Roseanne Barr Responds to 'Black-ish', 'Fresh Off the Boat' Joke Criticism

Roseanne Barr finally spoke out about her hit series mocking Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat.

The ABC comedy caught some controversy after its April 3 episode showed Roseanne (Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) waking up after falling asleep on the couch to make a joke some thought distasteful.

Roseanne is scared awake by one of Dan's loud snores and she realizes the two have overslept.

"Dan! You're snoring, wake up!" Roseanne says as she jolts her husband awake. Dan asks what time it is and if he missed dinner.

"It's 11 o'clock! We slept from Wheel to Kimmel," Roseanne says referencing Wheel of Fortune and ABC's Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel.

"We missed all the shows about black and Asian families," Dan says.

"Hmmm, they're just like us. There you're all caught up," Roseanne responds, dismissing Dan's comment.

While not mentioning them by name, Roseanne referred to ABC comedies Black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat, family comedies that have been well-received by critics for representing minorities on primetime television.

In a conversation with Canada's The Star, Barr scoffed at criticism of the joke, claiming she does not regret including it in the episode.

"They misinterpreted the whole joke," Barr said. "I mean, it's just ridiculous. They don't even get it."

She also questioned the motivation of her critics.

"They're gunning for me," she said. "They're gunning for my show. It's part of being No. 1. It's part of being the best. They totally misinterpreted it. That was a joke that was supportive of their shows."

After the episode aired, many critics took to social media and news outlets to express their anger at the joke.

Taiwanese-American actor, writer and producer Kelvin Yu took to Twitter Thursday to slam Roseanne for the joke in a nine-tweet thread.

"Here's why the Roseanne joke about 'missing all the shows about Black and Asian families' matters. At the very least, it's reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than 'Black' and 'Asian' in their existence. But the real kicker is when Roseanne says: 'They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up.' Which implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That's it. The stories, the humor, the characters... not important," Yu, who previously starred on Master of None, wrote on the tweets.

Yu continued: "Then you take ALLLLLL of that and put it in the mouth of an avowed Trump supporter (not the actress — the CHARACTER of Roseanne) and you have one stinky little s— sandwich of a joke that ABC allowed to be served in their own restaurant. It's a big deal."

"Do I think the characters Roseanne and Dan watch Black-ish or Fresh Off The Boat? Of course not. Do I think they'd say something PC about them? Probably not. But the point is, they didn't HAVE to say ANYTHING. They didn't have to write that joke at all. It's not even a joke."

He then asked his followers to think about the punchline further.

"It’s an endorsement of dismissiveness and disregard. It's a familiarity and comfort with the culture of objectifying and demeaning people of color," he tweeted. "Keep in mind, ABC was all too willing to bar Kenya Barris from airing an episode about kneeling during the nat’l anthem because of a fear it would be divisive and alienating. Black-ish is one of only a handful of shows about Black families on the air."

2comments

Yu continued: "Fresh Off The Boat is the ONLY show about an Asian American family. Meanwhile, Roseanne is currently being touted as the refreshing voice of an underrepresented group (conservative women). Here's my point: they rebooted a beloved 90s sitcom & updated the main character to be a Trump voter under the pretense that it was a realistic portrayal of the the white working class. Then in ep 2, they depict her LITERALLY SLEEPING through stories about people of color... I'm not saying it's inaccurate to have her do this. I actually think it's TOO accurate (and also not that funny?). Maybe next week, Dan and Roseanne explain to their grandchildren that Santa and Sandy Hook are both fake and we can all just laugh and laugh."

Roseanne will be back with new episodes May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.