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Finding the real Sandra Bernhard


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Sandra Bernhard
  • Sandra Bernhard

I have my Sandra Bernhard game on. A list of zany (but professional) questions in my hand and a pair of black high-heeled boots on my feet, I'm ready to square off with the stand-up diva who "loves to court controversy."

Then I answer the phone.

The New York Times may describe one of her former Broadway hit shows as "an angst-driven, foul-mouthed, poison-laced joy ride," but the 52-year-old entertainer, at least today, is anything but.

Calling from her current home in New York City, the woman on the other end of the line talks about moving west from the Midwest with her family when she was 10. She worries about "how quickly things have degenerated in culture," and how people today are not challenging and original enough.

She shares her "total faith" that her 9-year-old daughter is going to be an amazing person. ("Already is.")

She loves the show Friday Night Lights because it's about a small town and America's emotional life.

And if she has a guilty pleasure, she says it would be "watching football itself."

Football is Lady B's guilty pleasure? What happened to the kick-ass, make-no-apologies attitude?

This Bernhard is solid. Serious. And concerned about women.

"I think it's really important for women to, number one, be comfortable in their own skin," she says. "In order to do that, you also have to be willing to take care of yourself on a number of different levels. Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually."

She warns that it's easy to fall into the victimization of being a woman and expecting somebody to come along and pick up the pieces.

"I just think it's really important to be buttoned up about your emotions to a certain extent, and to take care of yourself," Bernhard says. "And I'm not saying not to express yourself I just see a lot of women who are kind of all over the place, and I think we've had enough evolution as a culture to take responsibility for our lives."

So how does she feel about the woman everyone's talking about, Hillary Clinton? Does Bernhard think we're ready for a female president?

"I don't think this country's ready for anything," she says. "I don't think this country's ready in general for somebody who's intelligent and thoughtful. But I think they better get ready."

That's the toughest thing she says. I should've just pulled on a wool sweater and my Danskos.

I'm still not exactly sure what her one-woman show at CC will entail. A little comedy? Some singing or storytelling? Whatever it turns out to be, it's likely at some point you'll catch a similar glimpse that I did. A bit of her warmth. Her softer, thoughtful side.

And if not, hey, there's always football.

Cornerstone Presentation in the Arts 2008: An Evening with Sandra Bernhard
CC's Armstrong Theater,
14 E. Cache la Poudre St.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.
Tickets: Free, but required and available at CC's Worner Center Information Desk, 902 N. Cascade Ave. For more, visit or, or call 389-6607.


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