Rosie O’Donnell Sounds Off On Russell Brand, Paris Hilton, Roseanne Barr and Herself
HollywoodNews.com: Rosie O’Donnell met with the Television Critics Association to preview her new talk show. The Rosie Show will air on the OWN network this fall, and O’Donnell plans to focus on one celebrity each week.
“First week I hope we get Russell Brand,” O’Donnell said. “I love the guy. I didn’t really know anything about him. He hosted the MTV Awards and I thought, ‘He’s not very funny. Who is he?’ Then I watched him do a comedy special about hosting those awards and it was the most brilliant thing I’d ever seen in my life. Then I started Googling him and found out who he was in England and what happened with him. He did an interview on the BBC that was possibly the most introspective and precise and exact discussion about fame and its effect on your personality and your world and your life that I had every seen anywhere.”
She met Brand and is currently working on securing his appearance. “By chance three months ago I bumped into him at the airport. He is shooting a movie in Miami so I’ve been spending time with him in Miami and I find him fascinating. He would be on an entire show.”
Another guest on O’Donnell’s wish list is a singer. “Maybe the singer Adele, who I think is epic and gorgeous and fantastic and so positive for women in every way. She would be the guest.”
It has been nine years since The Rosie O’Donnell Show ended its daytime talk run, becoming The Caroline Rhea Show for another year. O’Donnell now sees herself re-entering a television world where celebrity is no longer glamorous.
“People are no longer looking for that polished veneer fake Hollywood illusion. Paris Hilton years ago was Zsa Zsa Gabor in some ways. Zsa Zsa and Eva were held up on Merv Griffin and everybody was kept away from them. They were fantastically gorgeous, exotic creatures. Paris Hilton would have been that if it was years ago but now she’s the girl with the sex tape and a reality show and often no underwear.”
Perhaps The Rosie Show can be a counterpoint to the Jersey Shores of the world. “It’s a whole different thing of how we deal with celebrities, what we’re looking for from celebrities. Authenticity, I believe, is making a comeback because of the gross excess of the ‘90s and because of the state of the economy and people are looking for something real, not fake anymore. Even their reality has become too fake for them, like Jersey Shore, The [Real] Housewives. That’s funny in a campy kind of unreal way.”
O’Donnell is a fan of one of her comedian colleagues and the new reality show she created. “Roseanne Barr’s reality show is fantastic. I believe she’s reinvented the genre in many ways and it was inspiring to me when I saw her program, how she incorporated who she actually is today, who we thought she was and her real family. When they talked about what it felt like for her to sing the national anthem and be shamed by the president and how her son, who is now in his 30s was 12 when that happened and what it felt like, there’s a real resonance there. We have a history with her and how she’s presenting herself and doing the show I think has real relevance in today’s media market.”
Between her own show, appearing on The View and being a stand-up comedian, O’Donnell has always been outspoken about public figures and real world issues. She revealed to the TCA that her publicist was worried people would ask about Donald Trump or Barbra Walters, so she avoided those topics. O’Donnell can, however, turn in on herself for some public introspection.
“Nobody is at home going, ‘God, if I could only be Rosie O’Donnell, an overweight lesbian who yells too much.’ Nobody is really thinking that they want to aspire to be like me, but I’m very relatable. Everyone says to me, ‘You remind me of Eileen Connolly I went to high school with. You’re just like my sister-in-law.’”
With that self-deprecating status, O’Donnell feels she can entertain. “I think the appeal of my success or the reason for my success is that I am really not aspirational. I’m inspirational in that the people at some so relate to me that they feel as though they could be at the table with Madonna or whoever. If I’m at a table with famous people eating dinner, inevitably four or five people will come over to me as if I’m the easy pass lane. They will come right over and go, ‘Oh my God, you’re eating dinner with Martin Short and Madonna!’ I’m like, ‘I know, now get the hell away before they yell at you.’ So they think I am the access. I can be standing next to really famous people and they’ll whisper to me who I am standing next to.”
The Rosie Show will air at 7:00 p.m. weeknights on OWN this fall.
Follow Hollywood News on Twitter for up-to-date news information.