Actress, comedian, singer and LGBT hero Sandra Bernhard shows us some love upon her return to Atlanta.
By Gregg Shapiro
Over the years, Sandra Bernhard has found a way to make us laugh and think, often at the same time. She began as a stand-up comedian and moved on to performing acclaimed one-woman shows that cemented her popularity with gay audiences.
She’s proven her mettle as an actress in movies and on TV, and she’s even established herself as a singer with a few albums to her credit. Known for her outspoken opinions, she’s an author, too, having penned three books, as well as the host of her own radio show, Sandyland.
Now Bernhard embarks on a series of concert dates for her latest live show, Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast, which hits Atlanta’s City Winery on March 10. She chats about what to expect during the performance, her influences, and her insight on all manner of current affairs.
What can we expect from Sandra Monica Blvd.: Coast to Coast?
It covers a lot of territory. Funny encounters with people on the subway. A little bit of looking back at my own personal history. It’s all interwoven with great music and pieces that weave throughout the music. It’s a wild ride on Sandra Monica Boulevard [laughs].
What’s your process creating a show like Sandra Monica?
I do Joe’s Pub here in New York during the holidays, so throughout the year, while I’m doing an existing show, I’m putting together new material for Joe’s Pub. It’s an ongoing process (that directly feeds into the current live show).
I’m also doing my daily show Sandyland on Radio Andy and Sirius XM, that’s also an incubator for me when putting together a show and new material. It keeps me on my toes.
Are you finding material in the current political situation?
No, I’m not. I find little to no humor in it. If anything, it’s verbatim. It’s diatribes, and I don’t like to do that in my shows. … The most important thing for what I’m doing is to lift up people, to bring smart, sophisticated material to my audience. To keep the conversation elevated.
You were at the Women’s March on Washington, and there’s an LGBT march scheduled for June. Is that something in which you would participate as well?
I’ll be participating in whatever marches go on from here on out! Absolutely! Whether it’s LGBT rights or the environment or women’s rights or health care, it affects the people we care about. We’re one people in this country. Everybody deserves the best of all of it.
You performed at Gay Days in Orlando a week before the Pulse Nightclub attack. What are your reactions?
It was such a great vibe down there. I performed at Parliament House. It has a poolside stage and it was so fun. It was a sultry, fun Florida night. Everybody was in great spirits. (The shooting) was such a total shock on so many levels. …
I can’t say that it was influenced by international incidents. This guy was conflicted about his own sexuality and had been there (to Pulse) before. That doesn’t make it any better or worse. I’m just saying you have to be clear about how you couch things.
My point is that now, more than ever, people are able to disconnect emotionally and do terrible things that I don’t think we ever imagined possible. Horrible. Let’s hope these things are dwindling, but who knows? With what’s going on in the White House, all bets are off.