While I was pregnant with my son Buck, and needed to stay calm in the middle of a hurricane, in order not to miscarry, I learned about Kabballistic meditation. Being able to marshal all of my will, all of my force, and all of my mind’s ability to focus helped me to stop being dissociative, as well as to successfully hang onto my pregnancy until it came full term, and said living boy was born. Because I wanted my son to come to earth and hang out with me so badly, I knew that I would have to travel back in time and undue an ill conceived agreement that took away from my power to be mindful and at peace. I called my Rabbi, Rav Berg, and I said, “I want to make a confession to you.” “I know you do,” he said, as he is one smart Rabbi. “You come to my house for lunch tomorrow,” he told me. “I will,” I said, hoping that those young Iranian Jews who cooked for him would make that fantastic lamb dish. When I got there, I saw that we were going to have steak, which was smelling delicious. Before I asked the Rav for his blessings, he began to talk to me. “Did you know that Rebbe Shimon says in the Zohar, that dogs are the reincarnations of bad rabbis?” “No,” I said, thinking, “How innocent and quaint,” and all those things I think when a Rabbi talks. “Yes, that is what it says in the book. You know my wife’s dog, Murray, right?” “Yes, of course I do,” I said. During a synagogue service once, I told my son, Buck, that Murray was exactly like a human being, as is anything that possesses a spinal column, as the mystics say. So, Buck got down on the floor (he was only five then) and told Murray that he better start listening to people who were bigger than he was. Buck said to him, “Now, I am bigger than you are, so you should come over here and sit by me right now.” Murray did not, so I asked Buck, “Do you think maybe that Murrah only speaks in Hebrew?” “I never thought that animals could speak another language at all!” said my son. “It just goes to show you the things we don’t think sometimes, huh?” I said. “Yeah,” said Buck.
“Sit down here,” The Rav then said and so I did. The steaks looked like they cost twenty dollars each, really really good ones.
The Iranian girls had made a tomato salad too, and olives and other tasty things, and they poured delicious red wine for us to drink. It was Heaven on Earth, sitting there with the Rav, who was watching the Rev. John Haggee on the TV. “That guy is good,” the Rav said, “He knows a lot about Torah, but…unfortunately, he is incorrect in many many ways.” Then, he got back to his original story. “I am the re-incarnation of Chaim Luzzato, who wrote many many books on Kabballah, until threatened with excommunication, he, that is I, and who then disavowed all that he had written.” “Oh,” I said. “Yes, and Murray is the reincarnation of the rabbi who threatened to have me excommunicated. For denying the Zohar as sacred, I had to come back here as me and publish as many books about its greatness as I possibly can in my lifetime, to get the job done for once and for all, and he has to be my wife’s dog. He knows I should hate him, and in fact he thinks I do hate him. He is always running away from me whenever he sees me. So, I thought about what to do, and here is what it is,”— and with that, he cut the heart of his delicious looking steak out, the very best part, and he called Murray over. From his own fork, he fed the dog the very choicest piece of the steak. Turning to me then, he said, “It kills him that I go out of my way to be kind to him. I am getting no negative karma for blowing the guy’s mind, because kindness is always the right thing to do, even if we do not like someone. Think about what I am telling you, and think about this too—the Zohar tells us that on Shabbat, no evil inclination of any kind can exist. It is the day of Peace because there is no Duality on that day in the Soul.” I knew then that I could integrate my split personality, simply by exorcizing the Satanic part of me, that made the pact with Satan as a twelve year old girl.
Every word of this story is true, by the way.
How does one undo a Satanic contract, you ask? Well you must first get the string and the herbs, the hair, blood and the rum together in just the right combination, and then into the mirror you must gaze, jumping through all of Hell’s hoops to get that face-to-face meeting with Lucifer Himself, in order to anthropomorphically conjure Him.
He is actually very sheltered by millions of those who in life worked in PR and are now his minions in Hell, plus, He has a schedule to keep and is very very busy here in Hollywood, as you might well imagine. However, because I was still quite a big deal at the time, I guess, Satan was suitably impressed, or so it seemed, as a date and time as well as place were settled upon. At last, the pre-appointed day arrived.
I began to dress for what was perhaps the most important meeting of my sub-conscious life. I thought about wearing the usual all black thing, but it seemed so boring to me, after really giving it some thought. I wanted to establish a power look right from the beginning, and so I chose an all red outfit, with the skirt that had little red beads, at the hem, with a lowcut red bustier, red high heels, nails and lips, and red chopstix, at a jaunty angle stuck in my updo’d bun, the one I had worn to the Emmy’s that year. Low key like.
