Overview: ROSIE O’DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STAND UP, A UNIQUE HYBRID OF COMEDY, CONFESSION AND LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION. This unique fusion of comedy, confession and life-saving information, ROSIE O’DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STAND UP finds one of America’s most beloved comedians using a familiar platform – the stand-up stage – to deliver an important message. More women die from heart disease each year in the U.S. than from all forms of cancer combined, making it the leading cause of death among American women. But the majority of them don’t call 911 at the first sign of heart trouble. “I wanted to raise awareness about women’s heart disease, since I found out the hard way that I knew nothing about the number-one killer of women,” says O’Donnell. Taped at the Levity Live Comedy Club inside the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY, the special showcases O’Donnell’s skills as a laugh-out-loud stand-up comedian, while incorporating a vital message literally near and dear to her heart.
A newly remarried wife and the mother of five, she shares her hilarious and earnest take on the joys and trials of family life, her ongoing infatuation with Barbra Streisand, her second chance at marriage with wife Michelle, and everything in-between. After a raucous stand-up act, O’Donnell opens up about her life-changing 2012 medical emergency with characteristic candor. Not realizing she was exhibiting the key symptoms of a major heart attack for women, which are different from those experienced by men, she didn’t seek treatment for two days. Against all odds, she survived. In this special, she stands up to heart disease, revealing life-saving facts to help women at risk. O’Donnell closes the show by sharing a useful acronym of her own creation – HEPPP – to help women remember the symptoms of a heart attack: Hot, Exhausted, Pain, Pale and Puke. Between the pathos and laughs, she offers this critical message: “Please call 911, know the signs and save yourself.”
ROSIE O’DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STAND UP was written by Rosie O’Donnell; directed and produced by Dan Chaykin; director of photography, Sam Painter; edited by Geof Bartz; produced by Larissa Bills; supervising producer, Jacqueline Glover; executive producers, Sheila Nevins and Rosie O’Donnell.
Expectations: I have to admit I was never a great fan of Rosie. Let me clarify by saying I never liked Rosie O’Donnell the personality – the one seen on The View. You know the one, she who is the brash talker full of opinion and attitude that makes it sound like whatever she says is the true way to believe. Her opinions became valued by some and demanded to be respected by all. Yes, that one. That persona seemed to overshadow Rosie O’Donnell the comedienne. In fact, I cannot remember Rosie the stand-up. Was she funny? I guess the question is she funny now?
The only other point is how is this special balanced? Is it more informative or stand-up? I’ll watch the special and let you know. Here is a trailer.
Gut Reaction: Hey, I was pleasantly surprised. She still has it. Rosie O’Donnell the comedienne is better than the celebrity side of her. She put out an okay fifty-nine minute set mostly about her family. It wasn’t until the last ten minutes that she talked about her heart attack. She didn’t totally switch gears though, she still keeps it funny. The attending crowd in this stage in a Nyack mall were quite appreciative of her set.
It is sort of odd that this program went under the banner of an HBO Documentary as opposed to an HBO Special. HBO used too always have comedy specials back in the day and sadly we see less and less of them now. Since this program was more stand-up than an informative piece it could have been billed a HBO Comedy Special. I guess since the Documentary head Shelia Nevins was executive producer it flew under her banner instead. That is a minor complaint really.
In Conclusion: I enjoyed her set as well. It was entertaining and nice to see she went back to her comedic roots and did it. I say this all the while thinking of the other part of her her personality that is once again making a circus of The View, which I don’t even watch. You just know she is causing a buzz over there as she departs it once again. Maybe, she will take her show on the road? She is better at that gig, anyway.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STANDUP debuted on Valentine’s Day, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14 at 10:00pm. Other HBO playdates include 02.17 at 9:00am, 7:00pm and 11:45pm; 02.20 at 1:15pm & 4:30am; 02.21 at 7:00pm; 02.22 at 3:00pm; 02.23 at 12:45am; 02.26 at 9:15am and into March as well as on HBOGo. Her fans should just adore it.
About The Author
Editor at Large of HBOWatch.com and the internet's foremost HBO expert.