Jimmy Fallon has Rosie O'Donnell on as a guest tonight and it reminded me of my encounter with Rosie back in 1991.
I was the morning deejay on Kix 106 in Providence, Rhode Island. I was asked if I would have Rosie on as a guest. She was doing her stand-up act at a local comedy club and was making the rounds on local radio stations to promote the show.
At the time, she was the host of VH1's "Stand Up Spotlight". She did a little standup comedy on each show and then brought other comedians on. VH1 still played a lot of music videos at the time so it was a show that kind of stood out and was a big help in giving her national exposure.
My show was on from 5-10 a.m. She came in with the promoter from the club who was appointed as her driver at around 7 a.m.
Rosie was wearing overalls and immediately announced she was tired and didn't know how I could be so cheery that early. It made sense at the time -- she was primarily a stand-up comedienne and that meant working late nights at comedy clubs doing her routine.
She was gracious and funny. We were on about 4-5 minutes and then I had to get a commercial break and traffic report on before chatting with her some more.
During the break, she looked at me and said "I know you make a lot of money". I stared at her in disbelief. I asked "Did I leave my paystub lying around?"
She said, "No. But I just turned down an offer to be on the Howard and Stephanie morning show on Hot 97 in New York for $500,000. I thought it would tie me down too much from my stand-up and TV career which is really taking off so I turned it down. Plus, I'm working on some possible movie deals."
I was making $27,000 a year at the time.
We finished up her time on the air and after she left I wondered if she made the right choice.
I think its obvious looking back... that she did.