Baby or Facelift (with Rosie O’Donnell)

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When Rosie O’Donnell chose to step away from her talk show after six successful seasons, her actor friends thought she was out of her mind. Sam asks Rosie what went into that professional choice and a personal one: celebrating her 50th by adopting a baby. Rosie relives moments like drunk-dialing Oprah, fighting with Eileen Fisher, and uttering a sentence that’s never been said in Hollywood.

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Rosie O’Donnell, Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee  00:21

I’m Samantha Bee, and I am obsessed with choice. Not just choice choice but choice as like supposedly the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day and I believe it. For example, here I am talking to you in my basement physically called and I’m tangled up in cables because I made the choice to prioritize literally anything but my own comfort for our first official recording. Why? Because great art can only be made in a state of mild distress. I don’t know. Lately, I personally have been the beneficiary of some choices made by other people. My TV show ended. I will say that at that point. I’ve been on TV for 20 years straight. So the question I was asking myself was, Well, who am I if I’m not on TV, like I mean, I thought it would be fine. But a lot of people around me kept saying that would be really hard. But I was pretty sure I had a healthy sense of self and that my ego isn’t wrapped up in having airtime. Like my sense of self is not dependent on being marginally famous. So all of a sudden, a was forced to confront that specter of being off TV for an unknown amount of time, maybe three months, but also maybe forever. So there were choices to be made, to not wallow, to allow myself to grieve and feel weird, and be weird, to feel mad, to feel sad, to feel happy, which also somehow made me feel guilty. But then ultimately, to put one foot in front of the other and just forge ahead. And then I got offered this great job, a play in New York, which I said yes to immediately because it was prestigious, and it felt so nice to be wanted and appreciated and have someone like urgently feel that need to snap me up. And it definitely was prestigious. It really was the kind of opportunity that comes to you once in a lifetime total dream job. But yet, I realized that this was actually the wrong choice for me. Because it wasn’t sitting easily in my psyche. I kept waking up in the night and worrying about it like a little you know, just like a little pebble in my shoe. And I think that that is because my initial yes, if I’m being perfectly honest, was driven by ego, rather than a real desire to do the actual hard job of actually being on a stage night after night. bringing someone else’s thoughts and words to life as good as they were and they weren’t good. So instead awkwardly with no panache at all or class I pulled myself out in a terrified like, what the fuck am I doing? I would have killed for this 20 years ago way. And I decided instead to speak my own words from the heart in two ways. A podcast which by the way welcome and a live touring show because when I really chalk a stark look at it. I kept saying to myself, all that is left is to speak from the heart in a totally uncompromising way. Until the end of your days. Samantha be so Okay, heavy. I booked dates before I had a concept. I said yes. And I committed to the process for having a single clue what any of it would look like in short I made a choice to bet on myself. And let me tell you something, I have never felt more free. This is choice words. I love talking to people hearing their stories, learning about their choices. What went into making a decision, when so often all we see is the public outcome. So thanks for joining me on this first episode of choice words. Today, I’m joined by TV host actor and comedian Rosie O’Donnell, who’s made some pretty big choices in her life and her career. Her new podcast onward is available wherever you’re listening to this enjoy and make good choices.

Rosie O’Donnell  06:02

So happy to see you.

Samantha Bee  06:03

I’m so happy to see your face. This is this is a total thrill for me, Rosie and I did a play together we did an Off Broadway show called Love loss and what I wore, and that’s how we met each other during these great monologues about like, what the outfits that you wear and your identity.

Rosie O’Donnell  06:24

A little bit ahead of its time now when you think back on it.

Samantha Bee  06:27

They really could do that show again and it would be it would feel very very timely. And then you had such a nice bond with my mother in law and you sent her like such a huge like loads of Eileen Fisher clothing.