Of course, I made it known ahead of time that I would be picking up the enormous tab where we dined, at the Puck place, Spago, on Beverly. They would still seat me off the street at one of the best tables, back then, behind my wonderful friend Marvin Davis, who hated everything and everyone just like you and I do. He was quite Beelzebubbian in many ways, himself. He did what he had to do to stay on top, and I admired that strategy at the time. The billions that everyone thought he had became only millions after his death, and every cent of them were in the equity of the house he had built, which turned out to be worth only fifty million dollars. Almost a tear down, really. He, like everyone else here, had lived and died beyond his means, and left a grieving family who could no longer afford to live in the manner of the financial smoke and mirrors to which they had grown accustomed.
After saying hello to Marvin, as I always did, I sat down and ordered a cocktail. I wanted to remain clear headed, knowing the task I had at hand, and so I drank only one Belvedere martini filthy with three olives while I sat there, waiting. His people had told my people to tell me that I would know him when I saw Him. However, it seemed to me that every man in a suit who entered could have possibly been Him, but when none of them looked my way, I finally just gave up anticipating him at all.
At first I had no doubt that he was going to show up, but as the moments ticked away, I began not to be too sure. Perhaps this was just one of the games he played with people like me, letting us just sit and wait all alone, until it dawned on us that we had been stood up, passed over, and ignored by a Powerful Source, the worst of all realizations for anyone in Hollywood. Being stood up in Public. I began to doubt my powers of persuasion at that time. I thought, “Maybe the usual flattering bullshit didn’t work on ‘The Trickster Extraordinaire.’
My face was beginning to feel hot, and I wished I had worn the black instead. I picked up my phone to see if I could get a last minute replacement guest, just so I wouldn’t be sitting there all alone in red, and sticking out like a sore thumb. That is a terrible thing for a famous person, sticking out like a sore thumb in public in Hollywood, alone! Everyone and their brother, after stalking you for a moment or two, and getting their pitch together, will commence to push their screenplay, or idea for a movie on you, and that is almost a fate worse than death.
I almost freaked when I first saw Him. He looked just like my ex-husband, Tom Arnold! I thought that He, being Satan would order a “Bloody Mary”, or a “Manhattan,” but was surprised to see that Ice Water was his drink of choice. He couldn’t seem to get enough of it either!
“You look thinner than I thought,” were his first words to me. “I thought I would start out with a joke.” He said next, happy to make me feel fat shamed. “Yeah?” I said, not to be outdone, “You look like Hell!” “Zing!” he laughed, shooting me with an imaginary gun. He then started to tell me about Sammy Davis Jr., but I stopped Him, because Mr. Davis was an Idol of mine, and I would not hear anything negative about him. Not after that wonderful time he and my sister and myself had met and talked in New York, which I will write about in another chapter.
“You look like someone I knew once,” I said. “Really,” is what he said back, but more as an ironic statement, than as a question. Even though he looked like my ex- husband, He had table manners and did not make slurping noises, lick his lips constantly, nor did he jiggle his legs uncontrollably, so it was quite disconcerting in many ways. It was as if the familiar was becoming alien.
Ironically, he asked about Tom, too. “He remarried a tall blonde model type, didn’t he?” “Of course he did,” I replied. The Devil just laughed and said, “Birds of a Feather…She is going to cheat on him next year, with the pool boy…LOL! Karma is indeed a bitch.” I couldn’t help it and I laughed and laughed, at the thought that what goes around does indeed come around, or so it seems sometimes. Other times, when you hear that Pol Pot died peacefully and rich, and George W. sleeps fine at night, you question the whole idea of Karma, but, you just never really know for sure who is really working for the Devil, and who is really working for G-d. No one can agree on who is who, for sure, and what each is trying to get us to do, or to say, or to believe. Once we know that, we can get on about our business and make things happen, I figure!
The Joker asked if I still talked to Tom, or to Jim Cameron or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Jaime Lee Curtis, or anyone that was in the movie called, “True Lies.” “No,” I had to admit, I had moved out of that world totally, once I realized that there was no place for me in it.
There were simply no hotter names in Hollywood than Jim Cameron and Arnold S. at that time. They had achieved billions in box office with the movie, “The Terminator,” which featured state of the art computer science, and at a Pentagon Level, too. The fact that the tired hackneyed, sexist dialogue did not detract in any way from the success of the film was certainly not lost on anyone in Hollywood, which is a place where writers with original ideas that in any way challenge the status quo are actually looked down upon. Scripts like Jim writes, that have happy endings, challenge nothing, and kill a lot of people in various ways are big sellers. He and Arnold had had hit the box office jackpot together again with “True Lies.”
“Well, if you do ever talk to Jim again, you should tell him to do a movie about the Titanic someday, and the guy will end up King of the World!” Satan offered. “You tell him yourself,” I said, “Can’t you do that?” I lobbed the ball his way. He said, “I would like to tell him directly, but I have some kind of trepidation come over me whenever I start to think about movies, and the people who make them” He lobbed back.
