Back in the ‘70s, I landed in Chicago and the bookkeeper (who later rose to huge success as Chief Operating Officer of a major corporation) for a client picked me up at the airport to drive me to my hotel. With him was his girlfriend. As she talked, I was captivated and told her she sounded like Roseanne Roseannadanna. They were both mystified, so I told them to watch Saturday Night Live (which had only been on for a short time).
A few months later he and I were having lunch in California and he told me that they had watched SNL and got a big kick out of RR, agreeing that she did sound like his girlfriend. When I heard about this documentary, I wanted to see it, if only to see RR again.
RR aside, this is a fascinating portrait of a woman who rose to the heights from nowhere. It starts with her as a little girl, progresses through her days with Second City in Chicago and then the big break with Lorne Michaels and SNL.
What it emphasizes, though, is that success doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. While she was an optimistic person, things were not always brightness.
Director Lisa Dipolito tells the story with archival clips and interviews with lots of contemporaries and people who were influenced by her, like Chevy Chase, Michaels, Laraine Newman, Paul Shafer, former boyfriend Martin Short, Melissa McCarthy, and many more, including archival footage of her second husband, Gene Wilder.
The only negative is that there is only one short clip of Roseanne Roseannadanna. Even so, it’s a terrific documentary.
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