Rosie O’Donnell  06:44

I had a fight with Eileen Fisher she made me very mad remember opening night she was like saying I said I just want to thank you because your clothes are don’t shame people who are heavy because their sizes are one two and three and the plus not like double x Triple X, you know, right and she goes well actually that’s not our normal size. I said excuse me, she said we don’t we don’t design for for that size we designed for a normal size to now listen since I’ve come to find out that she’s very nervous person that she’s has a lot of anxiety about speaking publicly and she was very kind in apologizing but it was such a gut like wrenching hardest scene in my night a knife in my heart rather that I said to your mom, dad, mother in law that we were talking and I said you know God dammit, I’m never wearing my Eileen Fisher she said I said done. And I sent her all my Eileen Fisher.

Samantha Bee  07:42

Well I have to tell you she’s still dining out rocket um, she’s that she’s rocking those Fishers. She’s rocking those cardigans. They’re incredible quality. This podcast brought to you by Eileen Fisher.Okay, so this podcast that I’m we’re going to talk about your podcast right now or whatever.

Rosie O’Donnell  08:00

Yeah, so let’s do this one. What is your what’s your idea? Because I didn’t have an idea. You’re smarter than me, you have a good idea.

Samantha Bee  08:07

It is a good idea. But you have an idea. Here’s this onward.

Rosie O’Donnell  08:12

It’s just I got to 60. And you know what? Everything else that’s happened in the past. I can’t fix now, Ron word for the last part of our life on but I didn’t have like an idea. Like, they told me to the premise. And I was like, oh, I have a lot of options of where I could answer this. You know?

Samantha Bee  08:29

Since we’re talking about big choices, because I, for my own part was faced with these big choices, my troubles, your show got canceled, totally fine. But then you kind of have to make some big choices in that moment. You’re like, Well, yes. First of all, literally, who am I? If I’m not doing this job with this job, it was my it wasn’t my identity. But it you think it’s your you know, you of course, you feel like it’s your identity for a really long time. And then you’re like, Well, who am I? What’s next? Is there anything next? What are the choices that I’m going to make? What are the bad ones that have led me here? What are the good ones that have led me here? So I’m so curious about? Because you’ve made some you’ve made some big swings you made? And I you know, and we’ve kind of witnessed them or like witnessed them from a distance? Yeah. So I wonder if you think about some of the big choices that you’ve made. Are there any that that you look back on that surprise you or any that stand out to you as like a real pivot point?

Rosie O’Donnell  09:30

Well, you know, I think career wise, it’s very interesting that I can make the choice in one category or the other in my private life, or in my career, but the biggest one was leaving the show when I left because, you know, I was turning 40 And my mother died at 39. And I had all these little kids, and she never got to, you know, come to a little league game. She never got to, you know, she was She was a PTA mother up until the fifth grade, which is the year she died that I was in. In fifth grade. She was in the PTA and was very sort of known in the school. I remember when she would walk in the elementary school. And here she had five children all in elementary school at once. And all the teachers would come out because they were young, it was the 60s, it was a new development in in Long Island that were sprouting up in the 60s and the school was new, and teachers were in their 20s. And they apparently thought she was a riot, because I used to watch through the window, how the other teachers would laugh in their shoulders would go and, and I’d watch my mom kind of making quips and I remember one time I went to the PTA with her because I was sick or had come from a sports thing. And I went with her and watched her kind of do stand up, Sam, right in front of all these Parent Teachers Association. And I remember thinking, wow, that’s powerful. Look at how she controlled the whole room, you know, and I knew that she wanted more than anything was to participate with her five children. She was an only child. So I felt I kind of owed it to myself, to her and to my own children to be done when I had enough money and accolades and adoration. And I knew it was time to give myself to my kids and to step away from this very loud career where you always have to sort of be on and there’s always something a little bit more important. And, you know, there’s a dinner with Hillary Clinton and, and there’s a charity I have to go to I remember Parker was five, and he said, Why are you going out again? And I said, well, there are some kids that don’t have enough money for medicine, and Mommy’s gonna go do a fundraiser and help take care of those kids. And he said, why don’t you stay home and take care of us?