As we sat, perusing the menu, we began to overhear snippets from mortals about some Hollywood business deals, box office openings, that soon were eclipsed by the drunken trivial gossip loudly spoken by non-Jewish second wives at big tables about what assholes their Jewish husbands were, but how generous and caring as well, and what surprisingly good fathers they made at age 100. I think I said, “There but for Your grace go I, sir.” He laughed, and then he said, “You would never have found a rich Jewish guy to marry you! They like thin and sexy young blondes, not fat pushy Jewish broads!” and we both had quite a laugh at that. “You are pretty funny,” I said, starting to shine his ass.
“Coming from you, that is quite the complement!” he shined back.
We decided to try the beet tower and the fatted calf, still listening in as the “girl talk” from the big table got louder and drunker, and the de rigeur flirting with the obviously gay waiter began. We rolled our eyes as the waiter pretended to be a top, when he was really obviously a bottom, in order to seduce the unhappily bored and aging gold digger to help him get an audition for one of the many agents she knew.
“That guy, you might be interested to know, is going to make it pretty big, and will be dating Jennifer Aniston in about eighteen months. He has a red carpet in his near future.” Satan shared. “How do you know that?” I asked. He said, “How the heck do you think I know, that, Ms. Roseanne, C’mon now!?” and we laughed some more. I relaxed a little. This was not going to be as hard as I had first thought, I realized.
After all those laughs, and all that delicious food, He suggested that we adjourn for a bit of an evening stroll. We walked down Wilshire Blvd for a few blocks, just until we saw a movie star or two walking around trying to score drugs/ impersonal sex, and then, he grabbed my arm and turned a fast left, stopped finally, in back of Nate and Al’s Deli.
I used to go there every Sunday for breakfast, and look longingly over at the table of great writers, and comics (all men) that met there each week. I hoped they would invite me to be included in their group sometime, since I was a comic and a writer myself, and I had a hit show that was on the air. However, since I was not male, they never did do that, though they invited male comics my age to join them, while I sat there, waving and smiling. I can’t remember if they all died or I moved, but sooner or later, I had stopped going in there to eat.
“When I think back to the deal we made, sometimes now, I wish I had included other things in it that I didn’t think of back then,” I said. “I should have asked you to make me more comfortable in one on one conversations. Maybe that way, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. I seemed always to be looking for a mediator, and they never really looked out for me at all. They mostly just used me to get what they wanted, and made deals that benefitted them, instead of me. I wish that I had handled my own affairs now, instead of attracting so many scoundrels and criminals to me.” He said, “Well, you can’t expect to make a large amount of money and avoid the criminal element completely.” I immediately knew that he was right about that.
“I thought it would be easier, and not as unpleasant as it is, this fame and fortune stuff that you promised me. I didn’t realize there would be a hook in it!” I said. He replied, “I didn’t offer, you did. You dictated the terms of our agreement yourself, if you will recall.” I had to admit that He was right about all of that.
“I just didn’t think it was going to be difficult,” I said. “I thought it was going to be easy and somewhat fun, and that I would be included, not excluded from the social part of it all.” “Well,” He said, “You expected to come out of nowhere, fat female and funny, and a deep thinker, and be accepted by your peers?” He shook his head, “I thought you knew no one likes fat girls who can throw down a slam line! Isn’t that why you got involved with me in the first place?” “No,” I said, “I wanted to be rich and famous, certainly, but I thought all that fun stuff went along with that.” “You were off the mark, babe.” He pissily replied.
“I want out of the contract!” I spat out.
Let me tell you, reader, there is smirking, and there is smirking. I thought Dick Cheney’s was the epitome, until I saw Big Daddy’s bloody fangs clearly behind the curled lip. “Of course you want out, now that you have taken everything I gave you! But that won’t be possible, little Girly!”
I said, “I am going to walk away from a multi-million dollar endorsement deal.”
“HOLD ON!” He shrieked, “What are you are saying?”
I dropped the bomb, “I am going to walk away from shares in a multi-billion-dollar network, that includes intellectual property, publishing and internet rights, and a production company with four guaranteed pilots, and a restaurant franchise.”
The Devil then lunged, grabbed me by my hair, lifted me into the air and tossed me onto one of the plastic garbage cans full of old discarded cabbage and lox. He snickered, and slobbered in my face that I could not be allowed to take responsibility for myself, because I belonged to him and owed him my soul, as per our agreement in 1964, signed as a twelve year old in my own blood after pricking my sausage-like young finger in my bedroom in Salt Lake City Utah. He produced the paper and held it in his slimy green fingers.
“See right here?” He snarled, “It clearly states that the party of the first part, which is YOU, does heretofore agree that upon Its death, It will willingly give up what is left of Its soul after fame and fortune are introduced into the world around It, and whereas said Party of the First Part, heretofore known as Petitioner, without having to lose any weight will have male attentions and marriages, not excluding sexual satisfaction and designer clothing in size XL, and one of three best tables in the most exclusive restaurants with only a phone call, needing no previous reservations, and will always be seated next to the host of any party in Hollywood, whereas at pre-agreed sequence upon death, as stated within this notarized document, subsequent to these terms and perks and upon payment made, not excluding and indeed including those terms pre agreed upon, and upon evacuation of said Party Petitioner’s physical remains, said soul of Petitioner of First Part will without further argument or adieu be deposited in account of Second Party, of the First Part which of course, is ME!” Then he showed me my signature.
