Spotlight Interview with the Bold and Beautiful Sandra Bernhard on her New Live Show ~Feel The Bernhard


Saturday April 30th the Bold and Beautiful Sandra Bernhard will perform her new live cabaret show Feel The Bernhard at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio. Sandra took a moment to speak with us recently about her current show, among other things.



Feel the Bernhard, (a nod from Sandra to Bernie Sanders) evolved out of a routine year-end gig at Joe’s Pub in New York, where Bernhard performs annually between Christmas and New Year’s. The show is conveyed through a mixture of songs, stories, and stand-up as only Sassy Sandra can project. 

(Audio Transcription by: Iona Vega.)

Michele:  With the Caberet show you’re going to be bringing… can you tell us a little bit about what to expect?

Sandra:  Yeah, it’s just a really great night of entertainment. It’s topical, it’s musical, it’s personal, and it’s global. It sort of takes you from one end of the spectrum of my life to the next. It’s incredibly improvisational and spontaneous.At the same time there are set pieces that have been crafted that I have written and interjected music throughout. I will be working with three local musicians that comprise my band I call the ‘Flawless Zircons’. The music is great, it’s rocking and intimate. I hate to kind of toot my own horn, but I think I’m one of the really great live performers who are still out there doing it.

Michele: I had the opportunity to see you when you opened up for Cyndi Lauper, so I can attest to that.

Sandra: Oh good…Yay! 

Bernhard performs rock, pop, jazz, and blues tunes. She is known to perform ballads along with original songs that she has co-written. She has released several successful albums over the course of her career which are combinations of both music and comedy.

Michele: Now, about the ‘Flawless Zircons’… your band, what got you involved in music? Because I know that has always been such an integral part of your life…

Sandra:  Well music was my first love. I really had every intention, when I moved to L.A. when I was very young, to pursue music. Yet, I always had sort of a wicked sense of humor. I sort of always had a kind of scathing funny take on things. People were saying “You should jump into the world of comedy because it’s so accessible.”  I said,” okay!”. “You would be able to sing too” , they said. Which was true. I immediately formed my sort of post-modern musical performance extravaganzas. So it all worked …but music has always been, forever… sort of my first love.

© Margo Hagopian/Sirius XM Radio

© Margo Hagopian/Sirius XM Radio

Recently, Sandra also launched her own hugely popular daily show Sandyland on SiriusXM Radio’s new Radio Andy (channel 102 headed up by Andy Cohen). Her strong opinions and unique perspective, along with her provocative, spontaneous conversations with a wide spectrum of guests from the entertainment and fashion world, are what make Sandyland so successful.

Michele: Your new radio show…Sandyland on SiriusXM, can you tell us a little bit about that? Because that has got to be pretty exciting!

Sandra:  It is! It’s been fantastic. It’s a daily show where I curate music/songs that I love. I do a totally spontaneous opening rant about whatever is going on… it’s super fun and personal… and I’m connecting with the audience wherever they are in the Northern Hemisphere.  I do some set pieces every week, The United States with Sandy or Small Town News.  I segue into interviews with — I can give you a few ideas of who I’ve had on recently — I have had on Anderson Cooper, Bethann Hardison, who is a wonderful fashion person here in New York, Vanessa Williams, Rumer Willis, Andrew McCarthy. Bette Midler, who’s going to be on tomorrow, Isaac Misrahi, Matthew Modine, Ruth Reichl, Susan Sarandon, Tituss Burgess, Marilu Henner, and Rachel Maddow. Those are some of the few names that are just coming up in the next two weeks.

Michele:  Just to name a few, right!?

Sandra: Yeah!  That’s to give you an idea of how impressive the lineup is.

Sandra Bernhard, a former Midwestern girl, was born in Flint, Michigan. She was raised by her parents in a conservative Jewish family. Bernhart stated in her show Without You I’m Nothing: “My father was a proctologist, and my mother an abstract artist, so that is how I view the world”. In the documantary Girls Who Do: Comedy, Sandra discusses being a funny teenager. The family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. After graduating high school, Sandra went on to live and volunteer on a kibbutz in Isreal. She moved to Los Angeles at the tender age of 19, and paid the bills by working as a nail technician in a high-end salon.

