But don't take our word for it. You can see her in action for yourself -- hunting the wild pigs who roam her property, surfing, riding a motorcycle, hanging out with her longtime boyfriend, Johnny Argent, and her family and hosting famous pals like Sandra Bernhard and Phyllis Diller -- on her new reality show 'Roseanne's Nuts' (premieres Wed., July 13, 9PM ET on Lifetime).
In honor of her return to the tube, AOL TV enjoyed a delightful chat with Roseanne. (Imagine a free-flowing conversation with the Roseanne you've always seen on TV -- it's, as the comedienne herself would say, rad). She talked about her reasons for starring in a celebreality show, why her unscripted show isn't totally unscripted, her plans for future TV, book and Broadway projects and how one of the world's major problems can be solved ... by going nuts.
I think 'Roseanne' is one of the greatest shows ever, and it's really my pleasure to speak with you.
Oh, that's sweet, thanks.
So, I've seen the first episode of 'Roseanne's Nuts,' and I think it's really fun.
You do? You love it? What do you think of those pigs? They're something, aren't they?
I grew up on a farm. Not with wild pigs, but with pigs. I know they can be crazy, though.How many do you have?
I don't know what to do with them -- there's hundreds of them. This guy that I hired, he said he can take 30 out a month if I hired him to hunt them, you know? He said he could hunt 30, probably trap 30 pigs a month, and I said, "For how long?" And he said, "At least a year." It's overrun with them.
What would he do with them? Would he kill them or keep them?
Kill them. Yeah, the Hawaiian people eat them. It's kind of culture shock, but at least they eat what they hunt so you can't be against that I guess ... I don't know.
Are you still trying to hunt them yourself, like we see you doing in the premiere of 'Roseanne's Nuts'?
Oh, no, I don't know. I'm trying to telepathically communicate with them. That's what the whole show is about. It's like I'm trying to communicate with them like two intelligent beings, cross species, and that's my task on this show.
And is that working at all? Are they kind of getting the sense that you don't want to harm them, at least?
Well, this one is. I made it my pet. They wanted to actually kill and roast this one pig, but I just ended up having a long talk with him. I kind of turned him into my pet and put a bandana on him, and I put him in a pen over there because my neighbors told me, "Well, if you keep a pig near your macadamia nut trees, they'll plow up the ground and their poop is the right nitrate. So it will actually be the best thing for your trees." So now I'm thinking of using them as labor. [Laughs]
What made you decide to do the show?
Just the grand questions that I was asking myself every day, living closer to the earth and being a farmer. All the things that being a farmer entails, like genetically-modified organisms, just all of it. It's huge ... and the politics of food. I thought I could come up with a show about the politics of food, and how do we really get protein to the hungry? I thought maybe I'd be able to answer those questions in this kind of context.
Are you happy with how it's gone so far? You've shot all the episodes, right?
Yeah, pretty much. I'm happy with the first four. I've OK'd all of the first four. I like them all. The ones after that, I just love the subject matter. Like, one of them is, I have a water gun fight with my grandsons, and of course I win. That one was a blast! As I did with my own kids, you've got to lay on top of them sometimes. You've got to use your big girl weight to your advantage. I draw them down and kind of lay across them and shoot them right in the face with my gun ... with my water gun. And they thought they had me, but that was the coup de grâce, and it was a blast.
Will we get to meet all of your grandkids, and all of your children, on the show?
Well, this season, you'll be meeting my son Jake, and my daughter and son‑in‑law and their four sons. You'll be meeting my mother, and my brother and, if later on I want to ... all my kids want to be in it, that's what I should say. They all want to be in this. They're thinking of what it is they could do on the show. I'm trying to force all the rest of them that won't move over there to move over there. I guess I'm using fame and fortune as a lure. I'm trying to get my daughter in Colorado to move out there. She has a little boy that I love and I don't get to see him too much, and he is a rock star, and I think he should be on the show, really. Seriously, he's like ... I swear to god, he's the next Bono. He's only three, but he's got it.
What's the possibility of you doing another sitcom at this point?Is that something you would consider?
Only if they'll allow me to nude scenes. [Laughs]
Well, there's cable. That's possible now.
I want to be on the networks, though, for a sitcom. I think I should do that on a big network, probably.
There's so much more freedom on cable, though.
Well, I would want to do cable, actually. I've enjoyed being on cable for ('Roseanne's Nuts'), because it really did give me a lot of autonomy. You know, they let me do a lot of things I wanted to do, which I was really grateful for. That was fun.
But something scripted ...
Well, my reality show is pretty scripted. I scripted out a whole arc from beginning to middle to end, and ... I am thinking to blur the line between reality and reality television. So this show, it definitely does have ... It's unscripted, but actually that means scripted, but I didn't get paid [scripted TV money].
OK, well that sounds like the worst of all worlds, though.