Instead of arguing with Him further, I felt pity for Him then instead, that He needed to destroy things and people in order to feel powerful, despite the fact that He already controlled almost everything on earth anyway, from the stock market to the Vatican, from Clear Channel Telecommunications to the Diet Industry and the Pharmaceutical Companies, Wal-mart, the Fashion Industry and Google Inc.
Realizing that He would never feel that He had enough of anything, and therefore understood the value of Nothing At All, I asked, “It must be hard to be You, in a lot of ways.”
He was completely taken off guard, and the sneer turned into more of a snicker, as he said, “That’s a first! Usually people either love me or hate me, or ignore me altogether, but, I have to admit, your trying to make me human is kind of intriguing to Me. I am really looking forward to the time when I will be feasting on your original mind like it’s a veritable Buffalo Chicken Wing”. Then He laughed. “Using the oldest trick in the book on me, are you? Flattery might just work on me, that’s what you’re thinking, right? It’s kind of cute.”
He explained to me, after much of my masterful cajoling, which consisted of saying things like, “I’m sure you have your side of the whole existential question that has never been heard, but, I just want to hear it for myself. I am not really trying to flatter you at all, I just want to hear something different and new and fresh once in a while!”
Encouraging a Devil to talk about himself in the third person is the fastest way of getting control of him, that nugget of wisdom being the crowning jewel of what I have gleaned from living 57 years here, as a woman.
Unable to resist speaking about Himself, He suggested we turn around and walk over to Rodeo a few blocks. As He looked into the windows of The Chanel Store, He said, “You are a Kabbalist right?” (At that time a woman Kabbalist was a secretive mystic, and not a Popstar who gets Botox injections).
“Well, my family was Orthodox, so yes, I know some of the whole Torah thing,” I said, downplaying everything. “Don’t waste either of our time with false modesty, ” He said. “You were kind of like Barbra Streisand’s ‘Yentl’, as a kid! You loved to discuss Torah with adults from a young age. It was a refuge from reality for you, painful as that was.” “Yes, I know Torah” I admitted.
“Let Me pose a question now,” He said, “Why did you conjure me to help you get famous and rich? Why didn’t you ask G-d to help you do it?”
“I just sort of knew that G-d would rather I lead a Kosher Life instead of telling dirty jokes, smoking, drinking and being bawdy and narcissistic. I wanted to have the excitement that seemed to be in Your Realm, instead. Your realm is so immediate, whereas G-d’s has no timeline whatsoever. I could not stand seeing my cousins Debbie and David rewarded constantly for being light skinneded, and possessing only mediocre talents. I could not stand to think that being a fat ugly dark girl with no ass doomed me to a lifetime of anonymity, when I can dance like I dance, sing like I sing, and act as well as any of my own acting idols.
I wanted Justice for my Talent!! G-d seemed too busy to care about fairness in my world, or so it seemed at the time. People who did not pray to Him for hours a day like I did, and even people who did not even worship Him at all, were not suffering like I felt I was. He did nothing to stop that at all, ever, despite my pleading and my devotion. Everyone else had a boyfriend too, as I sat alone in my room reading and missing every party, and all the excitement that laid behind the bright lights of Salt Lake City Utah, and its vast pleasures. Strange as it seems now, I thought You could use me in Your agenda and I wanted to be in the thick of things, where the money was. I actually thought that if I made a lot of money, I could get around a lot of rich people and convince them that they had the power to make laws that would turn all the bad in the world around, and cause it to be good, like G-d wants it to be. I thought, that if I had a lot of money, and did good and charitable things for people with it, that in the End, the good things I had done would outweigh the bad, and my soul could Rest In Peace. “In other words, you thought that you could use ME for your own agenda.” He pointed out. He was right too, I thought. “Also, I wanted to get rich and famous, to prove that I was worth something, I guess.” I admitted. “One cannot have One’s cake and eat it too, Missie,” He reminded me.
He looked me right in the eye and started to change in appearance. He got very Bill Clinton looking, explaining very softly how His Agenda is different from the agenda of His followers, for whom He had nothing but contempt. He said that He, personally, does not crave power cocaine, money, celebrity and supermodels to have sex with; His followers do!
His followers, He told me, were stupid to think that He gets off on or admires the predatory and evil things that they do to other people as they service their Lust for blood, money, fame, drugs, lawyers, guns and Production Companies. Satan told me that the truth is, He has no choice but to do business with the worst people on earth, because G-d makes Him do it.