Samantha Bee  12:03

See, looking directly down the barrel of your soul?

Rosie O’Donnell  12:07

Yes, yes. So when the deal came up, you know, I had told everyone, I was only going to do five years on the talk show. And then I would be 40. And I would go about my life and, you know, take occasional acting things if I was lucky enough to get them. But, you know, I had had a pretty good run of it and a bunch of movies and then this successful show, right, that I, I felt finished and I felt certain that the next thing I had to do was focused on on raising my kids. And so that’s the one I think of when we talk about career fright. But the other one that is as big was the decision to adopt another baby at 50.

Samantha Bee  12:51

What made you make that choice? How did you come to that?

Rosie O’Donnell  12:54

You know, it’s funny, I had a heart attack. Okay. And I was looking for a reason to live in some way. I didn’t know it. Until I got a phone call. I went to the publicist Lois Smith. You remember Lois? Yeah, yeah, she formed PNK with Pat Kingsley. And she was Marilyn Monroe’s publicist, Meryl Streep, she was everyone’s right. And I was lucky that I was like her last client that she took on and, and she had passed away and a terrible accident fell down the stairs. And I was at her funeral. And someone came up to me and said, Oh, by the way, I’m using that lawyer that you use to adopt Parker and I said, Not possible. He retired, he had a medical condition. And he retired. She’s, well, he’s come back and a very small exclusive kind of adoption agency. And so on the way home, I called him up and said, hey, it’s Rosie, are you okay? I’m, I’m happy to hear you’re back working and yeah, casually mentions, we have a birth mother that would like to make sure that the child is is in a house with no dad or brothers or, you know, older men in so I was like, why don’t you tell her it’s me and asked her if she would do an open adoption and sign some non disclosures. So we could keep, you know, as much of it private as as possible, but give her you know, access. And this was not how I did my other adoptions 20 years ago, because it was different than, you know, adoptions were closed and people who were famous always did closed for fear of, you know, crisis’s and publicity and so that I think was my biggest pivot as a non career move. And it has changed my life in so many ways, Sam, Oh, can’t even begin like, you know, I always make the joke. Well, I turned 50 And I could either have an A facelift or adopt a baby and you know, I took the infant, but you know, she has autism. She is non binary. She is creative and quirky and 10 and wild, and the most amazing addition to my world, what she has brought in to me with the way she sees the world and what is important to her. And it’s, it’s beautiful, it’s changed everything.

Samantha Bee  15:15

This is incredibly beautiful. Like, you know, there’s nothing, I never hear a story that makes me think there’s anything bad about adding more love to your life, it’s never a mistake, to add more love to your life.

Rosie O’Donnell  15:30

I agree. I have always agreed. And to me, there’s nothing that has ever come close to the feeling of being a mom and having that connection with a kid, nevermind five of them, you know, and working it out and figuring them out.

Samantha Bee  15:47

I cannot express. I feel like as you were describing the two big choices in your life, I just got so emotional. I love everything that you’re saying, oh, you know, like, some of the best advice that I ever got from a weird place was like, kind of figure out what it is that you need to live on for the rest of your life at some point, and then just stop. And then just like literally walk away. Yeah. And I think my show ending coincided with when I actually did need to walk away. So it kind of just happened on its own. Right. But making that choice is very hard. I’m sure people tried to convince you not to.

Rosie O’Donnell  16:25

Well, yes, especially the career choice, people were leaving you out of your mind, you’re never going to make this money again, you’re never going to have this much power. And I’m like, you know, power is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of stress. And yes, you’re just one person, no matter how successful you get in whatever industry, right? You’re just one person and you have one, you know, pizza pie, and how you slice your time and what you give attention to and you have to create, you know, slices that gets smaller and smaller as we get older and older. Right? And how do you want your last 30 summers to look? If you’re lucky enough to have 30 more summers at 61. You know, what do you what do you want the last 25 years to be?

