appearances (she says her experience judging “Last Comic Standing” helped renew her love of stand-up); hosting a short-lived reality series about her macadamia nut farm in Hawaii; and even coming in sixth for president of the United States.
That was with the Peace and Freedom Party in 2012. She says she would not hesitate to do it again, “but it would have to be with a major-party backing because nobody else stands a chance,” she said. “Anybody can run, but the system is rigged against them.
“I’ve made a movie out of my experience, ‘Rosanne for President,’ and it tells the story of what I went through. The American people have got to have a major discussion about the whole process. It’s a big farce. The movie puts a light on it in a humorous way.”
The documentary by Eric Weinrib, which is not scheduled for a theatrical release, screened at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and should be available on demand in July.