Roseanne Barr Sony Centre for Performing Arts, Toronto ON, September 23

Roseanne Barr Sony Centre for Performing Arts, Toronto ON, September 23
Roseanne Barr — she's an icon, right? Dana Gould does not hesitate mentioning this following his opening set, which he didn't know he had to do (this makes it great). He points out that he's about to bring up someone who can be recognized by a single name — like Cher. He's right about that too, and the crowd, which almost fills Toronto's Sony Centre, agrees. They are loud, and about as diverse as it gets: high school sweethearts that drove in from Milton; a gay / lesbian contingent who make themselves heard; and your parents.
When she takes the mic, it's ruckus. She gets local right away, giving it up for "The 6ix," because her son told her to say that. "That's what Drake calls it," he told her. "Whoever Drake is," she adds.
It's the perfect start to what becomes a tight, 90-ish minute set that flips between familiar and forging and this is her endearing strength. Just when your think she's resting on the folksy barbs that made her famous, she'll get current — or better yet, combine both.
While some of it, admittedly, is slightly dated — Scientology gags about Tom Cruise, for example — the other old-form favourites are welcome.  "I've lost and gained about 2,000 pounds," or her thoughts on Overeaters Anonymous — "How can a fat person be anonymous?" Then there's "The only time politicians are honest is when they accuse each other of lying," and fond remembrances of when Sarah Palin was the dumbest member of the Republican Party. Aging? She doesn't have a Bucket List, but a "Fuck It List."
On top of that, it's her beats. Of course it doesn't hurt that the audience is familiar, and loves her, giving her the time to line 'em up and knock 'em down. She sparingly places a "fuckin'" or "bitch" into a punch line with great effect. She reads the openings like a pro, and her fans feel wonderfully dirty.
It's a good set, and it ends with her thanking the audience for all the support — truly. It means a lot because she needs the money. She has a big family and "none of them fuckin' work."