A long-standing friend of my column, Roseanne has always served delicious outrage and bracing truths, all packaged as cutting-edge comedy. Well, our own esteemed food critic, Robert Sietsema, tells me she did an improv comedy set the other night at 9 Bleecker Street, which he said “identifies itself as the Yippie Museum” and looks “like a hippie crash pad, with couches strewn around and a litter of half-empty soft drink bottles.”
Relates Sietsema, “The audience included Dana Beal, the founder of the Yippies, who had short hair and wore a V-neck sweater, like a Yuppie rather than a Yippie, and Aaron Kay, the famous anarchist pie thrower of decades ago. Wearing a stocking cap, he sprawled asleep on the couch during the entire performance. Some guy picked up a broom and started sweeping around the corners of the room, as if to make the place tidier for Roseanne.”
And the grand diva’s performance? “Still wearing her coat, a pair of Sarah Palin glasses, and with her gray-streaked hair piled lopsidedly on her head, she opened up with a string of expletives, shouting how she hated hate and shrieking at the audience and the world like a modern Lydia Lunch. She proclaimed herself ‘America’s most humorless humorist’ and went on to say that there weren’t words ugly enough to described how ugly the world is.
“Then she launched into a line of attack that started, ‘I want to see Bush, Cheney, Palin, and McCain repent, because they’re all sinners, and I hate them for their hate.’ She continued on a philosophical note, expanding on the idea of how feudal the word ‘Lord’ is as applied to the Deity. Finally, she ended with an analysis of 9/11 that praised the emergency responders, who, according to her analysis (‘I’m a socialist,’ she asserted) were working class people risking their lives to help horrible Wall Streeters wearing suits.”
After that, the host did some Dubya impressions, then he brought Roseanne up for 10 more minutes of whacked out comedy. Says Sietsema, “It had been one of the strangest evenings I’d ever experienced, and Fellini might have written the screenplay.” And I missed it! Waa! I hate THAT!!!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 10, 2008