Whatever happened, Casares and Madonna remain estranged from Bernhard. Finally, she arrives at this: “I’ve always had a theory that you meet people to meet other people. It’s very obvious.”Before falling out with Sandra, Madonna and the out comic performed together and were rumored to be lovers themselves. We were pulling everybody’s chains, creating a media frenzy.
We were friends.”)Perhaps the most famous Sapphic performance she gave was the threeway MTV Movie Awards kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. (The model one said Madonna treated her like “a sex slave.
Sandra Bernhard has never been one to mince words, which, over the course of her more than three-decade career, has proven to be both a blessing and a burden.
Early on Bernhard was perhaps inaccurately classified as a comedian—and, to be fair, she is an extraordinarily gifted one, whose emergence as a brash, uninhibited female force on the comedy circuit of the late-'70s was like a great waft of oxygen in an increasingly claustrophobic and male-dominated field.
Bernhard's work, though, isn't purely comedic, and, in fact, isn't all necessarily designed to be funny.
In one sense, whatever success Bernhard has achieved is largely the result of her willingness to take on lofty targets and make bold creative moves—not to mention her prodigious talent. I love putting myself in situations that are uncomfortable and that I have to get out of. I think so much of what informs us as performers is what we had to endure as kids growing up, you know? I don't think she would have ever gotten married had it been a different time. I don't think she really ever looked too closely at it. I try not to get into that kind of feeling, like I've been screwed and ignored and overlooked, because maybe the right thing just hasn't come along, but it's just around the corner. BERNHARD: You know, I'll tell you, I was really going through a transition in my life. So my trainer at the time, my friend Luis, who is from Brazil—he wasn't even Jewish, but he had been studying with Ruthie and Moshe [Rosenberg], and he was the one who took me to the Kabbalah center on my 40th birthday. BERNHARD: It has definitely helped me stop myself before I freak out, and if there was nothing else that I needed to get from it, that was the lesson. It's not that my career isn't where I want it to be or that I get bored and restless, but I always have that kind of underneath feeling of peace of mind that I got from just the basic tenants of spirituality.Even Bernhard's flirtations with the mainstream have been surrounded by a kind of insurgent energy.Her portrayal of an unhinged stalker-groupie in Martin Scorsese's (1983), in which she starred with Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, won her a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. BERNHARD: Yes, I was one of the first to get into Kabbalah.But in another, her seemingly inborn compulsions to stand up for what she believes in, call out hypocrisy at every turn, and push the boundaries of whatever medium she is working in, regardless of the consequences—all tremendous assets to both an artist and a comedian—have relegated her to being the consummate outsider. Now 56, and the joint mother of a 13-year-old daughter, Cicely, with her longtime partner, Bernhard is as creatively active as she has ever been. I mean, it was World War II, and my grandmother from the old country kind of orchestrated her marrying my father. She really wanted to go to South America and hook up with this woman, an artist friend of hers. BARR: How old were you when you knew you were different from everyone else? Then we went to see at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit with Carol Channing, and I was just totally overwhelmed. I was like, "Oh, this is so cool." I was just ready for it. I used to just go on these, like, totally self-indulgent tears, like screaming and yowling "My life is horrible! BARR: Looking back on your whole career, how would you put it all into perspective?Last summer she kicked off her latest one-woman show, ? They were totally mismatched; ridiculous when you saw them together. BERNHARD: I knew I wanted to be a performer and do comedy at 5 years old. I was 8 years old and this was the biggest thing that had happened to me. If you were to write your own epitaph, what would you say about your whole run?