“My teenagers are a nightmare, they’re horrible,” the mother of five told a captivated audience during her set at The Fund for Women’s Equality & The ERA Coalition’s A Night of Comedy with Jane Fonda in New York.
“I had four teenagers when I decided to adopt a newborn baby. You might ask why. Because I had four teenagers and I needed to remind myself that I actually do love children,” O’Donnell explained as the audience cracked up. “Because I would trade each teen for autistic triplets, I am just saying I would.”
“Oh, that’s not right,” she said her after controversial comment.
The comedian’s daughter Chelsea left home in August and was missing for several hours before police found her with her 25-year-old boyfriend, an alleged heroin addict. She now lives with his family in New Jersey.
Though she didn’t mention Chelsea specifically during the show, she did joke about her parenting struggles.
“My son told me he’s writing a book, Life With Mom: Not So Rosie.,” the former host of The View said. “I found it annoying.”
“I did the best I could,” she added. “They blame you for everything.”
O’Donnell, 53, also discussed her own dark experiences growing up: “I didn’t have parents! My mother died, my father was a drunk abusive idiot. I had nothing, and my children complain, ‘You wouldn’t even help me with math!’ ”
On stage, O’Donnell recalled her biggest mistake with her oldest child, Parker.
“When he was 17 I made the biggest parenting mistake of my life,” she admitted. “He had a girlfriend who was a year older, they were dating for three years. We went away on vacation for Christmas in Jamaica. There weren’t enough bedrooms. … I said, ‘You and Allison could possibly share a room if you’d like on this trip,’ and you know, all of a sudden, we didn’t see him. So I said to Vivi, my 10-year-old, ‘Where the hell is Parker?’ She says, ‘Where do you think he is, Mom? He’s in the bedroom with Allison, bom chicka wah wah.’ ”
“That’s bad parenting on a lot of levels,” O’Donnell said, laughing. “I had no power after that. Zero.”