Rosie O'Donnell: An Inning of Her Own

There's no doubt from the frown on Rosie O'Donnell's brow that the mood is foul. "Sure," she hisses, "on top of everything else, you'll write that I'm one complete bitch!"

Not a chance--my mood is equal to hers. Separately but together, we've been wandering around the spooky warehouse district of downtown L.A., looking for the loft where we're supposed to meet, the victims of the crummy directions we've both received. It's ironic to see Rosie so pissed off, since these days she's just about the hottest comedienne going. She's shooting a TV series, "Stand By Your Man," opposite Melissa Gilbert and she co-stars with Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna in the summer movie A League of Their Own

David Galligan: So, what about "Stand By Your Man"? Your co-star is Melissa Gilbert? Rosie O'Donnell: (over-enunciating) Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman. It's based on a hot show out of England about two sisters who decide to live together when their husbands are sent to prison. Sort of "The-Odd-Couple-Meets-Laverne-and-Shirley."

Is Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman a comedienne?


Since you sort of mentioned "Laverne and Shirley," what was it like making Penny Marshall's movie A League of Their Own?

I was intimidated when I met her. I grew up watching her TV show. Then one day Penny said, "Rosie, don't tell anyone, but tomorrow when you come in you're going to meet Madonna. If she likes you--and if she likes me--maybe she'll do the movie. So try and be funny." Not enough pressure, right?

Did you become friendly with Madonna?

Yes. We had very similar lives as children. My mom died when I was young, as did hers; she's the oldest girl in her family, and so am I. I'm named after my mother, so is she. Big Catholic families. So we became friends on a more sisterly level than anything else. I had never known a grown woman who had lost her mother so young.

Are you two still friendly?

We see each other often. I forget that she's Madonna--but when you go out with her, you remember! Before I met her, I was always reading that Sean Penn was beating everyone up, and I thought that he must be a maniac. Now that I'm friends with her, I can understand--when we go out to the movies, and she's, like, 90 pounds and 5' 3", and everybody loves to touch her--I find myself screaming at people, "BACK OFF, MAN!" like I'm a pit bull.

You never thought that you'd become friends with her?

About three weeks before I met her, I went to see Truth or Dare with a friend of mine, and my friend goes, "Maybe you'll work with Madonna one day," and I go, "You're such a dork! She wouldn't like me, I'm such an idiot. She's a movie pop star, I'm a comedienne. I will never meet her--you know nothing about show business!" Like, three weeks later, I had to apologize.