Celebs Who Can't Stand Roseanne

Roseanne Barr isn't an easy person. Regardless of what you think of the star's particular brand of comedy, there's no denying she's a lot, and has a knack for getting under one's skin. Now that her hit ABC sitcom Roseanne has been exhumed, she's everywhere again, fielding calls from President Trump, inspiring think pieces by the pile, and doing everything in her power to make herself a cackling inevitability, wherever you happen to turn, however fast you can run. 

While fans are delighted to have The Conners back in circulation, plenty of folks probably hoped the Roseanne reboot would be a dismal failure. Unfortunately for them, more seasons of the show are on the way. Roseanne's caustic barbs (and unrelenting blabbermouth) have earned her no shortage of enemies over the years ... a fact she wears as a badge of honor. From fellow comedians like Bette Midler (who doesn't have a single nice thing to say) to former collaborators she's rubbed the wrong way (looking at you, Chuck Lorre), let's catalog all the celebs who probably wish Roseanne had taken the millennium off. 

Bette Midler thinks Roseanne is crass

In 1990, Bette Midler had lots of warm, wonderful things to say about her fellow comedians. She found Tracey Ullman "brilliant" and "witty beyond belief." She sang the praises of Carol Burnett, calling her "very, very classy." Whoopi Goldberg? She's "gifted" and "genuine in her work." But Midler also critiqued the younger generation of female comedians on the scene: "In recent years, the floodgates have opened, and the business has been taken over by low-life sluts," she told Redbook (via The Chicago Tribune). Midler didn't have a particularly divine opinion about Roseanne Barr in particular, saying.: "I think she's crass. The one time I saw her, she said something that so offended me I thought, 'What kind of barbarian are you?'" 

Oh, and one more thing, "Her humor is too dark and overwhelming. I'm sorry, but I don't think she's funny." Shots. Fired.

Barr was deeply angered by the soundbite and threatened to give Midler a good, old-fashioned knuckle sandwich. She told The Washington Post, "If I ever see her ugly face, I'm gonna slap ... her till her goddamn eyeballs spin — that b***h." In the same rant, she threatened to "pull off [Midler's] little wig" and "slap her til' she can't see straight." She capped the spiel with, "She called me a slut! My husband might beat up her husband!" Someone needed to simmer.

George Bush found her antics disgraceful

Long before Donald Trump rang up Roseanne, another President was weighing in on Barr's humor, albeit unfavorably. In 1990, nobody in the known universe (or any adjacent multiverse) was particularly pleased with Barr. She'd just alienated the entire world by "singing" The Star-Spangled Banner at a Padres-Reds double-header in San Diego. Then-President George Bush, Sr. was quick to respond to the shrill and shrieking performance, telling reporters he found Barr's performance "disgraceful."

"That is the way I feel about it," Bush said of the crotch-grabbing, spit-hocking stunt, "and I think a lot of San Diego fans said the same thing."

Later that week, Barr held a press conference to try to quell the furor (or perhaps to further stoke the flames). Asked to respond to Bush's comment, Barr wasn't exactly contrite. "Well, I'm sorry I didn't sing so good," she snapped, "but I'd like to hear him sing it."

At least one good thing came out of all his: Bush didn't rise to the challenge.

Rob Reiner could barely endure a drunk Roseanne

You know what position we wouldn't want to find ourselves in? Being on the receiving end of a drunk Roseanne Barr, particularly while she babbles about Russia. Legendary director Rob Reiner found himself in this very predicament during a recent New York jaunt, if a since-deleted 2017 tweet from Barr can be believed. According to Consequences of Sound, Barr boasted, "I drank too much in NYC and saw Rob Reiner and could not help myself — I went over to him and got into a fight with him over all that Russian BS." She reportedly told Reiner he's "buying fake news."

Anyway. Reiner didn't dig this guano-insane scene even a little bit. Reiner allegedly told Barr, "I'm not going to listen to this. I'm out of here." And, in case you're wondering why the She-Devil star confronted the Say Anything director about Russia, it's because Reiner had just formed a non-profit group with journalist David Frum called The Committee to Investigate Russia. In a way, he was kind-of asking for it, wasn't he?

​Jamaica Kincaid vs. Roseanne: Who knew?

This is an odd one. Did you know Roseanne Barr has a longstanding feud with Antiguan-American novelist and essayist Jamaica Kincaid? It all began in 1996, when Tina Brown, then editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, hired Barr as a guest editor for a special issue. Several literary types got terribly snooty about the choice — particularly Kincaid, a staff writer for the mag, who immediately quit her post in a huff. "I think she rushed to judgment and should have waited for the issue," Brown told The New York Times when asked about all this high-minded literary intrigue. Afterwards, Kincaid didn't let it go, telling Newsweek (via Nobrow), "Put me in a room with a great writer, I grovel. Put me in with Roseanne, I throw up." She stopped just short of nicknaming her Roseanne Barf.

