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Sandra Bernhard: Still Outrageous After All These Years   Print

by Paulanne  Simmons
Times Square Chronicles
March 12, 2013

Sandra Bernhard, not exactly a shrinking violet (after all, her credits include The Richard Pryor Show and Roseanne), delivered her well-known brand of in-your-face comedy in her one-woman show, "I Love Me, Don't You?" at Baruch Performing Arts Center's performance series, "Solo in the City: Jewish Women, Jewish Stars," on March 8.

Bernhard blended music and monologue (Mitch Kaplan on the piano), with only a smallish nod to her Jewish roots, mostly demonstrated by her ability to pronounce Baruch with a perfect throat clearing on the final "ch."

Much of the show was about Bernhard's life as a lesbian (nothing kills a relationship quicker than 'partner') and a tribute to the cutting edge showmanship of Robin Byrd, who happened to be in the audience (fully clothed). But even more focused on Bernhard's jaundiced view of all the celebrities she's met during her life.

It seems Jane Fonda's 75 birthday bash was a real source of inspiration for Bernhard's satirical stabs. At the party, she encountered (among others) Sally Fields (who apparently had to audition for her role in Lincoln), Joni Mitchell (who wants to rewrite all of her songs except two; Bernhard couldn't remember which ones), Warren Beatty (whom Bernhard once made out with but never slept with, something which is apparently an achievement).

Bernhard had a script which she referred to throughout the monologue. But she frequently wandered from it, talking about whatever came to mind. This gave her show a very welcome spontaneity, somewhat unusual in the world of standup.

Watching Bernhard perform is a little like having lunch with a very catty, very funny friend. Some of her humor is a little hard to swallow. But if it's to your taste, it's quite delicious.

 

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