Samantha Bee  17:07

Yeah, how do you want to spend that time? And yeah, don’t you think people I think actually here in particular in the States, we really have trouble figuring out what is enough. Yes. We can’t grapple with the concept that we could possibly have enough.

Rosie O’Donnell  17:23

You know, it’s so true. When my show was about to end, I was at dinner with Nora Ephron in Hollywood. And Steve Martin and Martin Short. And, you know, it was like that group, right? Yeah, it was power group. And I was there. And they were like, Steve, I remember Steve Martin saying, so you really want to leave? You know, I was like, Yeah. And they said, Well, why would you? I said, Well, you know what, I really have more than enough money. Right? And there was dead silence. Dead silence. Right. And Steve goes, I don’t believe that sentence has ever been uttered in Hollywood. You know?

Samantha Bee  17:58

That’s true.

Rosie O’Donnell  17:59

Yeah. At some point, you have enough, you know, and you don’t realize that you have enough. What a waste of your life. You know,

Samantha Bee  18:08

What a waste. Yes, defining success is very, it’s very tricky business here. It’s so tricky that I think people don’t people achieve great height. I mean, this is just, I’m just rambling. But I do think people achieve success here by any reasonable measure, but still don’t think that they have achieved it.

Rosie O’Donnell  18:29

I so agree. I so agree. And I used to say, you know, years ago to Madonna, I would be like, you know, MO You want every race theorist you can take off the sneakers. We don’t gotta run anymore. Here, Madonna. It’s done.

Samantha Bee  18:42

If you’re a legend, yes.

Rosie O’Donnell  18:47

Generational talent, Global International. How do you top that? Or how do you think, why do you think you would need to, you know, that’s sort of, I remember thinking when I was on my show, thinking about Oprah that, you know, she was the richest woman in the world. And I always would say, you know, I would take that Stedman and be on an island in Hawaii, and you would never see me again.

Samantha Bee  19:09

Right? And then they are in Hawaii, but they still keep doing other stuff.

Rosie O’Donnell  19:13

I guess, when you’re, you know, the one of the most powerful people in the in the world, it’s hard to step down from that and in some ways, and she doesn’t have children. I know she has career and she has close friends and she has Steadman, but you know, and I’m not, I’m not talking out of school here because we’re, you know, I don’t, I don’t call or I’m not, you know, I know or when I see or were cordial, but I don’t call her up at least anymore. I did call her once when I was very sad after Columbine and I said, somebody erased her number from my phone. Call her a lot and a couple of drinks and I was like, Let’s do something else. Free and this is like 1997 I’m sure she’s thinking what the hell have I gotten myself in.

Samantha Bee  19:56

Like you when you drunk dial someone? It’s Oprah. Like it’s literal.

Rosie O’Donnell  20:00

Once I drunk dialed hysterical dial more even than drunk. It was like my hysterical crying. She was, you know, pretty good. She didn’t flip out. She sent me flowers the next day said, I hope you’re okay. But like my number, bitch, please

Samantha Bee  20:17

Throw your phone in the ocean. There’s more with Rosie O’Donnell in just a moment. Putting purpose in your life, like it’s so smart, real purpose, real, real purpose.

Rosie O’Donnell  24:08

And you know sometimes what what drives us when we’re young, you know and and you and I you know starting out as women in comedy I mean, you know, that was such a difficult bite to take that we both took, you know, took about a community that was not set up for women in any way the stand up especially and Yeah, going on the road all those years with, you know, men knowing their wives having them pick up the waitress from the club. And you know, here I am 1819 And they come home Oh, how was your trip in Atlanta with my husband?

Samantha Bee  24:44

Don’t ask me.

Rosie O’Donnell  24:45

Right. Please don’t put me in that position. And it was just such a hard business, I think for women and if I had known how hard it was, I don’t know that I would have so assuredly headed towards that direction in my life. I didn’t realize sort of how much the odds were stacked against you. But I also had, I don’t know, if you had this, every woman that I’ve spoken to successful has said they’ve had it in some sort of way. But I had a certainty about my career.

