Known to history for bringing the working-class family into the prime-time sitcom world, Roseanne Barr is an unstoppable icon of low-class comedy. Returning to her Denver standup roots at Lannie’s Clocktower Tower tonight, Barr remembers what it was like for women in the male-dominated comedy world of the 1980s.
“At Comedy Works, there were about three or four female comics mixed in with the men,” she says. “They didn’t like female comics at George McKelvey’s Comedy Shop, and did whatever they could to keep us off the stage. But we just kept coming back and pushing it until they didn’t have any choice. I was bringing about thirty people with me to the show. So in bringing my own audience, they couldn’t keep us out anymore.”
Beyond addressing feminism and class struggles, Barr’s sitcom broke ground in humanizing same-sex relationships in the age of DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. “It was frightening,” Barr remembers. “I had my life threatened, but I had two gay siblings and felt I had to do it. I did change popular culture; it wasn’t Will & Grace, it wasn’t Ellen. I made it easy for them. I opened a door and they walked through it. I did pay the price, and so did my family.”
Barr will be performing at 8 p.m. tonight at Lannie’s, 1601 Arapahoe Street. The show is a fundraiser for the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations; tickets, $75 to $125, are available at 303-293-0075 or lannies.com.
Wed., July 31, 8 p.m., 2013