All About Roseanne

Let’s get some things out of the way.  I didn’t watch the original Roseanne sitcom.  I don’t know why, but I never did.  However, I have met Roseanne several times and she’s always been extraordinarily nice to me – and, let’s face it, there’s no need for that.  I’m not entirely sure I could identify Samantha Bee in a police line-up.  In fact, I’m not exactly sure who she is.  I’ve never seen her show.  And up until this past week, I thought her name was Samantha B – like Stacey Q or Robin S.  I was fairly certain that I danced to a Samantha B song at a recent circuit party.

With that, lemme give you my completely biased take on the past week.  Roseanne posted a racially insensitive Tweet comparing Valerie Jarrett (someone else I don’t know) to an ape.  Well, that’s what I thought she did.  When I started researching this column – yes, this stuff is actually researched – I discovered that what Roseanne actually Tweeted was this: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”.  Nobody seems to have been upset about the slam to the Muslim Brotherhood.  I guess they’re fair game.

The first whiff of a problem came when Wanda Sykes quit the Roseanne show.  Then the floodgates opened and everyone piled on Roseanne – which I found fascinating since this seemed far from the most offensive thing she’s ever said.  Almost immediately, apologies started – my favorite being that she blamed the Tweet on Ambien.  Been there, done that, driven to the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru and didn’t remember it the next day.  Hell, I’ve written columns on Ambien – but it’s still on me.  ABC cancelled Roseanne, even after Barr’s personal pleas to the head of the network.  Then Viacom and Hulu dropped the old Roseanne show.  It’s worth noting that it took over 60 women to say Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them before The Cosby Show was pulled from cable.  But one Tweet about a Muslim and an ape having a baby and Roseanne was history.

Now let’s look at Samantha Bee.  On her TBS show Full Frontal, she said, “You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless cunt!”  This is not one person’s late-night Tweet on Ambien in the privacy of their home.  This was something prepared on a scripted show, presumably approved by writers and producers, shot in advance, and then aired on a major network.  This is a statement – better or worse, I cannot say – which was greenlit by dozens of people.  Samantha and TBS made an apology and everyone moved on.

Roseanne’s crazy.  We all know that.  She may be filled with hate.  She may be a racist.  And she may have said something – clearly individually and spontaneously – that was wrong.  Samantha Bee, on the other hand, planned something, worked on it with various people, filmed it, and had the support of a network that aired it.  Is a questionable comparison of a black woman to a Muslim and an ape more heinous than calling someone a word most women believe to be the most insulting term imaginable?  As always, I defer to Wanda Sykes.  After all, Wanda’s a woman.  Wanda’s black.  Wanda’s a lesbian.  While not germane to this story, Wanda’s also married to a French woman – so I kinda feel she doesn’t put up with any crap.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m on whatever side Wanda is on.  If Wanda quit Roseanne, then that’s that.  Would she have quit Full Frontal?  I dunno.

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