Samantha Bee  25:16

That’s very interesting. I do talk to women who have had that certainty. And I can’t say that I had that certainty when I was very young, but once I was in it, I had a certainty about the quality of the work. Does that make sense? You know what I mean? I was like, yes. A standard us. Yeah, like a standard and a certainty that I was doing a good job. Yes. Like, this is good. This is very, very good. It’s maybe not for everybody. But this is very good. And I’m very happy and proud to be doing it.

Rosie O’Donnell  25:46

And that’s all we can ask for in our work, right? That’s all we can ask to

Samantha Bee  25:51

Speak from the heart and to say something that’s true. And to say something that like resonates inside you is really all that. It’s really all that there is. You know, you spoke about Columbine, just a couple of minutes ago. And I do, boy, when that happened, you really, really address it on your show. And prior to that you hadn’t really been political on your show sound at all? Not at all.

Rosie O’Donnell  26:16

Because I was thinking of, you know, Merv Griffin, it was Mike Douglas, to me, it was a place where you know, you would get a Broadway actor or you know, Roberta Flack on a Thursday, the gas drops out in Philly, she gets on the train, everybody’s friends, and nobody gets hurt. And that was the premise, you know, for the show, especially at a time when people were being murdered on daytime shows and bloodied, you know, so it was quite a different choice for people. But I never really intended for it to be political until Columbine happened. And right, I really did have a complete breakdown. I mean, you know, I went to the doctor psychiatrists, which I had been seeing my whole life since I was 18, but not for medication in any way. And this woman said, Well, you need to go on medication. And I was like, Are you sure? She said, I’m positive. Now I couldn’t sleep. I was waking up in the middle of the night, my hands were shaking, I couldn’t stop crying. I had a complete like physical as well as mental like, breakdown. And she said, I go, how long will I have to take these medicines, and she said, for the rest of your life. And I remember thinking at the time, holy crap, you know, the rest of my life, but I got on them. And I started to see a little bit of light, right, and a few months later, some more light and all of a sudden, I was not shaking and, and I realized I need them like a car that leaks gas, if I don’t, you know, a little leaks oil, if you don’t put oil in, if you don’t tend to the oil of that car, it’s going to cease, right? And you’re not going to be able to run it. So, you know, one time since then, since 99. Sam, I asked my doctor, I was feeling so much better. And I had I was done with working and I was home with my kids. And I said, Can I just try? You know, going off it titrating it down? And? And they said sure. And within two weeks, I was in my bed crying. Wow. And I called the doctor and said, Don’t ever let me do it again.

Samantha Bee  28:16

Right? I need to, I got to write a letter to myself. And I’m going to sign it and seal it up. Bring that out.

Rosie O’Donnell  28:23

Yes. It was such a difficult thing to think that children in America were going to be killed in their schools and I had these little babies toddling around in diapers. You know, it was it was overwhelming.

Samantha Bee  28:35

How frustrating is that, that we’re still literally having these conversations that we just weren’t that is worse than ever.

Rosie O’Donnell  28:42

And it’s every other day that we’re at 260 shot a you know, mass shootings since the start of this year. And, and it doesn’t even really make the news anymore. Oh, what happened in North Carolina, only four people shot at the, you know, Costco or whatever the it’s like ridiculous, ridiculous. And I feel a fear to go out. Like I sometimes I say, oh, you know what, honey, we can run to target and get you that, you know, and then I think maybe I’ll just order it.

Samantha Bee  29:10

I mean, I talked a lot about guns on full frontal and we just like got so much fantastic. So much pushback so much like, how about threats? Actual threat? Yeah, actual threats, like disgusting. And I just go, the majority of us want some type of change.