In a since-deleted 2013 tweet (via The Awl), Barr meditated further on the Kincaid controversy, writing that she's "a repugnant classist." She's also claimed Kincaid and her ilk "don't like working class people." Hopefully we haven't heard the last of this particular blemish on the pop-cultural landscape, because it's one of the unlikeliest celebrity conflicts known to man.

​Chuck Lorre allegedly said she beat the wit out of him

Relations between uber-exec Chuck Lorre and Roseanne Barr have never been particularly cute. In 2011, Barr claimed the Big Bang Theory creator was perpetually drunk on-set when working as a writer on Roseanne in 1988. In 2011, she alleged, "I fired Chuck Lorre for being a big drunk on my show, and he went on to become one of TV's most successful writers (about d**k jokes)." As Splitsider reported in 2013, Barr once accused Lorre and Ashton Kutcher of stealing one of her jokes on Two and a Half Men, calling him "a thief, a con, and a classist a*****e." (Meanwhile, the off-color joke is so alarmingly unfunny, nobody should be wanting credit for it.)

Also worthy of mention: In a since-deleted blog (via New York Daily News), Barr claimed Lorre "got p*****d off at me for refusing to be part of his brilliance." She also revealed Lorre had reportedly accused her of "beat[ing] the wit of him." 

That would at least explain the writing on Two and a Half Men.

Arsenio Hall's insults carried considerable heft

According to the National Enquirer, Arsenio Hall gravely insulted Roseanne in 1990. While taping The Arsenio Hall Show, he reportedly flashed a not-so becoming photo of Barr and Tom Arnold frolicking in swimsuits on their honeymoon. "Remember the whales?" he sniped. "Well, they're back!" With revenge in mind, Barr called Hall a "black nerd" and "triangle-headed Eddie Murphy look-alike mother*****r" during a stand-up comedy routine in Las Vegas, as Entertainment Weekly reported in 1990.

According to Ebony, Hall said "the gloves were off" when Barr insinuated he might be gay. "She did a joke where she said there have been great comedy teams in the world: Lucy and Ricky, George and Gracie, and Arsenio and Jim Nabors." That was the last straw. "When you challenge a black man's ... manhood ... there are no rules anymore," he said. 

According to Vanity Fair, Hall doesn't buy Barr's assertion that calling her fat was analogous to racism, saying, "Fat people weren't brought from Fatland and forced to work for free and separated from their fat relatives and hung from large trees." Yikes.

Tom Arnold is not voting for Roseanne

"For christ sakes, I remember when you used to be a comedian." That's not a line from Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? That's self-professed "alcoholic, stand up comic, actor" Tom Arnold, Barr's now-estranged ex, in an online fight with his former betrothed. The two had a very messy, very public divorce in 1994 after Barr alleged that Arnold "hit me, struck me, has thrown objects at me, pinched me and verbally abused me."

Hosting Saturday Night Live in 1994, Barr insulted the size of a particular part of Arnold's anatomy during her opening monologue, to which he later retorted, "A 747 looks small when it lands in the Grand Canyon." (Barr also famously quipped, "I'm not upset about my divorce [to Arnold]. I'm only upset I'm not a widow.") In 1996, Arnold also awkwardly insulted Barr while presenting at the Golden Globe Awards, much to co-presenter Teri Hatcher's visible discomfort.

Even today, their relationship remains messy and very public. In a 2018 review of the Roseanne revival published in The Hollywood Reporter, Arnold casually called Barr a "Trump-loving troll" and described how she allegedly treated him during the divorce. Infractions included firing him from Roseanne, plus "destroying the trophy case in my office, canceling my credit cards, and promising I'd never work in show business again."

Writer Ken Levine finds Barr relentlessly combative

A highly sought-after sitcom writer in the '80s, Ken Levine made a name for himself pounding out episodes of long-running hits like Cheers, M.A.S.H., and Frasier — but a blog post he wrote in 2011 also attracted plenty of eyeballs. In response to  "And I Should Know," a Hollywood take-down Barr wrote for New York in 2011, Levine painted Barr in a most unpleasant light.

Though Barr and Levine have never worked on the same sitcom together, he wanted the reading public to know that she "treated people like s***" during her Roseanne years," and alleged she was "relentlessly combative." He also found her take on male writers "insulting." According to Vulture, Barr responded to the criticism in a (since-deleted) blog post, where she suggested Levine "loathe(s) women." That's when Laurie Gelman, a former Roseanne writer-producer, jumped into the fray, saying Roseanne Barr was the sexist one in this scenario. "This is a woman who is definitely threatened by smart, funny women and has to alpha dog all competitors," Gelman added.