I said “So you are actually taking the moral high ground then, in a way, according to your own version of the way things are?” “Right On!” he said, wide eyed, and finally feeling understood, completely falling into my trap.
I asked if He knew why God wants things done like that, and He said that, yes, He did know, and that it’s all because God wants Evil to exist. God also wants people to think they have a choice when they really don’t. The way God figures it, Satan explained, people need to believe that even the most evil part of evil is always able to be redeemed. I said, “But Satan, do YOU think that You are redeemable?”
“I certainly hope not!” He chortled.
All full of Himself, and purposely missing my point, He said “I cannot imagine a world that would exist without Me!”
Narrowing his eyes and staring at me, perhaps starting to realize the game I was playing with Him, He said, “You are wrong in every way, actually, but that is the flaw in your design. You humans need to feel like you are right about things, that you are smarter than each other, smarter than nature, smarter than me and smarter than G-d Almighty, especially you Jews! You cannot win this one, Shana Rifka.” He used my childhood name, my Hebrew name that I had been called back in the day. “I have a contract that is signed in your own blood, and everything you wanted was delivered.”
Inspired by Judith, my matriarchal biblical mentor, I stepped forward, getting ready to cut off the enemy’s head. “I am not happy with fame and fortune! This whole thing between me and You, is also between me and G-d! Of course you know that I speak to Him too, right? I think that I can get out on a technicality.”
He said nothing this time, but his tongue darted out and picked a fly out of the air, crushed it with his front four teeth and then swallowed it. He started to look down at his Tom Ford designed slacks. “What technicality? Are you crazy? There is no technicality whatsoever! What technicality?” he repeated for the third time, getting warmer.
Before he could go any further, I hurriedly said, “Let’s hit the Salad Bar at RJ’s, and wrap this whole mess up”. We walked by the Cheesecake Factory on our way, and though tempted, we passed. RJ’s was quiet as usual, and we loaded our chilled plates with all the lettuce and beans and imitation crab salad that they could contain. Deviled eggs, my favorite things on earth repulsed him, and He marveled that I could out eat him, when I had just finished a meal at Spago not an hour before. He seemed just to pick at his concoction. He stared at me a lot, and I stared back, attempting to look as calm as I could.
I went for it, “My soul has been dying ever since the first day I signed with you for representation.” I said. “We can still be friends, though, can’t we?” He smirked. “No, actually we can’t, ” I said, seriously.
Then he said, “I’ll always be around and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Can we talk about Torah for a minute?” I asked, knowing that It tells me the right questions must evoke the True answers. “My favorite thing to do as well,” He said, perking up.
I continued, “Going by Torah, the story book that You exist in, I see that Your own Contract with G-d and Man says that You must take the Sabbath day off.” By the look on His Face he knew that I knew that I had Him. Not many females had read every word and marveled at the coded meanings and the byzantine curving moral at the heart of Monotheism, as I had, those first twelve of my years, spent mostly alone, hungering for G-d’s protection from the everyday horrors of living the life I lived then.
“I realized now that we signed that contract on Shabbat” “Yes, go on,” he said, excitedly. “Well I chose the worst day to enter into a pact with you, because that day was G-d’s Holy Day. He stifled a chuckle. “Continue, then” He coaxed me on. “Well,” I continued on, as coaxed, “It turns out in G-d’s little joke world, that Shabbat is also the only day where Your Presence is Absent. Therefore, because you had no authority that day, our contract is Null and Void.” There was silence. He then burst out laughing, “You have to admit that it’s so cool that the worst day to make a deal with Me, is also the best Day to make a deal with Me. C’mon, it’s called a conundrum. Cool, isn’t it?”
I said, “ I think it’s funny that winning/destroying a soul is not what You want at all. It’s the constant struggle with G-d that keeps You Both in it to win it! Your Minions endlessly re-enact the struggle between Good and Evil, because not only are they all helplessly Bi-polar, but because they are 99% incapable of actually choosing Good! Now that is hilarious!!” He had to admit I had him there. I told Him what I think He should do, is sign with Bert Field or another lawyer of that caliber, and legally take control of His own brand. All He really needs is the right to sue anyone who references Him without asking permission. For Satan to be able to control what is said in His name for once, and to have a say in how His name is used, might very well keep the worst of the worst of people from referencing Him or G-d, or either of Their Images/ Intellectual Properties. That would be the dawn of the True Messianic Age, I think.
He isn’t that bad a guy I found out, until he takes human form and starts talking about how G-d wants people to act, and to do, and how they should be punished for falling short of unattainable perfection.
“You can’t have it both ways,” He said, unable to not have the last word. “If you choose to undo this contract, you could end up penniless, and institutionalized. No one walks away from Money. They may walk away from G-d every second of every day, but, Money is Money.”