Rosie O’Donnell  29:28

The vast majority. And it is just terrifying. And you look at every other country, and you hear the pundits saying well, this is the best country in the world. Well, by what metrics, right, by what metrics are we using nowadays to judge you know, right, that this is the best country in the world? I question. Is it the way we lock up more people than any other country by tenfold in prison? And, you know, is it the military industrial complex is that the level of abuse that happens are kids in foster care like where are you making the comparisons?

Samantha Bee  30:01

Does all our kids all know how to hide in a cupboard and lock the door and turn the lights off?

Rosie O’Donnell  30:06

I know you’re too young to remember, but I have vague memories of like kindergarten duck and cover going under the desks. You know, nuclear threat. Yes, the nuclear threat. And when I was in kindergarten, I imagine right it was born in 62. So, like, 67 you know, and that’s what people were doing. And I remember it was a terrifying concept. I remember thinking even as a little kid, oh, no, we could get blown up right now. Right.

Samantha Bee  30:33

Thank God we have this desk that will protect us from later.

Rosie O’Donnell  30:37

Thank God. Yeah. I just worry these kids have 24 hour access to crises and to problems all the time and they’re holding that phone and so are we their parents and you know, it’s too much incoming.

Samantha Bee  30:53

Oh, it’s a lot. It’s a barrage it’s, it’s constant. But there’s also cooking videos which I am grateful for. I’ll say that because they are.

Rosie O’Donnell  31:03

Are you a good cook?

Samantha Bee  31:04

I am a good cook but my kids are learning how to cook from TikTok so there there’s some there’s a lot of everything but there’s also had a season chicken.

Rosie O’Donnell  31:16

Yes, I’m gonna which is an important thing to know for life.

Samantha Bee  31:19

I’m gonna give you a thumbs up on that. Hold that thought more with Rosie O’Donnell after one more break. Okay, we talk about just for once I’m going to totally go anywhere you want ask me anything like I did you I cuz I saw an Instagram post where you were talking about seeing whales outside.

Rosie O’Donnell  34:08

Can I tell you this? First of all, I’m just gonna show you this. Oh, and let’s see if I could turn this around. There is the water right there. So my backyard is the water the water. So I sit here almost all day. And when she I dropped her at school in the morning, and then I have to like 230 or three and, and I’m sitting out here one day and all of a sudden, I go what the this thing. This whale came out like vertically. And it had its mouth open and then it shut its mouth and kind of fell over sideways. And I ran outside to my little deck and then I see my neighbors for the first time because you never see anyone when you live in Malibu, and they’re like, Excuse me, ma’am. Like yes. They said Do you think that that whale is okay. I stole from my degree and underwater oceanic. Unlike studies, I said, honey, they look like it looks like she’s eating I don’t know, you know?

Samantha Bee  35:05

Oh my god, I can’t believe the setting for your office. This is a dream.

Rosie O’Donnell  35:09

It is a dream. Now I only rented this house for a year because I turned 60. And I wanted to give myself a gift. And I’m not good at doing that. I’m not like I, I don’t go and get Rolex watches or assurance of clothes or even cars, I don’t really care, you know. But this, I was like, I want to do that for a year. And I hired a chef, and I focused on my health. So I lost weight. I got all my numbers down. And now I’m moving to, you know, a play still close here, but not this view. And people are like, Well, why don’t you just buy it? I’m like, well, it’s $12 million. So many, millions, many millions of dollars. And that’s another thing people think about celebrities that everyone is a multi multi millionaire, right? Of course, you can afford a house in the Malibu colony on the beach. No, those are 33 million. You know, so, I find that if you grew up normally in America, you know, struggling to pay the bills and normal family. And then you become very wealthy very quickly. It’s hard to kind of find where you fit, you know?

Samantha Bee  36:18

Yes. Like, it’s hard to know. And well, I mean, it makes you a good saver. Yes, for sure. Good saver. And it makes you always have a backup plan. But yes, I don’t know about you. I grew up super working class. And like, you know, and got lucky in TV. I feel like that’s like luck. I mean, like hard work, but like lot’s of luck. Totally luck, I believe. Totally luck. Yeah. But then still, I’m like, Well, I gotta have a backup to the backup. Like, I’m gonna go, I’ll go get a job in there’s a bakery down the street. I’m like, if I can work there. Yeah. Like I would love that greeting everybody.