​Jon Voight thinks Roseanne is of sick mind

Roseanne Barr has always had a knack for riling people — including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and her actor father, Jon Voight. In 2008, the New York Daily News revealed Barr had gone on another bloggy tangent, calling Brad Pitt "vacuous" and Angelina Jolie an "evil spawn." The (deleted) blog post reportedly included such gems as, "Go back to making your movies about women who love to handle big guns that shoot hundreds of people to death." Barr was allegedly angry at Voight for supporting John McCain during the 2008 election, writing that the Deliverance star is nothing but "a frightened little girl in a pink ballet tutu."

Neither Jolie nor Pitt dignified the tantrum with a response. Voight, on the other hand, decided no one accuses him of wearing a tutu and gets away with it. He wrote a statement to Extra (via  New York Daily News) that said Barr is "of sick mind" and "Her defaming of our National Anthem in 1990 gave us insight into who she is and what she is capable of saying and doing."

​Comedian Ben Kronberg is not amused

Shouldn't we get twice the hilarity when comedians collide? Evidently not. Judging by the two-hour premiere of Last Comic Standing in 2014, Barr majorly butted heads with one of the contestants. Ben Kronberg 's routine largely consisted of basking in uncomfortable silence, and Barr didn't appreciate the risky move even a little bit "I think you wasted a lot of time up there," she snapped at him.

"I would prefer if you started with a compliment," Kronberg retorted cheekily. "But I'll take your out-of-the-gate criticism." Barr didn't take too kindly to that sassiness and called Kronberg "arrogant." The drama came to a head after Roseanne huffed, "Go f*** yourself, Ben." Thanks to Kronberg's crafty social media maneuverings, the phrase became a meme by morning. "Roseanne told me to go f***  myself," he tweeted. "Now you can too." His followers uploaded boatloads of videos in which they tell Kronberg to you-know-what, hashtagging their efforts #GoF***YourselfBen.

Looks like Kronberg hasn't forgiven Barr for the burn, either. As of April 2017, he was still sarcastically billing himself as "Roseanne's favorite comedian."

Matt Williams wrote himself out of her life

"I just want to be known for my work. And I don't want to be known as the guy that's fighting with Roseanne Barr forever." So said Roseanne creator Matt Williams in a 1989 Los Angeles Times article, but the jury's still out whether or not he ever got his wish. Original called Life & Stuff, the sitcom was based on Williams' working-class upbringing in Evansville, Indiana, and heavily influenced by Barr's stand-up comedy. Despite Roseanne being a massive hit for ABC, the show was plagued by backstage skirmishes from the get-go: Barr threatened to leave after a mere 13 episodes were under her belt unless Williams was ousted. Network execs caved to her demands and allowed her to take over Williams' position. At the time, Williams said his termination was "symptomatic of an industry disdain for writers in general. The feeling is that writing isn't important, that what's important is the star. And to me, that's very, very sad."

Indeed, Barr went through writers faster than Mars bars, even referring to them by numbers rather than names. As far as his own personal beef, Williams doesn't want people to think "that I walked off the show in a snit." He told the Chicago Tribune he "left the show reluctantly", and said abandoning the show "felt like [leaving] the baby on the doorstep-and somebody else has to raise it."

Jason Alexander read Roseanne for filth

It began on a day much like today, in a seemingly innocent CBS parking lot, sometime in the mid-90s. After taking care of some Seinfeld business, Julia Louis-Dreyfus returned to her car, where she found a strongly-worded note slipped under her windshield. It was penned by Tom Arnold (who was still married to Roseanne Barr at the time), and the missive didn't mince words when expressing his displeasure with the future Veep star. "How stupid are you? Move your f*****g car, you a*****e!" Louis-Dreyfus had inadvertently parked her car in Tom Arnold's spot ... and he wouldn't let her forget it.

The note inspired Larry David, Jason Alexander, and Louis-Dreyfus to confront him. It must've been a colorfully-worded convo, because it only succeeded in making matters worse. According to Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed ­Everything (via New York Post), Louis-Dreyfus returned to her car shortly after the discussion to find "a Polaroid of someone's buttocks left on her windshield and the word 'c***t' written in soap".

Asked about the skirmish during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Barr reportedly called Louis-Dreyfus a "b***h" and contemptuously snorted, "They think they're doing Samuel Beckett instead of a sitcom."

Jason Alexander got the last laugh (sort of?) when asked to weigh in on the ballyhoo. "I am willing to bet that she has never read anything Beckett ever wrote," he sniped. 

Not even Krapp's Last Tape? That's harsh.