Comedian Sandra Bernhard contemplates her first show in SC

acoyne@thestate.comSeptember 5, 2013 

Sundance Portraits - Sandra Bernhard

Actress Sandra Bernhard


  • If you go Sandra Bernhard

    WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

    WHERE: Koger Center

    TICKETS: $21-$41

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Sandra Bernhard doesn’t think she’s ever been to South Carolina.

After more than 30 years criss-crossing the country as an actress and comedian, it’s hard for Bernhard to remember everywhere she’s been, but she’s pretty sure Saturday night’s South Carolina Pride-sponsored performance will be her first in the palmetto state.

“It should be fun,” Bernhard said. “I’m sure I’ll come down and check out the town. It’s fun when you’re traveling to go out, get some dinner and get the vibe. Every city has its own interesting take on life.”

In her decades-long career, Bernhard has broken boundaries and seen horizons broaden for women and LGBT people in the media. Bernhard, herself bisexual, played one of the first openly lesbian characters on American television in her six-year stint on “Roseanne.”

“A whole landscape has open up for women being funny,” Bernhard said, citing the success of comedic actresses Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler. “It’s a whole new generation, from Roseanne (Barr) to Joan Rivers on down.”

Bernhard, while a veteran comedian, is part of that landscape. As her life has changed, so have parts of her comedy routine, though her traditionally edgy, provocative style is still there.

“My shows are always evolving,” Bernhard said. “Over the years, as things change in my personal life, so does my work. Now, I have a 15-year-old daughter, I’m in a long-term relationship, and that affects my point of view. Of course I’m still politically on edge, and hopefully on point of what I discuss.”

Though known for pushing boundaries in her sets, Bernhard said she always aims to maintain a “level of sophistication” when discussing the issues of the moment.

“I try to keep it interesting and fresh, and that always has a certain amount of a challenge,” Bernhard said.

Recently, Bernhard has been on a return of sorts to the screen. She’s filmed a few guest starring roles on various TV shows, including ABC’s “The Neighbors,” and will begin filming a movie in New York this spring. She’s also writing for multiple TV projects. But that won’t keep her off stage. Her show, which blends comedy and music, will go across the South and make a detour to Massachusetts before the end of fall.

“It’s a great blend of storytelling and music and humor,” Bernhard said. “I get down with my very talented piano player, and it’s really a night of entertainment. I’m definitely a performer who’s been at it for a long time, so if you haven’t seen me before, this is a great opportunity.”

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