Q&A: Sandra Bernhard

By Columbus Alive
From the December 15, 2011 edition

Your performances have a lot of different elements. What can we expect?

It’s an abbreviated version of my one-woman theatrical shows. I‘ll probably do three or four songs and various material. Some of it’s prepared, some of it’s spontaneous, ranging from political to personal, to pop culture with commentary and a short-story kind of vibe.

Beside comedy and acting, you also have an extensive background in music.

When I started performing in my teens it was a toss-up between becoming a singer and doing comedy. I just ended up doing a hybrid. I had a lot to say and I was funny and I was musical because I love to sing; it was fun to do my own version of a musical comedy.

Talk about your role on “Roseanne” as Nancy, who was the first openly gay character on network television.

Well, she started off being married to Tom Arnold so she was really a bisexual character. But she had a very bad experience with Tom, as most people have had, and it turned her gay. [laughs] That was the humorous approach to it.

The thing that I loved about Nancy was that she really wasn’t stereotypical and certainly not cliche in any way, as nobody on that show really was. It really gave people the opportunity to see somebody be kind of crazy and you know, ambi-sexual really.

How was your recent appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” after an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?”

It was really fun … I’m actually supposed to start doing it on a semi-regular basis, probably once a week.

Do you have a favorite season of “Housewives?”

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is fun. It really should be called “The Real Housewives of Westlake Village” because they all live in the Valley. It captures the superficiality of Los Angeles.

What else do you have coming up?

I just shot an episode of a new show called “GCB” with Kristin Chenoweth. The gentlemen who wrote “Steel Magnolias” and “The First Wives Club” created it. The writing is top-flight and the girls on it are so funny. I’m also writing a TV series for myself and another performer.