An actress, author, a fabulous singer and a straight up comedy legend, there isn’t a person in this world who doesn’t know the name…Sandra Bernhard.
First gaining fast attention in the late 1970s with her stand-up comedy routines, Ms. Bernhard would truly skyrocket to fame thanks to her iconic portrayal as kidnapper Masha in Martin Scorcese’s, The King of Comedy. The critically acclaimed role would not only begin to cement Bernhard’s place in Hollywood comedy history, but it would lead her to the recurring role of Nancy on Roseanne (sigh..), for which Bernhard would go on to play the first openly gay character on network television.
A true LGBTQ icon in her own right, Sandra hasn’t stopped in her crusade to ensure that we are all treated equally, but most importantly that we respect our damn selves along the way. And just in time for Philly Pride Week, Ms, Bernhard will be taking to the TLA stage tomorrow night for a fun stop on her Sandemonium tour, which has been garnering some truly fabulous reviews thanks to the always on point–and certainly on time–comedy stylings of this truly legendary comedy diva.
But before she lets loose for Philly(get those tickets right here), Ms. Bernhard stopped by Philly Mixtape for a delectable spot of Pride tea where she broke mugs about, well, it all because you show she is, kids and we love it.
Take a sip alongside the incredible Sandra Bernhard below.
Kicking off our little spill, how are you these days? Everything’s great! Very, very busy. Very productive. Lot of good things happening and sort of working around the times we’re living in……which can tend to be a little bit–ya know–draining and exhausting politically. I’m always trying to lift up the work I do with good entertainment. [I’ve been doing] a lot on my radio show, Sandyland on Sirius XM on radio Andy(Andy Cohen’s network) interviewing people and having really smart conversations. [That’s] also been a great platform for me to talk about whatever’s going on in my life day-to-day. It’s been a really good incubator to come up with new material for my live shows. So, it’s all happening! And of course, I’m very excited to come back to Philadelphia, I haven’t been back in a while. It’s a great classic American city!
You’ve also been getting back to acting quite a bit as well. Break some mugs for everyone about your latest venture….I’m [in] Ryan Murphy’s new show Pose. It’s more of a dramatic role, I’m playing a nurse in the AIDS ward in the ’80s, which is the time frame [the show] takes place in. I’m really excited about this. It’s a time I can really relate to. I lost a lot of friends back during the AIDS crisis. It’s supposed to be a recurring role, so hopefully I’ll be back!
Taking a serious sip for a moment, there’s so much sensitivity these days when it comes ro crossing lines with politics and comedy. How do you personally find the ways to balance it all out? I think there’s a happy medium in a way to balance it all out, which is what I’ve been able to do. It helps you stay fresh and imaginative so you’re not just falling back on the same thing you always fall back on. It kind of forces you to go into new areas of your imagination. It’s a good thing because you have to keep recreating your work as the years go by.
It’s true what they say…reinvention is the key to life. Absolutely. It keeps it interesting.
So, here we are, right in the kick off of Pride month! What words of wisdom would you say to all of those fabulous kids out there who are just finding their true selves and are ready to celebrate? I think the most important thing is to stay educated and go to college and experience everything that anybody would experience and not limit and define yourself to your sexuality. I think that’s what’s kept my life interesting is that I stayed open and got to spend time and meet people from all different walks of life and cultures. I think that when everything’s defined by your religion, gender or sexual preference, you sometimes cut off a lot of experiences that can really enrich you and help [you] become a more complete person. That’s always my best advice is to just keep things very open and throw yourself into a lot of conversations and different ways of seeing the world.
Moving on to your fabulous stage show. How would you personally best describe it? My work is always very personal so [the show] is like taking a little road trip with Sandy through my day-to-day life! Some things are sort of fictionalized and I just kind of bounce all over the place. It’s kind of hard to describe because my shows are never like one idea. It’s very stream of consciousness–I go from one kind of thought and woven insights [mixed in with] music and songs that are very eclectic. It’s fast paced and at times its introspective. You get to know me and see the world through my lens.
So, let’s talk music. Who’s rockin’ your world these days? A lot of the stuff that I’m listening to was recommended to me by my daughter who’s a sophomore in college. I don’t really listen to albums anymore because the way of listening to music is so different–I just pick up a song here and there–Childish Gambino, Fleet Foxes. I certainly try to stay on top of it! There’s a thousand new performers and so many great songs out there.
I guess it certainly helps having a teenage daughter around! It is good because otherwise I end up listening to a lot of stuff I’ve been listening to for years. It’s kinda cool because she likes a lot of that stuff too, so we go back-and-forth. It’s a nice bonding experience.
One last sip…what does the word “pride” mean to you? It’s having your own identity and being clear who you are as an individual. I think it’s always great to have the support of the crowd behind you and be part of a group. But I also think that you also have to break away and walk through life and navigate your way around wherever you are. Be able to stand on your own.