Judd Apatow believes Roseanne Barr is struggling with her mental health as the actress is condemned for her racist diatribes on Twitter.
Apatow has worked with Barr for many years. He wrote on and produced one of her comedy in the early 1990s, and the two were publicly friendly for most of the intervening years. However, recently Barr has blocked Apatow on Twitter. The two are on polar opposite political sides on the social media app, and that puzzles Apatow. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, he allowed himself to guess at what might be going on with Barr, who he called an "old friend," and how her successful sitcom got canceled.
“I think you have a person who’s in a moment of success and maybe that’s uncomfortable for her, and whatever urges she has to be rebellious have overtaken her in some way,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to her recently to know where her head’s at generally, but I see it more as someone who’s crying out for help than someone who’s a hateful person … for the most part, I hope she’s okay and I feel bad for people who got hurt in that. Everyone who worked with her, it’s tragic.”
As for whether or not it was fair to cancel Barr's show, Apatow said that she is not "really built to be on top of that pyramid, in charge of a lot of people, responsible for them, because she has her own struggles."
"I’ve never heard her say anything that was racist in decades. So I don’t know where that comes from," he continued. "It’s as mysterious to me as anybody else. But there’s a lot of people who get pulled into these worlds of conspiracies and I really don’t understand it because all she was was a proponent of women … the only way I can process it is, in some way, Roseanne is in some sort of altered state of her mind. And I just hope that she finds her way back to the values that were really important to her when I first met her."
Apatow recently addressed the issue tangentially in an episode of Harmontown, a talk show-style podcast hosted by Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon. There, he and the show's cast talked about how the coverage of Barr's firing made lots of mention of the dozens of crew members who lost their jobs over her tweets.
"There's wardrobe people, and make-up people, and grips, and carpenters, and all this stuff," said co-host Jeff Davis.
"I was kind of happy about one aspect of the Roseanne thing, which was that actually for the first time in mainstream media, talking about the television industry, there was a big talking point that was '200 people lost their jobs,'" added Harmon. "We never really talk about that. And also, it's not always true."
He went on to recount how the issue of his scores of employees was used to make him feel guilty while working on Community.
"But do you think — I mean, I know this sounds weird," Apatow began, "but everyone in show business is in the circus. So, this isn't like people who have been working at Ford for 20 years, and the show goes down and they never get a job again. They all just jump on another f—ing Hulu show," he said to laughter from the audience. "Like, it sucks, and you may have three or four bad months ... It definitely sucks. It's awful. But. All of these shows are eight or ten episodes. There's so much demand for crews."
Apatow went on to sympathize with the cast members of Roseanne, who had just returned to their most recognizable roles.0comments
"You know who gets screwed, is certain actors and actresses, they can only work on that show. You know? There are certain people on Roseanne who, you go, 'this is where they're going to score.'"
This week, Barr agreed to allow ABC to make a spin-off of Roseanne called The Conners, in which she will have no involvement and no financial stake.