Day Three of 50 with Rosie O’Donnell

by Sheila Carmody
Guaranteed Press


Just before Rosie’s show at Gotham Comedy Club, we stopped by an art exhibit in Chelsea and this was my favorite: Richard Haines: A Room of One’s Own Daniel Cooney|Fine Art

A perfect storm doesn’t usually lend itself to stand-up comedy — during the storm – but certainly by the time Rosie O’Donnell reaches the 50th time on stage performing her newest stand-up act she’ll have what’s she’s looking for: a new, fully formed HBO special.

Rosie performed the first four shows of what she said will take 50 times on stage before she has a polished act ready for prime time this weekend at Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea, NYC. I attended performance No. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17th.

And, having seen her twice before, both times at Levity Live in Nyack, NY, (the first time with her return to stand up after 10 years and the second for the recording of her last special “A Heartfelt Stand up”), I think I can say: her personal, triple threat slump — estranged wife, dead father and rebellious teenagers — will only make her a better comedian. And perhaps more beloved (which she is) by her fans, who were certainly out in full force this weekend.

Rosie looked a bit more unsure of herself than usual as she gingerly approached the stage Saturday night. She signed on for the weekend’s four shows five months ago when her life looked quite a bit different. But once she took the stage – aside from a few overeager, high octane audience members who interrupted the performance to “share” with her – the early act seems to have the promise of becoming the full-fledged HBO show she’s working toward.

Consider the material: it sounds very much like a George Carlin act. Death, pissed off rebellion, drugs, mental illness, sex, child abuse and some other stuff too.

Rosie of course knows on some level, as painful as recent months have been, the best stories come from pain. Some of her best Saturday night, included:

  • The cat named Pussy.
  • Her imitation of Tatum O’Neal.
  • Feeding her son pizza to keep him from going into the military.

Rosie was definitely feeling unsure of getting on stage, judging by the fact that she said she’d been in therapy every day for the week leading up to Saturday night. Unfortunately she no longer has the British sounding therapist who once told her that the pain she was feeling in her arms (which was actually a heart attack!) was probably (cue the posh British accent) “some psychosomatic trauma transferred. You saw the fat woman. And you thought, ‘That could be me.'” (Click here for the video of Rosie imitating her therapist.)

O’Donnell of course addressed some of the way her life has changed as of late. My own theory of why she’s hounded by the media is because she doesn’t write her own story. She lets others do it for her and then just trusts her PR person to go on the defense. A good offense is the best defense, Rosie!

Whatever the result of her latest project, it will likely be cathartic for her. And we were privileged to get in on the early stages of its development.

Of course, we’ve all experienced the kinds of heartache and — let’s face it — life’s lessons Rosie has learned as of late, but then luckily not in the New York Post. But she’ll get past it. We’ll get past it. And hopefully, eventually, I can get tickets to it!

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