Roseanne Cherrie Barr (born November 3, 1952) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. Barr began her career in stand-up comedy before gaining acclaim in the television sitcom Roseanne (1988–1997; 2018). She won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work on the show.
Barr became a stand-up comedian in 1980. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she gained fame through her role in Roseanne and other performances. Barr sparked controversy when performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a nationally aired baseball game on July 25, 1990. After singing the anthem in what many perceived to be a deliberately disrespectful manner, Barr grabbed her groin and spat. This performance was met with condemnation from baseball fans and sportswriters, and was called "disgraceful" by then-President George H. W. Bush.
Watch Barr’s early sets and you will find not only a quick comic mind, but also tightly written jokes. Neither appear here. Of course, it’s not just Barr who has changed. Comedy has, too. The scene is more political, polarized, desperate for outrage. Jim Jeffries prefaces the trans jokes in his new Netflix special by saying he’s doing them because he wants the press that Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais received. I’m sure he’d say it’s a joke, but I believe it. When Barr trots out a stale gag about gender, riffing on the question “What is a woman?” she gets a predictable roar. It’s a reminder that Barr once ran for president, and how much comedy and politics have blurred. Cheap nostalgia can be powerful in both arenas. At one point, Barr jokes, “The world has changed a lot since I was alive (emphasis added).”