Rosie O’Donnell  36:53

It’s funny. I’m so obsessed now with my daughter and with her spectrum issues. And I’m I want to do just that. I want to go and get my teaching degree. Yeah. Able, like I want to be able to foster kids who are on the spectrum, right? Families, maybe don’t get them. And I know, when they say when you’ve met one autistic kid, you’ve met one autistic kid. They’re all different, right? One diagnosis of autism doesn’t look anything like the next person’s diagnosis of autism.

Samantha Bee  37:24

Would you consider going back to school? Would you say I think about I think about that. So you would go back to school. It’s a great idea.

Rosie O’Donnell  37:31

I have always felt pulled towards things I love. And this feels like that poll. Again. I love Yeah, Ricki Lake is a friend and she lives here. And she has done so much in the world of of giving birth at birth, the business of being born her documentary, they have to help so many women. It’s 25 years old, and isn’t really Yeah, and they’re about to reissue it. Well, so we were talking at dinner, and she said, you know, well, I don’t have any interest in show business anymore. All I want to do is help these women learn about what your body can do in order to give birth, you know, and how there’s a corrupt kind of business sense around it that scares women. And, and she really wants to focus on that. And and I said the same thing. I said, you know, Rick, if I could do nothing but autism stuff.

Samantha Bee  38:19

Right? I don’t think it’s ever too late to find a new calling. To be like called to do something like yours if you’re 60. So what?

Rosie O’Donnell  38:30

Exactly. Still living in and nor used to tell everyone, I didn’t direct my first movie till I was nearly 50. You know, or something? Yeah. So it’s never too late. And I really do know that. But I think the call is to follow the poll. Right. Yeah. And our career and our pivots that the show, you know, so accurately questions, the pivots and the is there regret, you know, right. I think those are our wonderful markings along the hallways of your life, you know, oh, remember when I did that here, I turned left, remember?

Samantha Bee  39:04

Right. Yeah. Follow the pole, though. Follow the pole is like the very, very good advice. I was thinking about going back to Wales for one sec. Did you know that there there are whales that go through menopause?

Rosie O’Donnell  39:19

No, how do you know that? It’s more of a question.

Samantha Bee  39:22

Well, as a pair of menopausal woman, I’m actually there. So I’m doing this touring show, so called to talk about women’s health. So I’m really that’s my call right now. We’re talking about women’s health a lot good for you because oh, boy, the things that we don’t know about our bodies. And so just learning and experiencing and going through perimenopause, and it’s been like, mind blowing experience and it…

Rosie O’Donnell  39:47

Should I tell you something. when I was your age, yeah, I had already been through menopause. It started at 40 for me for it and my mother was an only child and died early so I didn’t have any family members disorder. go hey, you know, right. But I went through it before any of my friends and I hadn’t really researched it. I did not watch my mother go through it I had when I was in the height of it. I wanted to, like kill women who were older than me at the mall. I wanted to go, why didn’t you warn us? What are you 72? Could you not have written a book? Like a pamphlet? Anything? thing something to you like? You’re going to think you’re going insane. You’re going to think your body is going to explode of heat. You’re going to not be able to walk around without looking like you’re in the shower. You know, it was it was so difficult. My kids were in parkas and mittens in the house. Yeah, sometimes. And I don’t know. It was a crazy, crazy time for women. Crazy time.

Samantha Bee  40:52

Yeah, I definitely like when my when my stepmom was going through it. We had little babies and she would come to New York City to like to push the babies in a stroller. If we were doing a job or something. It was like incredible. And she had to wear like Bjorn Borg style sweatbands on her head and her and her wrists. Because if she didn’t we have them on our wrists, pull water would pour down her arms and off her fingertips.