No, it's the best, because my best lines ... I had some good lines, that's all I can say. I like jokes, I like writing jokes, and I put a lot of them into this show. And I also did a lot of fun physical comedy, like me running and knocking down trees and doing the hula, and I also surfed. I always longed to do physical comedy, but I never got the chance. But me surfing ... that was pretty wild. And I did get up on my knees, too, it was rad.
So we'll see that in an upcoming episode of the show?
Yeah, and I'm driving bulldozers, hunting pigs, cutting down trees. Fighting with my boyfriend, having a squirt gun fight with my grandson. And Phyllis Diller and Sandra Bernhard come over, and we go out drinking and Phyllis let slip some of her stories. She's 94 years old. So she's like a living goddess, you know, and she talks about how she started doing standup in a laundromat. Pretty amazing. And Michael Fishman also comes on the show, which, he's also like a son to me. He played DJ (on 'Roseanne'), so it's kind of weird that he and my real son are good friends.
I really loved the piece you wrote recently for New York magazine, about fame and your experience on 'Roseanne.' It was good to get more on that situation from your perspective. Do you feel like people still don't really know what happened all those years ago?
I don't know if they ... I probably just have not really had the distance before to really kind of help me piece it all together myself. So I probably haven't really told the story yet. I just barely put it all together, you know? You've got to have a lot of distance from some kind of trauma like that to see it clearly.
Is it something you would delve into further, then? Like, for a whole book just on that topic?
That's what people are telling me I should do, and I always thought I would write more on the subject because, oh my god, it was like such a weird time. Getting to meet the President of the United States, Bill Clinton. All of the things that happened to me ... they were just mind‑blowing.
You also have a great Twitter feed. You seem to have really embraced it ...
I love that Twitter. I'm addicted to it. My kids, my friends, they want to turn off my electricity so I can't get at it. I just love it. I'm addicted to it. I might kill somebody if they try to keep me off there.
Do you like the fact that it limits how much you can say at once?
Oh, it's like a super‑editor. A writer is always looking for the right editor, which I felt I found in that New York magazine piece. The fact that you have to put it in so few characters, it really does force you to be sharper. You really have to pull your shit together and focus. Which is kind of hard for writers, but I mean, when you do? I mean, each little thing seems like it's becoming a work of art. You want to convey so much in very few characters. It makes you smarter, I think. Like, I wanted to compliment Diane Sawyer on her fantastic interview with that incredible Jaycee Dugard. A saint, a living saint. So I thought of the three words I'd use to describe her ... elegant, eloquent, goddess.
Have you thought about doing another talk show?
I have thought of doing another talk show. I definitely have. You know, I'm always thinking too many thoughts, and that was another thing about my reality show. When somebody calls you almost every day, and they have another idea for you ... you have 30 options a month, all equally fantastic. You get paralyzed by indecision. That's kind of why I decided to do this show, because, I mean, I have so many great ideas for other shows. I just couldn't decide. So I thought, well, that's kind of funny to show a woman that has to control the pig population and is kind of figuring out if she wants to do another show or a movie or what. You know, making my decision while patrolling my boundaries for pigs just makes for the total Roseanne experience.
What about doing something on Broadway? Turning your New York magazine article into a great one-woman show ...
I know! That's the meeting I'm having tomorrow. I feel like, kind of creatively renewed by going back to work. [Lifetime] made it easy and fun for me, so that was a great way to return to work. And I enjoyed working every day for about 13 weeks. I was really able to do it. I wasn't physically spent or emotionally upset. It was fantastic. Thank god for alcohol! [Laughs]
Alcohol and macadamia nuts.
And mac nuts, yeah. Alcohol and macadamia nuts.
Have you figured out how to make a drink, a cocktail, out of them yet?
I hadn't until I just said it right now, but I will figure it out. We made cheese and milk out of them. We made nut butter. It's so good. We also ... I wanted to say about my farm, I'm raising bees, because bees are very, very important, as farmers know. I made this mac nut butter, but I also have my own honey. I used my homemade honey and my homemade mac nuts, and I created a mac nut honey butter for my family and myself, and it was quite good. Everyone should Twitter ... I like when everybody Twitters their favorite recipes to me.
Will you sell the macadamia nuts from your farm?
I'm trying to figure out how to do that, you know. There is a factory on the Big Island that has offered to buy my nuts and can them and sell them there. I just want to be able to help people on the Big Island get some jobs. They really need some jobs over there. I'd just love to be able to help create jobs. I think that'd be rad.
And then my ultimate goal, of course, is to sell or give all of my nuts to the United Nations so they can just transport them to the hungry people throughout the world. Because the nuts are just very ... the nuts are just a fantastic gift of the gods. They are mostly protein. They do have the right kind of fat in them, too, that we need for our brains. So little kids, just eating like six to eight nuts a day ... You know what I mean? I look at that as a way to really save the world, because if people are getting their protein from nuts instead of beef, there would be enough grain to feed everybody. I'm always trying to seek solutions. You know why? Because if you do have a mental illness, the only way out of that whole matrix is through kind of a shifting of your mindset to one of being able to devise and recognize a solution, rather than staying in the shock and the trauma of the problem.