Roseanne Barr may have had the top-rated show on television last year, but life offscreen hasn't been so rosy for her.

Security at the Los Angeles studio where her hit show is taped has been beefed up. No audience members are permitted to enter until they've handed over their purses and briefcases for inspection by a guard. Then everyone must walk through a metal detector. Barr fears for her safety: She has received numerous death threats since singing "The Star-Spangled Banner," with assorted accompanying gestures, at a baseball game last July. But beyond that, the comedian is fed up with show business and says she plans to move the show to Minneapolis, away from the pressures of Hollywood. She said that if she feels the same way when her contract is up, she'll quit altogether.

Barr has had it with the Hollywood system and the people who run it -- she calls it all "unbearable" -- and with the persistent tabloid press invasion of her privacy.

"I just want to get out of here and quit -- I can't take the attack any more," said the comedian in a phone interview recently.

Even on the phone, Barr comes across alternately as a woman in deep emotional pain, a plucky, assertive feminist and a romantic newlywed, talking often of her new husband and manager, Tom Arnold. "Everybody here is sure if they could just knock you down a peg or two," she said dejectedly, "they'd have your job. I'm going to try to hang in till my contract for the show is up, and if I'm feeling the same way, then I'd just like to get out and go to an island and have more kids. I can't bear this anymore. I don't see this for myself after the show is over."

She still has five years to go on her contract; already, she said, she's pushing to tape the show next season at Paisley Park, Prince's production studio in Minneapolis. She said the other actors, including John Goodman, who plays her husband on "Roseanne," have said they would go too.

She and Tom Arnold are buying a house in Minneapolis, Barr said. . "I really love it so much, and we're planning to move there as soon as we can. ... I think we'll be commuting there. I'd like to move the show there as fast as I possibly can. ... Maybe the beginning of next season. I'm really praying for that. ...

"That's where Tom and I met, and he has a lot of friends there. Minneapolis is great. It's real artsy but laid-back and there are no show business people, and reporters don't jump out at you in your driveway," said Barr.

A spokesman for Carsey-Werner, which produces "Roseanne," said yesterday that a move to Minneapolis hasn't been discussed, but added, "That is not to say it won't be discussed."

"I just can't stand Hollywood," said Barr. "Show business is a small, close-minded nation. Everybody thinks they're responsible for your success, and they're all suing you. I have so many lawsuits coming up that they've got to stand in line till the 21st century."

And now the comedian may be cruising for another if she makes good on her threats. She is ticked off at Bette Midler, who was quoted in last month's Redbook magazine as calling today's women comics "low-life sluts."

Said Barr, heatedly: "If I ever see her ugly face, I'm gonna slap ... her till her goddam eyeballs spin -- that bitch. And I will see her, so y'all can be watching for it. I'll slap her till she can't see straight, and I'll pull off her little wig too. Why wouldn't I? She called me a slut! And my husband might beat up her husband!"

Watch out, hubby Martin von Hasolberg: Recently, Arnold took on five tabloid photographers at Los Angeles Airport when one of them, claimed Barr, "purposely threw a big battery pack that barely missed my head. Tom went nuts. These are horrible people. I can't walk through an airport because they're there waiting for me and taking a thousand pictures that so blind you by their flash you can't see. It's like being a {trapped} rat."

But, said Barr, "we'll never have to beat them up again." That's because she now avoids airport terminals by arriving in an armored car that delivers her right to the plane. And, she just bought her own Learjet. "You have to pay 90 percent of the money you make just to live like a normal person," lamented the comedian. "It's sad that I can't walk through an airport; but if I lived in Minneapolis, I probably could."

Last week, Barr and Arnold slipped away to an Iowa cabin for some fishing and downtime together. The two are trying to conceive a child, but Barr, 37, who has given birth to four kids, says the delivery must be timed to coincide with her show's summer hiatus. "It takes six weeks to get better and I can't be working. But I've always had luck," she said, "so I'm sure I'll have it at the perfect time."

Meanwhile, Barr is on a 12-Step Program to deal with compulsive overeating, compulsive disorders and nicotine addiction. The program, she said, "works because you turn over your stuff to a higher power and the higher power takes care of you."

But when it comes to her professional life, Barr isn't turning anything important over to anyone. Last year on her series she suffered because "there were shows I didn't want to do and fought against, but which I had to do anyway. It was awful," she said. "They were writing my character as if she were ALF."

This season, Barr has total creative control, and she and Arnold are the show's producers. Barr has hired new writers -- mostly former stand-up comics from the Midwest, some of them first-time TV writers. "It's much more collaborative," she said.

She's also pleased by her return to stand-up comedy after a three-year absence. In July, she headlined in Atlantic City. On Nov. 2, she'll appear at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. In her new act she sings and spoofs "women in show business like Bette Midler that start out in a bathhouse and end up being 'Mrs. Walt Disney,' " she said mockingly. "I just love all that drag queen-type of diva stuff when you become a success."

But Barr hasn't yet chucked her funny, old "Domestic Goddess" housewife act. She wants to take that one to the Soviet Union. "Those are some babes who would really get me over there," she said. "They all look like me."

Before that, though, Barr has a Thanksgiving booking at the London Palladium. After the national anthem uproar, she accepted a long-standing offer to appear there. "It was a pretty legendary thing outside this country," she said of the brouhaha.

Still, she now seems mostly overwhelmed by the personal pressures her celebrity has created. If she had it to do all over, she's not sure she'd choose show business again. "Wish I could have found another way to make money," she said. "But, then, I can't do anything {else}. If I didn't go into show business, though, I probably never would have met Tom. He's the greatest thing in the world, and very intelligent and strong emotionally. I'm really in love."

Had she ever imagined she'd become such a superstar? "It went way beyond my wildest dreams. I just wanted to be famous and rich and do good, creative work. Now I just want to get out of here and probably not go as far as I once wanted to writing and making movies. I can't bear this anymore," she said, sounding disheartened. "Hollywood is a God-awful place. Maybe at one time I did thrive on the adversity, but not now. It took a turn about a year ago, with the press and the invasion of my private life. I still don't know why I'm that interesting."

Jane Wollman is a New York-based writer whose new book, "Funny Women," will be published by Dembner Books/W.W. Norton & Co.