“That threat might have worked to keep others in your stall, Sir,” I said, “Others who really don’t understand what a good Joke Everything Is, but I am a Comedian! We don’t ever do anything for money! We do what we do because we like to kill falsehood, and You are everything False! You want me to believe that I have no choice! But I know that I do. There are jokes and there are jokes, and there is right and there is wrong. I think that laughing YOU to scorn is something I will continue to do, no matter what, because basically, as long as I do that, my soul is still mine. You, Sir, have no sense of humor about Your self, and that is downright funny to me!!
I walked away from the money, trusting that I would be Ok without billions, and learned to live with dignity instead, on the scant millions I had managed to squirrel away.
The Devil, in a subsequent discussion said, “I gotta say I’m kind of proud of you, Roseanne, that you were able to piece the whole puzzle and code together. It’s a doozy, isn’t it?” I had to admit that it was indeed a doozy, that the worst thing in the world is when the most egomaniacal and narcissistic of all humans, those involved in the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood, never ever thank Satan at the televised award shows for helping them to achieve the fame that subsequently makes them sooner or later hit bottom, which is where most people start to see the Light! He is goddamned good and sick of Hollywood for allowing that shit to go on! Instead, he pointed out, they ignorantly thank G-d, who put them in danger in the first place.
“These fucking retarded hypocrites who invoke G-d would crap their pants to know that they are where I get all of my power!” He exclaimed with gleeful bitterness while we watched the Grammy’s and the Oscars. “It’s just the best joke of all, isn’t it? I must say there is nothing more enjoyable than a good paradox! What a fucking hoot, that thanking G-d for winning meaningless and ridiculous egocentric honors is the absolute worst thing a person can do, aside from organizing huge benefit dinners where billionaires get together and raise 200K for the poor and suffering!” He said, totally cracking up. “You have got to admit that that shit is hilarious!” He demanded, looking for more flattery from me. That is where I take another swig, and say, Yes You are right that You are everything wrong.” Touche!
He gets pissed when I confront Him “Duality was created to confuse humans, right? So that people would not figure out that this place is hell, and in order to escape it, they must create Heaven themselves, aren’t I right, Mr. God-Devil?” Unmasked at last, He says, “All roads lead to Rome.”
He hates it most of all when I say, “I know that You do not exist, and neither does God, because to exist, You would have to come here and incarnate onto this planet, where Hell is, and neither of You dare to do that. Instead You both whisper and hide and play Your little games with people like me who need help in transmuting our depression and mania.” “Well how else to tell the great story of the suffering and the Divine in Humanity then? If you can come up with a better story, then do it!”
I do not fear him, because I know how to get rid of him now, whenever I want to. I tell Him that I sometimes really feel sorry for Him. He stops then, as if in shock. Feeling mercy is The Super Duper Secret Weapon against Him, revealed to me in the Knick of Time. He cannot exist anywhere there is compassion or empathy. He simply falls to dust and blows away.
Roseanne Barr may be 60, but she’s got more energy and ambition than most comics half her age. After a failed—but, she says, serious—bid for president last year, she’s back to doing comedy full-time, with a residency at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, and a return to NBC’s The Office as talent agent Carla Fern, helping Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) chase his show business dreams.
I initially called Barr to talk about The Office, but after a perfunctory discussion (the cast and writers are great! The food on set is amazing!) we moved on to other, more pressing topics. Like mind control and weed.
ESQUIRE.COM: How long have you been in Vegas?
ROSEANNE BARR: I came out twice. First it was from the middle of January to March 1, and then I came back for all of April. I’ll be here until early May.
ESQ: Does being in that city mess with your internal chemistry? There are no clocks, it’s always daytime. It’s like being in Alaska during a month when the sun never sets.
RB: I love it. It’s one of the reasons why I like coming here. It makes me more productive. Maybe it’s because it’s not a vacation for me. It’s all about work when I’m here. I actually get more conservative when I’m in Vegas.
ESQ: So you’re not the kind of person who likes to take some peyote and go out in the desert to talk to your spirit animal?
RB: I’ve already talked to my spirit animal. He’s got nothing else to tell me. I’m 60, I’ve done it all. I’m totally over it.
ESQ: But you still smoke weed, right?
RB: Oh yeah, absolutely.
ESQ: What are you like stoned? Are you mellow and introspective, or super hyper?
RB: I’m very introspective, and I mostly don’t talk to people. I get into a real quiet, meditative place. Kind of the opposite of how I am when I’m not stoned.
ESQ: Can you be productive on weed? Do you write or perform under the influence?
RB: No. You just get a bunch of shit if you do that. And you definitely cannot perform under the influence. It messes with your timing. You’ll wait two minutes before you say the punch line. It’s altered reality, so it doesn’t work for that. I use it mostly for relief from anxiety. And because it makes you question things.
ESQ: What things?
RB: Everything. Pot enables you to think clearly without any fear or any limits. It’s a mind-expander, which is part of why it’s illegal and why drugs like Vicodin are legal.
