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Roseanne Roseannadanna

"Roseanne Roseannadanna" was one of several recurring characters created by Gilda Radner who appeared in the Weekend Update segments of the early seasons of the NBC comedy television show, Saturday Night Live. Like Radner's earlier character, Emily Litella, Roseanne was brought in to give editorial replies to current issues. Unlike Emily Litella, however, Roseanne Roseannadanna was not meek or apologetic, but rather very explosive. The character later appeared in Radner's live one-woman shows. Her name is likely a reference to the WABC-TV newswoman from 1972-84 Rose Ann Scamardella.

As portrayed by Radner, Roseannadanna was a brash, tactless woman with wild hair.

Contents

Routine

Roseannadanna's Saturday Night Live commentary would follow a strict formula. She would read a letter from the ever-curious Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey (although, on one occasion, she read a letter from a "Mrs." Richard Feder, and on another occasion the Feders had re-located to Mount St. Helens, Washington). The letter would ask a series of questions, usually about some current social issue, to which Roseannadanna would usually reply, "Mr. Feder, you sure do ask a lot of stupid questions for a guy from New Jersey," or "You belong in New Jersey!" Then she would sometimes make a derogatory comment about New Jersey. She would then answer the questions.

While answering the questions, she would invariably digress, launching into a lengthy anecdote with no relevance to the topic at hand, frequently having to do with an encounter Roseannadanna had had with a celebrity (Bo Derek, Princess Grace, etc.). Invariably, the story would lead into Roseannadanna's going into disgustingly graphic detail about bodily functions or personal hygiene; with these details, she would use a famous celebrity as an example and say that she would ask these celebrities, "What are ya tryin' to do, make me sick?!"

Eventually, Jane Curtin would interrupt, stating, "Roseanne, you're making me sick". Curtin would then ask her what her comments had to do with the question. Roseannadanna's response was, "Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it's always something."

She would then wrap up her comments by sharing a piece of advice passed down from a family member (often her father, but sometimes her "Nana" Roseannadanna; in one episode, she mentioned her aunt Pollyanna Roseannadanna, while in others, her "musically happening cousin, Carlos Santana Roseannadanna", her religious aunt Hosanna Roseannadanna, and her singing cousin Lola Falana Roseannadanna).

Characterization

The character also had a tendency to refer to herself by her full name whenever possible ("Mr. Feder, I know what you're talkin' about, because, I, Roseanne Roseannadanna, once had the same thing happen to me.") and often exaggerated her tribulations, saying, "I thought I was gonna die!"

For example, she was talking about eating a hamburger in a restaurant and how she felt something hard in it. And she spit it out and it was white and looked like a toenail. She said, "I thought I was gonna die. I mean, what was a toenail doing in my hamburger?" Then she went to the restroom and on the way to the restroom she saw Princess Lee Radziwill who she described as the "classy lady that no one knows where she's the princess of." But what the Princess didn't know was she had a tiny piece of toilet paper hanging off her shoe, and she was walking around and the toilet paper wouldn't fall off. "I thought I was gonna be sick. So I says to her, 'Hey Princess Lee—what are ya tryin' to do, make me sick?' " So Jane Curtin asked her what this had to do with anything. Roseanne said, "Well it just goes to show you, it's always something, you either got a toenail in your hamburger or toilet paper clinging to your shoe."

After Saturday Night Live

In Radner's off-Broadway one-woman show, she included a sketch where Roseanadanna was invited to give the commencement speech at Columbia University. In an apparent attempt to prepare the new graduates for the hard road ahead, she described a job interview she'd had with CBS, in which Walter Cronkite mistakenly thought she'd "passed gas" and consequently kicked her out of his office. The character was later credited as "co-author" of Radner's book Roseanne Roseannadanna's Hey Get Back to Work. In the last year of her life, Radner released a memoir of her experience with ovarian cancer, entitled It's Always Something. Radner also recorded the book on audio, imitating Roseannadanna and other of her SNL characters when describing those parts of her life.

List of SNL episodes featuring Rosanne Roseannadanna

The character also appeared in Radner's 1979 one-woman-show, Gilda Live.

See also

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