We all know Roseanne Barr can be a little on the “nuts” side on the normal scale.
I, personally, grew up relating way too closely to a lot of what went down in the Conner household. So don’t get me wrong, I think she’s hilarious. But during her most recent interview with Tim Teeman of The Daily Beast, Barr revealed a shocking and not at all funny detail about her health: She has macular degeneration and glaucoma and is, as a result, going blind.
Deadpan, I-can’t-tell-if-you’re-joking comedic delivery has always been her thing, but her responses to the interviewer’s questions revealed so much more about the comedian than I think she realized.
The interview was done in conjunction with the release of a film about her 2012 run for president called Roseanne for President!, which was produced by documentarian Eric Weinrib. He said working with Barr is, “like getting f***ed up with your friends playing with a video camera, and thinking that it would be hilarious if other people would watch it — only in this case it was true because the person I was hanging out with was a world-famous comedic icon.”
For Barr, the disease runs in her family. “My dad had it, too,” she said. And she has turned to medicinal marijuana to combat the effects of her conditions.
“It’s a good medicine, you know… It’s good for me for [macular degeneration and glaucoma] because I have pressure in my eyes,” she said. But she continued, “It’s expansive. It opens your mind. You’re like… Wow, you’re in awe. You look up into the stars. It makes you wonder. It doesn’t close that down.”
Her response to Teeman’s question about her eyesight is a testament to her comedic legacy of not knowing if she’s being serious or not. She said, “No, they can’t [give me a time frame on when I will go blind.] My vision is closing in now. It’s something weird. But there are other weird things. That one’s harsh, ’cause I read a lot, and then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I could hire somebody to read for me and read to me.’ But I like words and I like looking. You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible — y’know, living it up.”
When I first read what she said, I was taken aback, thinking, “What a strange way to think about losing your vision.” Then I thought more about exactly what she said and the way she said it. She likes looking. After thinking about the way she turned that phrase, I thought of how profound it truly is. Striking a clear line between seeing something and looking at or for something. What an interesting insight into the way Barr takes in the world around her.
Whether she meant it that way or not, Barr’s musings about losing her sight should make you re-examine the way you look at the world every day and the things you might take for granted looking at.