Michele: Now switching gears a little bit, I know you are originally from Flint Michigan.  What are your feelings about the water contamination issues and everything going on there?

Sandra:  My feelings are incredibly passionate and outraged.  I’ve sort of been trying to stay on it from the minute it got exposed.  Through Rachel Maddow, I’ve been able to reach out to some interesting people…The Mayor of Flint, and Pediatrician Dr. Ataya who sort of exposed the whole drama. I’m still tweeting them.  I talk about it on my radio show.  I’m absolutely passionate that the state government needs to step up, along with the Governor who totally had no interest in the people of Flint, and exploited them by switching up the water system.They have to do right: They have to go in and replace the infrastructure. And until they do that, it’s not a finished topic… and it’s outrageous! The levels of lead are still incredibly high and nobody’s doing anything about it.  It’s just, completely outrageous!  I wish there was more I could do, there just isn’t enough.

Bernhart has always been known for her outspoken personality. She is an activist who is openly bisexual and a strong supporter of gay rights. In 1998 Sandra gave birth to her daughter Cicely Yasin Bernhard, whom she raised with her longtime partner Sara Switzer, a writer and producer for The Sandra Bernhard Experience. 

Michele: On a lighter topic, you are part of the new Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer ad campaign. I know it celebrates the spirit and body of equality, which you’ve always been very vocal about.  How much fun was it to work with him?


© David Sims/ Marc Jabobs 2016

© David Sims/ Marc Jabobs 2016

Sandra:  Well I love Marc.  I’ve known him for years and he’s always been on the cutting edge, and so interesting… and really supporting all kinds of interesting people and making them his muses.  So I was incredibly flattered that I’m part of that campaign, which is so eclectic and wonderful. It was so much fun doing.

Michele:  …And the photographs are beautiful!

Sandra: The photos of David Sims, the photographer, are amazing. I’ve always loved his work.So to get to work with him was just fantastic.

Bernhard first gained attention in the late 1970’s with her stand up comedy in which she regularly and often ruthlessly critiques celebrity culture and political figures. She became a staple at The Comedy Store as a comedian, and was cast as a supporting player on The Richard Pryor Show.

Her big break came in 1982 when Martin Scorsese cast her in the film King of Comedy, alongside Robert Dinero, for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is no stranger to the silver screen. She has appeared in mainstream films such as Hudson Hawk with Bruce Willis, Dallas Doll with Rose Byrne, and Track 29 opposite Gary Oldman. Sandra played a role in the fugitive parody Wrongfully Accused with Leslie Nielsen, as well as with Ben Stiller in the supermodel spoof Zoolander

In 1985 she launched her first one-woman show  I’m Your Woman and an album version was soon released. While crafting her stand-up routine, Bernhard appeared in a slew of film and television roles throughout the 1980’s. Her Off-Broadway show Without You I’m Nothing, with You I’m Not Much Better premiered in 1988, and was turned into a film and a double album in 1990. Sandra was a recurring  guest on David Letterman, once turning up with her then-good friend Madonna. It was there that the pair alluded to a romantic relationship and staged a sexy confrontation. They would continue to be good friends for several years, with Bernhard making an appearance in Madonna’s movie Truth or Dare.

Most of us couch potatoes remember Bernhard best playing the role of Nancy Bartlett on the hit sitcom Roseanne. She appeared in 33 episodes between 1991 and 1997. She was one of the first actresses to portray an openly lesbian character on American television. The beauty of this role was that even though it was a landmark event for network television, it was something that just sort of happened naturally. The role is one of her best known, and something she has bemoaned in her stand-up as being both a blessing and a curse.

In September 1992, Bernhard did a nude pictorial for Playboy. She hosted the USA Network’s Reel Wild Cinema for two seasons beginning in 1995. Bernhard continued acting in mostly independent films and TV guest roles. In 1991 she released her first studio album Excuses For Bad Behavior (Part One).

Michele:  You are on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time which is absolutely incredible.  After four decades of (God you’ve done it all)…Being in showbiz, an actress, singer, author, comedian… Is stand up still your favorite thing to do?

