Roseanne Roseannadanna

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Roseanne Roseannadanna

"Roseanne Roseannadanna" is one of several recurring characters created by Gilda Radner, who appears on "Weekend Update" in the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, which aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). She is the segment's consumer affairs reporter who, like Radner's earlier character Emily Litella, gives editorial replies to current issues.[1] Unlike Litella, Roseannadanna is brash and tactless, instead of meek and apologetic. The character is based on Rose Ann Scamardella, a former anchorwoman of WABC-TV's Eyewitness News in New York City.[2] The character also later appeared in Radner's live one-woman shows.


Roseannadanna's Saturday Night Live commentary follows a strict formula. She usually reads a letter from the ever-curious Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, although she once read a letter from a "Mrs." Richard Feder. (The Feders later re-located to Mount St. Helens, Washington.) The letter asks a series of questions, usually about a current social issue, to which Roseannadanna replies, "Mr. Feder, you sure do ask a lot of questions for a guy from New Jersey," or "You belong in New Jersey!". Roseannadanna then makes derogatory comments about New Jersey before moving on to respond to the question. Richard Feder [1] (pronounced as "Fay-der") is the name of an actual resident of Fort Lee who also happened to be the brother-in-law of SNL writer and segment co-creator Alan Zweibel.[3]

While answering the questions, Roseannadanna invariably digresses, launching into lengthy anecdotes with no relevance to the topic at hand, frequently having to do with an encounter with celebrities (Bo Derek, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Princess Grace, Gloria Vanderbilt, etc.). Invariably, the story leads to Roseannadanna going into graphic detail about bodily functions or personal hygiene. The conceit is that the celebrities told the graphic stories to Roseannadanna, who is only relating them to her audience. She also relates her supposed response to the celebrities' stories, which is the rhetorical question and catch phrase, "What are ya tryin' to do, make me sick?!"

Eventually, Weekend Update co-anchor Jane Curtin interrupts, stating, "Roseanne, you're making me sick." Curtin then asks Roseannadanna what her comments have to do with the question, who responds with, "Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it's always something—if it ain't one thing, it's another."

Roseannadanna's comments wrap up with her sharing a piece of advice passed down from a family member (her father most often, but sometimes her "Nana" Roseannadanna; in one episode, she mentions her aunt Pollyanna Roseannadanna, while in others, her "musically happening cousin, Carlos Santana Roseannadanna," her religious aunt Hosanna Roseannadanna, and her singing cousin Lola Falana Roseannadanna). In the final episode, she mentions her fashion designer aunt, Murjani Roseannadanni.


Radner's character has a tendency to refer to herself by her full name whenever possible ("Mr. Feder, I know what you're talkin' about, because, I, Roseanne Roseannadanna, once had the same thing happen to me.") and often exaggerates her tribulations, saying, "I thought I was gonna die!"

For example, she narrates a story about eating a hamburger in a restaurant and feeling something hard in it. Roseannadanna spits it out to find it was white and looked like a toenail and she says, "I thought I was gonna die. I mean, what was a toenail doing in my hamburger?". Then she goes to the restroom and on the way to the restroom she sees Princess Lee Radziwill who she describes as the "classy lady that no one knows where she's the princess of." However, what the Princess doesn't know is she has a tiny piece of toilet paper hanging off her shoe, and she is walking around and the toilet paper won't fall off. "I thought I was gonna be sick. So I say to her, 'Hey Princess Lee—what are ya tryin' to do, make me sick?'. Jane Curtin asks her what this has to do with anything, and Roseannadanna says, "Well it just goes to show you, it's always something, you either got a toenail in your hamburger or toilet paper clinging in your shoe."

After Saturday Night Live[edit]

In Radner's off-Broadway one-woman show, she includes a sketch where Roseanadanna is invited to give the commencement speech at Columbia University. After disclosing that she was not the first choice for the commencement speech and that the university only called her after Geraldo Rivera pulled out because he "had a boil that needed to be lanced," she attempts to prepare the new graduates for the hard road ahead by describing a job interview she had with CBS, in which Walter Cronkite mistakenly thought she "passed gas" and consequently kicked her out of his office. The character is later credited as "co-author" of Radner's book Roseanne Roseannadanna's Hey Get Back to Work. In the last year of her life, Radner released a memoir of her experience with ovarian cancer, entitled It's Always Something. Radner also recorded the book on audio, imitating Roseannadanna and other of her SNL characters when describing those parts of her life.

List of SNL episodes featuring Rosanne Roseannadanna[edit]

The character also appeared in Radner's 1979 one-woman-show, Gilda Live.

A bumper graphic with Emma Stone (who was the host that night) in the November 12, 2011 had Stone as Roseanne.

See also[edit]