Since she first stepped on stage at the Comedy Store in the ‘70s, Sandra Bernhard has been challenging fans and critics with her outrageous humor, keen satire and rollicking stage shows. “Give the dame her due,” writes the New York Times, “It's invigorating to be in the presence of a true original.”
Bernhard, who writes and develops all of her own material, has produced numerous one-woman shows over the years, among them: Without You I’m Nothing—which was released as a feature film—Excuses for Bad Behavior, Giving ‘Til It Hurts, Hero Worship, the Love Machine, and Everything Bad and Beautiful, which ran for two months off-Broadway, before Bernhard toured with it, making numerous stops across the U.S. and in Europe. “A performer of stunning originality. Funny but foxy, super smart and slightly mad!” proclaimed WCBS. “Bernhard is a very funny woman by nature, a rocker by sheer determination and an actress you've seen in eclectic offerings,” says the Washington Post.
Bernhard's last show, “Hero Worship,” featured a five-piece band and was a post-September 11th tribute to Bernhard's commitment to irony—that it, too, has survived September 11th. The show featured a range of musical numbers (some original and some covers). It was a fearless attempt to show that life must continue and the show must go on. Other notable performances include her participation in the “Stormy Weather Benefit '98,” organized by Don Henley, which also featured Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, as well as “The Elton John Tribute for Broadway Cares.”
Bernhard’s one-woman Broadway show, “I’m Still Here … Damn It!,” was hailed by the New York Times as “an angst driven, foul-mouthed poison-laced joy ride that banks and careens frenetically through the worlds of fashion, celebrity, rock, and religion. In her own voice, unfiltered, [Bernhard] is a living, breathing bonfire.” The show, which initially ran for five months off Broadway, went on to play sold-out runs in Boston and San Francisco, and was filmed for an HBO special.
Bernhard first earned film accolades in 1983 when she appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy.” Other film work includes “Inside Monkey Zetterland,” “Track 29,” “Hudson Hawk,” “Dinner Rush,” and “Dare.” And she is about to begin filming on two new projects.
From 1991-1996, Bernhard portrayed Nancy Bartlett on “Roseanne,” and she has had guest starring or recurring roles on numerous other shows, among them; “Ally McBeal,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “The Sopranos,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The L Word,” “Will & Grace,” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” She has appeared numerous times on “Late Night with David Letterman,” and has been a guest on “The Tonight Show,” “The View,” “The Joy Behar Show,” “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and Showtime’s “The Green Room,” among others. She has appeared regularly on the Howard Stern show since the ‘80s. And was the host of “Sandra After Dark,” for HBO, and “Reel Wild Cinema.”
In addition to her original songs, Bernhard performs covers from Led Zeppelin to Laura Nyro; Burt Bachrach to Britney Spears. “One moment, her voice is lulling you into a wistful sigh; the next, she's knocking you back several rows with it,” proclaimed the SF Weekly. Her albums include: “I’m Your Woman,” and most recently she collaborated on the world music album “Whatever it Takes,” featuring African musicians such as Papa Wemba and TK. She has also sung with or opened for various musical acts, including: The Pretenders, Cyndi Lauper, and the Scissor Sisters. She participated in the “Stormy Weather Benefit '98,” organized by Don Henley, which also featured Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell and “The Elton John Tribute for Broadway Cares.” Bernhard has also lent her talents to benefits for organizations including: The Ali Forney Center for LGBT Homeless Youth, and Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS.
Bernhard has written three books: Confessions of a Pretty Lady (Harper&Row, 1988), Love, Love and Love (HarperCollins, 1994), and May I Kiss You on the Lips, Miss Sandra? (William Morrow, 1998). And she is currently at work on her fourth collection. Her work has also been published in numerous magazines, including, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, Rolling Stone, Interview, and Spy.