ESQ: You’ve been a longtime supporter of pot legalization. Are you happy with the progress we’ve made?
RB: I think it’s amazing. It’s sweeping across the country. It’s such a great thing for American families and for freedom and liberty. When I ran for president last November, I ran on the legalization of pot. So I was on the right side. By the time I run again in 2016, I think it’ll be legal in most places.
ESQ: You’re gonna run again?
RB: I’m going to keep running till I win.
ESQ: Wouldn’t it make more sense to start smaller? Take the Arnold Schwarzenegger approach and run for governor somewhere?
RB: People say that to me all the time. They tell me, “Why don’t you move to Alaska, you could be governor?” The real truth is, I just want to keep the voice of dissent alive in all of our elections. I don’t really want to hang out with politicians. I’d rather go straight to hell, and not collect $200.
ESQ: So you don’t actually want to be president?
RB: No, I think I should be the president. I definitely believe that. And in some ways I think that I am.
ESQ: Think you are what? The president?
RB: To a lot of people, I am their president.
ESQ: Which people?
RB: The people who voted for me. And the people who worked for me, for my campaign, they worked for free. I owe something to them and I’ll always be true to them. And they’ll always be true to me.
ESQ: You came in, what, sixth place overall?
RB: I think I came in fifth. Which is impressive because I was only on the ballot in three states. What we’re doing now is, we’d like to get a lot of people in our party—the Peace and Freedom Party—elected to various state posts. I’m going to be making a push for somebody from our party to run against Chris Christie in the next election.
ESQ: I only know about your position on weed. Where do you stand on other hot topic issues? Like, gay marriage?
RB: I believe in equal rights for all citizens. One law for all.
ESQ: What about the showdown with North Korea? How would you handle that?
RB: I just wonder why we’re talking about attacking Iran for maybe having a nuclear weapon, while North Korea threatened us and we don’t seem to do much there. It just seems like something else is going on that we don’t really know about.
ESQ: Dennis Rodman said that all Kim Jong-un wants is a phone call from the president.
RB: I’d give him his phone call. And the first thing I’d say is, “Are you shitting me? Are you shitting me?! Do you seriously want to take on our military?”
ESQ: You were at Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and you told protestors that “guilty” Wall Street bankers should be forced to give up any income over $100 million, be sent to re-education camps, or be executed by beheading if they resisted. Were you being ironic?
RB: I was being very ironic. That was before I became a real candidate. That’s when I was a candidate at-large or a humorist at-large. But a lot of people listened and a lot of people are saying the same thing now.
ESQ: That bankers should be executed?
RB: Well, not exactly those words. But there should be a punishment. What exactly is the penalty for destroying an entire community? Is there a penalty for that? There doesn’t seem to be. We should take a look at really broadening our definition of the word terrorist.
ESQ: Do you think your background in comedy makes you more or less qualified to lead the country?
RB: Definitely more qualified. I think that all comics or humorists, or whatever we are, ask questions. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But I not only ask the questions, I offer solutions.
ESQ: But the thing about being a president is, you can’t be ironic. Like ever. Nobody wants to hear their president say “just kidding, folks.”
RB: Well, the current president doesn’t have to. His administration is already such an obvious joke.
ESQ: But you see my point.
RB: I do, and I don’t really agree. In this country, the people who affect things the most—how the rest of us think and feel—are comics. It’s true. Because a comic needs to understand the big picture in order to fracture it and present it to people so they can see it more clearly. Comedy is the only hope for humanity.
ESQ: That’s actually hard to argue against.
RB: When I was a kid, that’s how I saw comics. When I used to watch comedians with my dad, he laid it all out for me. He wanted to be a comedian himself, and he was so funny. We’d watch stand-up on TV, and he’d tell me the subtext of what they were saying. He’d say, “This guy just says funny things. He doesn’t want to rock the boat. But this guy, he’s really bringing the revolution.” That’s the kind of dad I had, and he made me a comic. I still think that way.
ESQ: It’s still a long shot that a comedian could ever become president.
RB: What about what happened with Beppe Grillo in Italy? He’s a comic too, but the Italian people were smarter than the Americans and they elected the guy. It’s just they could see when somebody was telling them the truth. So they have a comedian as their president.
ESQ: Actually, I think Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected president.
RB: Well, Beppe got close then. And that counts for something. I still have hope that the American people could become as intelligent as the Italians and elect me. Beppe is out there, telling the powers-that-be, “That’s not how we’re going to do it! That’s not how we want it. Listen to us! You are our servant, we’re not your servant!” That’s what got me when Chris Rock said that Obama was the father of America. Hello, he’s our elected representative. We’re not his subjects. What the hell is he talking about?
ESQ: I think he meant like a daddy figure, not a king.
RB: Either way, Obama totally ignores the people who sent him there. Totally and completely ignores them. That’s what America voted for. They voted for deaf leaders. Instead of voting for me. So I want them to wonder why once in a while, wonder why they did that to themselves.
