Roseanne Barr Namechecks Dave Chappelle And Louis C.K. While Reflecting On Losing Everything After ABC Firing

Five years ago, there was a point when it was impossible to seek out pop culture news without Roseanne Barr's controversial fall from sitcom grace taking over headlines, with Roseanne's high-profile cancellation giving way to The Conners' existence. Now, she’s made her small-screen return in a way that has embraced her comedic roots, with the recent debut of Fox Nation’s stand-up comedy special Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! Understandably, it has sparked quite a bit of looking back at that tumultuous period, and she brought up Dave Chappelle and others when speaking to how peeved she still is about it all.

To promote the special, Barr talked with the L.A. Times all about being fired for her firestorm of a tweet about former White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, and how she was subsequently fired from the high-rated ABC revival and fell out of the spotlight. While other comedians have certainly taken hits from “cancel culture,” as it were, Barr views herself as being the only one who really lost everything, as opposed to certain others. In her words:

They didn’t do it to anyone else in Hollywood, although they always throw in Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K. Well, Louis C.K. did lose everything, but he committed an actual [offense]. And Dave Chappelle was protected by Netflix. I’m the only person who’s lost everything, whose life’s work was stolen, stolen by people who I thought loved me. And there was silence. There was no one in Hollywood really defending me publicly, except for Mo'nique, who is a brave, close, dear friend.

Roseanne Barr brought up Dave Chappelle as being protected by Netflix against the array of complaints made against him and his comedy specials for jokes targeted at the trans community, among others. While he didn’t have a network sitcom that was in danger of being axed, Chappelle followed up his own controversy by hosting SNL, which definitely wasn’t an option for Barr. 

Louis C.K., meanwhile, followed his FX show’s cancellation with self-released albums and specials, all while touring and addressing his past transgressions involving unwarranted masturbating in front of women. The comedian also won the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for Sincerely Louis C.K., and was nominated in the same category this year for the album Sorry, which lost to Dave Chappelle’s The Closer.  

At this point, perhaps Roseanne Barr is on the path to her own Grammy success with her Fox Nation special, but that’s for the future. For now, she’s just trying to get comfortable being back on stage, and shared how pumped she was for this to be her most offensive stand-up set yet, which is certainly saying something. Barr says she wasn’t given the platform by ABC to properly apologize and explain herself in the past, and she definitely doesn’t seem all too interested in playing nice now. 

When asked about making a return to performing after everything imploded at ABC, which included a 2019 touring stint with Andrew Dice Clay, she answered:

At first it was terrifying. I was really afraid because I didn’t know how people were going to respond. I was afraid to even go outside for a while. So I would go to comedy clubs around the West here, and these friends of mine would call me up on stage to do five or 10 minutes. That helped. Joe Rogan helped me a lot. And it got easier and easier. People showed me so much love. I was kind of overwhelmed by that.

While The Conners has definitely referenced the character Roseanne Conner in the years since killing her off via overdose, the show obviously hasn’t ever invited the flagship series’ titular matriarch back in any capacity. (Presumably via flashback, but this IS a series that is familiar with retconning past storylines.) Maybe it’ll happen before it’s all over with, though. Or maybe she’ll start touring with both Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K. later this year. 2023 is wild. 

Check out a trailer for Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! below. 

The special can be streamed now via Fox Nation, while classic Roseanne episodes are available to stream now with a Peacock subscription.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.