Interview: Legendary Comedian Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr is a comedic icon and has made us laugh for decades. She’s worked with stars like Meryl Streep, John Goodman, John Waters, Bruce Willis and many more. Recently, she has gotten out of the limelight and into the presidential spotlight, running for president in 2012. With the release of her new documentary, Roseanne for President (now on VOD), we get to see her journey from conscientious objector to 2012 candidate. I was able to talk with her about politics, Trump, Twitter, marijuana and more! (Click the ‘Next’ button to begin)

Political Aspirations

Jon Espino: Hi! Pleasure to talk to you. Huge fan of your socially conscious comedy!

Roseanne Barr: Why thank you.

JE: After watching your new documentary [Roseanne for President] and seeing the passion you had for politics, I was wondering if you still plan to be politically active either with the Green Party, or the Peace and Freedom party, or in some other respect?

RB: Yeah, I plan to do that.

JE: With any specific organization?

RB: I’ve agreed to, for the Green Party, be the vice president for Kent Mesplay if he gets the nomination. I like him a lot, especially against Jill Stein.

The Trump Controversy

JE: Speaking of presidential hopefuls, recently you made some statements in support of —

RB: I did not endorse Donald Trump. That’s like the only thing anybody wants to talk about.

JE: Well, it was a major statement to make in this political climate. Even if you just meant you’d vote for anybody except Hillary.

RB: I don’t endorse. I’m voting for myself. I’m writing myself in and I will continue to do so until I win.

Views on the Democrats, Republicans and Green Party

JE: Well, we obviously live in a fundamentally flawed, forced two-party system, and your documentary talks a little about that. What do you think needs to change or happen to get people to vote for a candidate that represents their true self-interests?

RB: We need a true third-party and right now we don’t have it. None of the parties — there just isn’t one. Until we get a third-party, you know, there’s not a lot we can do. We need a party that truly represents us and we just don’t have one. The whole way the elections work make sure that won’t happen. So we’re going to need a lot of people to work to make that happen. Unfortunately, as I found out when I was running, is that people don’t want to do anything to help better their lives or their circumstances unless they’re getting paid. In America, that’s how out of touch people are.

JE: A sort of pay to play mentality.

RB: I would say to them, “You don’t get paid for revolution, it’s not a job.” They would say, “We’ll help you run and get on the ballot, but you’ll have to pay us.” Well, no I don’t actually. Don’t turn around and say you want to overturn Citizen’s United to get the money out of politics when you yourself won’t do anything to help anybody unless you’re getting paid.

JE: Do you think the Green Party is that ideal third-party needed to change the system? Or does the party not exist yet?

RB: No! The green party is like every other party that is just trying to get matching funds. They will say whatever the people who contribute to them want them to say. So no, I do not consider them at this time to be a real party. Just like I don’t consider the Democrats or the Republicans to be real parties either. I do think that getting in there and addressing people who really do care and who really are intelligent, many of whom are in the Green Party, is a good first step. In the United States we haven’t even taken a first step. We haven’t even put our foot on the path yet, towards a democratic election. For them, I wanted to be useful in serving the idea of democratic elections in the United States. I also wanted to shine a light on our whole election system so that people would wake up and see that democracy only works when people work it. They just don’t get that here. They just don’t get it and it’s very sad and dangerous. So I thought somebody’s got to do it so I guess it’ll just be me. I seem to see deeply into things and that excites me to see deeply into things and explain them to people. I really think Americans need to know what’s really being done to them and what they’ve done in their name, but they are so mind controlled that it’s very difficult waking them up and I sometimes feel they can’t be waken up. I think that’s kind of true.

JE: Well that’s a dangerous thought too.

RB: Well, I’m up and I’m not going to stop trying because I do have to look myself in the mirror and that’s the thing that matters most to me, that I am able to do that.

Most Important Issue: Marijuana Legalization

JE: In this election, what is the issue you are most passionate about? Aside from the decriminalization of marijuana of course.

RB: Well, that’s the big one because the war on drugs is the way they locked our country down, the fascists locked our country down. They’re getting paid to arrest kids for pot and then they put them in prison where they work for corporations for 16 cents an hour.

JE: Yeah, it’s a new form of slavery.

RB: It’s a labor issue and I’m of course interested in anything having to do with the working class, labor issues and freedom and equality.

Bernie Sanders and  the Other “Prostitute Class of Candidates”

JE: Out of all the candidates, aside from Bernie Sanders, you come from working class roots, how do you think—

RB: Bernie Sanders? NOT! ok, whatever. I’m not going to argue with you.