ESQ: A few weeks ago, you were being interviewed by a cable news show and you mentioned MKUltra mind control in Hollywood. You didn’t really get into the details.
RB: You know about MKUltra, right?
ESQ: Vaguely. I know they were CIA psychiatric experiments during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
RB: It’s a lot of programs for creating a certain class of citizen. The basis of it is that they did experiments on people and didn’t get their consent. I’m not going to be able to go into it too much, but people should really take a look at mind control, and how it works, and how it’s been used on them.
ESQ: On them personally?
RB: Generations of people, not only here but all over the world, are still being affected by it. It’s pretty interesting.
ESQ: But what does this have to do with Hollywood? You’re saying the government is using mind control to tell celebrities what to say?
RB: It would take me way too long to get into.
ESQ: What’s the short version?
RB: A lot of people who are actors and artists who work in Hollywood come from a background of abuse, and you can make abused people very fearful and they’ll do what they’re told. Hollywood definitely has a point of view that it sells. I remember when we were little and we used to make fun of communist Russia in school. We’d say, “Their military tells their television stations what they can show.” I remember when I was a kid, we used to think that was just horrible.
ESQ: It hasn’t come to that, has it? Is the U.S. Military secretly running the upfronts?
RB: No, but there’s definitely a control of the artist. You can’t break through Hollywood formulaic points of view. I’ve tried, and I think I was more successful than anybody at doing it. I’m still trying, and I’ll continue to try. Because if you have something like a media, and truth doesn’t come through it, what does that say? That’s not good. But I still have hope that the truth about the real issues that most Americans face can be on television. I’m trying anyway.
ESQ: But isn’t truth, or at least political truth, in the eye of the beholder?
RB: Not at all.
ESQ: Bruce Springsteen is just a puppet for Obama, or Victoria Jackson is just a puppet for Fox News, depending on your personal politics. How do you tell the difference between somebody having opinions you don’t agree with and somebody who’s been coerced into saying something?
RB: You can tell. You just listen for two minutes. If you have a brain, if you’re aware, you’ll know. Like they say, truth is available to the ears that can hear it. Just listen for two minutes and you can tell who’s working for who, who’s speaking for who, and why.
ESQ: And everybody in Hollywood is in some way being controlled by the government?
RB: The basic thing is, people want to get paid, so they’ll say the things that get them paid, in entertainment or politics. For me, I just gave up all hope of being paid, and moved into a place of just doing what I do for free, and not paying people to help me but asking them to volunteer. Once you get away from wanting to get paid, you can actually say some true things. To me, that’s what’s great about America, we can do that. If we get off our lazy asses and stop doing everything to get paid.
ESQ: With the mind control thing, it’s just hard to take seriously. It sounds so insane.
RB: Yeah, it sounds insane. But do you think it sounds insane that a message bounces off a satellite and goes everywhere in the world at the same second? We live with that kind of technology. People say things are insane because they don’t fit a Hollywood script.
ESQ: Or it’s too close to a Hollywood script.
RB: These are times where someone, a company, owns the patent for human life. That sounds pretty crazy too, right? But we’re doing it, with cloning and all that stuff. In China they invented a bulldozer the size of a pin or smaller that they can inject into people and it’ll eat the plaque out of an artery so the heart can pump blood. Does that sound insane?
ESQ: That actually does sound insane. A tiny bulldozer?
RB: That’s a reality. Look it up. Crazy is to go “That doesn’t exist.”
ESQ: But some things really don’t exist. Some conspiracy theories really are bonkers.
RB: Well that’s also MKUltra at work. Calling people who are whistle-blowers dissenters or crazy, that is MKUltra. And you notice how they rush in to fill all the silence? People should just read. They can read and find the information for themselves. But a lot of them can’t. Illiteracy is a huge problem in America. One in three adults in our country is illiterate. So people aren’t going to read.
ESQ: In a 2001 interview with Larry King, you told him “I believe the government has implanted some kind of a chip into my head.” Does that mean you’re being controlled by MKUltra too?
RB: That was complete satire. I was just playing with Larry King. I always did when I went on his show. I would say things like that just to see what kind of reaction I could get out of him. Of course I don’t really believe the government put a chip in my head.
ESQ: That’s good to hear.
RB: Sometimes when you’re face to face with somebody who’s been programmed—and I did feel like all of Larry King’s questions were programmed, everything he asked was programmed—I like to fuck up the program. Like the group Anonymous, it’s fun to fuck shit up. It’s our duty to fuck shit up.
ESQ: You don’t think Larry had any control over his own content?
RB: Not at all. By the way, I’m a big fan of Larry King. I think he was a great broadcaster. But the questions he asked me were the questions that the media wanted him to ask. And they’re confrontational, and they’re anti-artist, and they were always very sexist, and classist, and racist: the three big points of media. It was my duty as a comedian to fuck with him.