Sandra:  Well there is nothing better in the world than being able to perform. So yes, it’s something I will do throughout my career and my life. It’s very fulfilling. It is great to come to cities you have been coming to throughout your career and see the evolution and changes.  Yeah, when you have that gift, you never want to turn your back on it.

In 1995, she briefly appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 1996, she guest-starred in an episode of Highlander: The Series. She has also appeared (as herself) on Will and Grace.

Bernhard returned to Broadway in 1998 with the show I’m Still Here… Damn It!, which was also recorded as live comedy. For the next several years, while raising her daughter, she self-recorded all of her live acts and released CD-R versions which were sold in the lobby of her shows. She continued touring and making smaller films and TV guest appearances.

She returned to New York in 2006 with the Off-Broadway show Everything Bad & Beautiful. The CD Everything Bad & Beautiful was critically lauded as one of her best. 2007 brought the creation of Bernhard’s show Plan B from Outer Space, as well as the compilation, Breaking For the Holidays, where Bernhard co-penned Miracle of Lights with Mitchell Kaplan. She toured “Plan B” through 2008, and performed Miracle of Lights on several morning shows in New York. Bernhard was a guest singer with children’s artist Dan Zanes on the Family Dance album’s “Thrift Shop”.

In an interview with Howard Stern, the comedian revealed that she was originally offered the role of Miranda Hobbes of theTV show Sex and the City, but opted out. In January 2014 Sandra joined the cast of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, along with Glee’s Max Adler. She has also appeared in the network television shows Ally McBeal, The Queer Edge, and 2 Broke Girls.

This brings us to present-day, where Sandra brings Feel The Bernhard to venues across the globe. It promises to be her best performance yet!

Michele:  Well, we are so happy that you’re stopping here in Cleveland, and we are really looking forward to the show! I appreciate your calling in and taking a few moments to talk with me.

Sandra:  You’re so kind! It was a great interview. I really enjoyed talking to you and I can’t wait to get there!

Michele:  Well thank you so much. I’m a big fan, so, it’s a really huge honor for me to get to talk to you.

Sandra:  Thank you so much. I really appreciate that!

Michele:  Please continue what you do, because your voice is so strong and so important.

Sandra: Thank you. I will, and I will see you soon!

We look forward to seeing Sandra soon, and you should too! Catch Feel The Bernhard, a musical and comedy caberet performance Saturday April 30th at 8 p.m. The perfomance  will present an overview of her four decades in show business as her hilarious one-woman act explores her unique brew of satiric pleasantry, political insight, selfdom disilusions, and persistant womanisms. This will be Sandra’s first performance in Cleveland in nearly a decade and should not be missed! 



Sandra Bernhard~Feel The Bernhard

Trinity Cathedral Cleveland, Ohio 44113 

8pm Saturday April 30, 2016

Get Your Tickets Here

Twitter: @SandraBernhard

Sandra Bernhard and The Flaming Zircons

Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio .Tickets are: $47.50 / $65.00 /or $125.00 for a  VIP meet-and-greet. There is no opening act. Doors open at 7:00pm and show begins at 8:00pm.


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Michele Loparo About Michele Loparo

Michele Loparo is a Cleveland native raised with the classical influences of her father and the 70’s music of her mother. At 10 years old she found ACDC’s “Back in Black” vinyl in her Easter basket and her life long love affair with Rock N’ Roll began. “My first born son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 4. He did not respond well to verbal commands, so one day I just sang them to him and BAM! Immediate results. I’ve always known that music was powerful… But in our family it was life changing. When my words failed, Music spoke.” Her son Tristan (the oldest of three boys) is a musician and plays in the local band Destination (Original Raw Music). He studies Recording Arts and is going on to achieve a degree in Music Therapy to help others. “I know for certain that music… in it’s raw form, changed my sons life. Music is not what he does, but who he is.” Michele enjoys attending local venues and experiencing the many talents of North East Ohio’s local musicians as well as taking in as many concerts as possible. “I look forward to working with the Rust Belt Chronicle’s team and sharing the love of all things music with our RBC readers!”


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