JE: Well how do you think that shaped your views?

RB: It’s who I am. It’s who my family always was. It’s just my whole history.

JE: Because of that, do you think you’re more representative of the American people?

RB: I’m not following what you’re trying to say.

JE: Do you feel presidential candidates should come from working class backgrounds in order to fully represent the American people and their interests?

RB: Aside from the candidates are just, you know… I don’t know what the good word is for it.

JE: The bad word would work just fine for it too.

RB: Well, it’s just a prostitute class of candidates who don’t matter because they are only speaking for the people who are paying them to speak. They don’t really have any ethics, obviously. Well some of them do. I should say they have NO ethics, but it’s the system itself that needs to be taken apart. The entire election system needs to be taken apart and then rebuilt and rebooted. No matter what people they get to “run” for office, it’s all bullshit as long as it’s that corrupt, money-grubbing, elitist system. That’s why I ran. I wanted people to take a look at how their votes don’t matter, and they don’t, obviously.

Twitter Controversy and Xenophobia

JE: Your show Roseanne continues to be one of the most nonconformist, socially conscious and female empowering shows to date. Since then, it seems like some of your views have changed and people have even gone as far to say that they’re bordering on xenophobic. What has changed?

RB: Because they’re full of shit. It’s just a way to discredit me. Nothing I’ve ever said has changed, it’s just that people are paid to discredit me. It’s because of classism that they are paid to discredit me. Define phobic, let’s talk about it. Define what that means, or is it something you just throw around, or does that mean something?

JE: Define xenophobic?

RB: Oh, xenophobic. What does that mean exactly?

JE: Inspiring fear or hatred against other cultures or races.

RB: Really? Like, what are the examples of that? Or is that just something —

JE: Your Twitter account, to be honest. People have commented on the content of your Twitter. Do you do all of your own tweeting or is a social media manager in charge of —

RB: Are you shitting me? What do you mean? You don’t have any examples. You just threw that word around for what reason? People on twitter? What do they mean by xenophobic? They mean racist, right?

JE: Yeah, I think that’s a part of it.

RB: Yeah, well that’s because that’s the only thing the left — the fake left as I  like to call them — can throw at people who don’t agree with them. Racist. That’s because they are racist. So no, I’m not a racist and I’m not xenophobic whatsoever. Those people who can anonymously throw those things at people who actually risk something to say something are the reason that everything is bad.

JE: So you’re saying they are just trying to change the topic by calling you these things?

RB: This is who those people attack: Women who are anti-rape activists, they call them racist. They attack anybody who is pro-union and call them xenophobic. I know how this shit works. They are the worst people on Earth and they’re the reason everything is screwed up. They are very privileged people and it is very easy for privileged people to call working class people racist; it makes me sick but they won’t shut me up, I’ll tell you that much. Because I am who I say I am. I’m not a privileged person that sits on their ass calling other people names unless they deserve it. Yeah, they call me everything. The thing they do is take whatever means the most to you, whether you’re an activist or somebody who cares about the people, the thing they are paid to do is discredit you on the thing you have worked your whole life for. They do it on purpose and they target and harass. I’m so glad that Twitter now has a way you can go in and report people who target and harass and get them kicked off. That’s a wonderful thing and I’m glad Twitter is doing that. I love to report people for targeted harassment and see their account removed. It’s a big thrill in my life.

Future Projects and Preferred Marijuana Consumption

JE: Like Roseanne, do you have any plans of putting your political views and ideas into another show?

RB: No, never. I’ve really gotten into filmmaking, I’ve enjoyed that. I hope people will enjoy my movie.

JE: Any future projects we should look out for? Maybe another political film?

RB: No, just this one. Thanks!

JE: Now, for the most important question. Do you prefer to smoke marijuana traditionally or have you switched over to the hash oils and edibles?

RB: Yeah, I use a vape and I like oils.

JE: Not into edibles?

RB: They’re hard to control. You never know if one bite is 20 doses or what. So no, I’m not really into them. I am opening up my own dispensary and I really am doing a lot of work on dosage in edibles because that really needs to happen. A lot of people don’t like edibles because it’s too hard to regulate what you’re getting. I’m doing work on that.

JE: When should we expect it to be open?

RB: We’re trying as hard as we can to get it open in the fall.

JE: I’ll have to come pay a visit when it opens.

RB: Yeah! It’s in Santa Ana [California] and we hope to get it open soon. It’s a beautiful place and I think people will enjoy it.

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