Rosie O’Donnell  41:17

Oh my god.

Samantha Bee  41:18

We were like, What is going on with your body? And she was like, you wait.

Rosie O’Donnell  41:22

Just you wait, that’s what they say. What if I would have seen a woman like that? You know, in my target, I would have hugged her and said, I totally get it. Damn those people who didn’t tell us.

Samantha Bee  41:35

Oh, boy. You know what? I remember that you had frozen shoulder. Sorry.

Rosie O’Donnell  41:41

God, it was so bad. It’s so bad. But do you know what it took a good two and a half, three years.

Samantha Bee  41:48

I had it two years, it took three years.

Rosie O’Donnell  41:52

That’s when I found out about this. I I was in a little honey wagon doing something and I took off my sports bra. And I felt like, oh, and I thought, Oh, that’s weird. You know, Oh, I must have, oh, it felt like it’ll go away. Well, the next morning I woke up and I could not move my left shoulder or arm nor could you touch it or lean on it or get anywhere near it. I thought for sure I had, you know, pop the rotator cuff and like, that’s even possible. And, and I went to the doctor and he said, Oh, no, you have frozen shoulder. And then I went to the rehab. And I said, Well, how long is this going to take? He says it usually takes two to three years. Years.

Samantha Bee  42:33

I have never experienced anything like frozen shoulder in my life. And so many people, so many people get it. And you know, nobody talks about that.

Rosie O’Donnell  42:43

And nobody knows how or why you get it. Nobody that sounds to older women and men.

Samantha Bee  42:50

All kinds of men. And they don’t talk about it at all because they’re like, oh, it’s like a women’s thing. Right but it’s just so everybody thing.

Rosie O’Donnell  42:57

And everybody thing and it’s it’s almost like a possession it’s like you lose the power of of your whole shoulder and arm an how you stand and it affects every part of you.

Samantha Bee  43:10

You’re in it and mentally because you’re in so much pain all the time.

Rosie O’Donnell  43:16

And ask people in your house, you know, sometimes a child of mine, could you help me snap my bra? Because I couldn’t literally snap my bra. I’m thinking oh, the therapy they’re going to need when my mom was 50 She may she nap or bar for two years.

Rosie O’Donnell  43:34

I have my son ran he just like was skipping or doing something like running around. And he knocked into my arm at a party city once when we were gathering like candles and birthday hats. And I screamed.

Samantha Bee  43:55

All right. So onward. I’m so excited. I’ve been listening. It’s great.

Rosie O’Donnell  44:00

Thank you so much. That was nice of you.

Samantha Bee  44:03

I loved the Brooke Shields one.

Rosie O’Donnell  44:06

Yeah. I love that. I love talking to Chita Rivera. I mean, I love talking to SharonGlass. And, you know, it’s it’s funny. Some people say, what do you do people who are old, like Oh, first of all, I’m old. Number one I’m 61 and the people who inspired me in this career and who I look up to that day they don’t change. Right you don’t change your heroes, you know?

Samantha Bee  44:31

Well, I gotta tell you, I got to thank you so much for this.

Rosie O’Donnell  44:34

Oh, honey. Anytime you want to talk to me on the podcast or off please just call me.

Samantha Bee  44:40

Oh, you got it. Well, videos.

Rosie O’Donnell  44:43

Well, listen. Thank you for having me, Sam. Anytime, honey, peace out.

Samantha Bee  44:51

That was Rosie O’Donnell. And I had no choice but to Google. One thing she said like I did not realize that hiding under one’s desk during a nuclear attack was like a real program that the US taught in all schools starting in the 50s. I thought that was just some quirky thing that some schools tried. Why did we think that our desks were going to save us? That was official government policy? Anyway, you know, it’s fine. I guess things really haven’t gotten much better. Thank you so much to Rosie for coming on. A good news. There’s more Choice Words with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, like a rapid fire round of trivia questions based off this interview. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

CREDITS  45:50

Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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