These comics butt heads on 'Roseanne.' But their tweets are worth reading.
Roseanne Barr is a transphobic, conspiracy theory-pushing right-wing radical — with a slot on primetime TV.
Naturally, people have a lot of opinions about the "Roseanne" reboot.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
The show premiered on March 27 on ABC to 18 million viewers, exceeding expectations and prompting a (weirdly) ratings-obsessed Trump to give Barr a ring to send congratulations. *eye roll*
One person who had some thoughts on the reboot was actress and comedian Sarah Silverman.
Photo by Tara Ziemba/AFP/Getty Images.
Silverman tweeted on Thursday night that she "loved" the modernized series and its "familiar feeling of the old but [with] comedy [and] content so totally of this moment, like the angst within close families over politics."
watched @RoseanneOnABC last night & loved it. That familiar feeling of the old but w comedy & content so totally o… https://t.co/2KMQXXIxF8— Sarah Silverman (@Sarah Silverman) 1522338957
What the liberal Silverman didn't address, though, is Barr's lengthy list of extreme attitudes and behaviors. The 65-year-old has used her platform to legitimize several far-right conspiracy theories — including Pizzagate and the "cover-up" surrounding the death of Democratic National Convention staffer Seth Rich — and she has routinely peddled transphobic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic rhetoric through her work and social media presence.
Fellow actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani chimed in to remind Silverman what a mess Barr really has been.
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Replying to Silverman's tweet, Nanjiani explained he couldn't bring himself to watch Barr — "a person who mocks teens whose friends were murdered [and] who traffics in conspiracy theories that damage our world [and] reality."
Nanjiani was referring to a now-deleted tweet Barr posted claiming Parkland teen David Hogg, who's become a vocal advocate for gun control in the wake of his school's mass shooting in February, was giving a "Nazi salute" at the March for Our Lives rally. The ridiculous conspiracy theory has been widely debunked by fact-checkers.
In a follow-up tweet, "The Big Sick" star noted that, while he understands Barr is portraying a fictional character on TV, the real Roseanne's opinions and actions have made it impossible for him to support the sitcom — a view poignantly reiterated in a thoughtful New York Times op-ed from writer and feminist powerhouse Roxane Gay.
Silverman responded, "Look — I muted [Roseanne] years ago. But I think the show could [be] good is all."
Silverman — whose own series on Hulu focuses in part on bridging the gap between red and blue America — said the show is made by "lots of people [she] loves."
She also noted one particular storyline in the reboot's premiere she felt was significant: The elder Conners (played by Barr and John Goodman) "resisting, learning," and then finally "accepting" their grandson's preference for wearing skirts and nail polish.
That evolution, Silverman wrote, is "how change happens."
@kumailn @RoseanneOnABC I’m judging?Look- I muted her years ago. But I think the show could b good is all. It’s mad… https://t.co/Vp1Kg7VIE6— Sarah Silverman (@Sarah Silverman) 1522372593
One refreshing thing about the online exchange? It didn't ruin a friendship! It didn't get snarky or mean-spirited!
Their dialogue was civil and respectful, and in the end, they seemed to agree to disagree about the show.
Silverman ended her last message to Nanjiani with, "LOVE U."
Nanjiani concluded "❤️ you too a lot."
When it comes to Barr's bigotry — or any suggestion that one human is worth less than another — we can't agree to disagree. Her views are wrong and harmful. Full stop.
But when we're debating with good-intentioned people in our lives who we happen to disagree with, know that even the fiercest debates can still end with heart emojis.