When she first appeared on the scene, Sandra Bernhard was an impetuous flirt whose svelte figure and pronounced expressions brazenly attracted the glitterati, for better or for worse. But despite detours and sensationalism, she’s not only managed to grow as a human being and performer, she’s still able to make a 20-year-old show reverberate with timeliness. That’s right, the longtime Kabbalah-loving comedienne is back on the comedy circuit, celebrating the 20th anniversary of her original off-Broadway debut, Without You, I’m Nothing. And, even at 53, Bernhard still knows how to shock and be raw.
Heeb sat down with Bernhard to do an exclusive interview for our Music Issue and, fortunately for you, we had more choice Bernhard quotes than we could fit into the magazine. Here’s her thoughts…
…on being Jewish
I don’t think my work reflects being a Jewish comic… I do make references to [being Jewish], but I think I’m transcendental to it all. But, of course, I’m proud of it all and embody the best of the Jewish spirit. I don’t agree with Jews and Evangelicals who get in bed together to bomb Iran. World War III is antithetical to the absolute basis of being a Jew and a Jewish soul.
…on Jewish men
I joked in my act about my daughter not bringing a boy home with an uncircumcised penis. The circumcised penis is wonderfully aesthetic to revel in. If I’m involved with it (which I wouldn’t [be] these days since I’m happily taken), I want a clean, circumcised penis that’s fresh and clean with none of that gross skin to pull back.
…on being gay in Hollywood
Closeted female celebrities don’t want to define themselves because of the roles they want to get. If you want to play a straight role, you don’t want to have people think you’re gay and then not cast you. It goes two ways—if you’re comfortable with it, it’s fine, but wearing two different hats is hard. You don’t have to be â€˜out there’ with your sexuality. If it interferes with your mental health, no one would take you seriously—like Whitney Houston, who had to give in to industry standards and it destroyed her. There are lots of double standards and mental health issues within your own skin. You need to be able to lay down the law with the studios.
In the gay male world, if you’re not that into someone and it’s not a serious relationship, that’s when men sleep around. Men just behave differently. Maybe it’s the makeup of men in general—straight men included. The penis is external, so they see it and it takes up a big chunk of time. Especially gay men who feel less responsibility feel like, â€˜Why not just go for it?’ But if you’re in the right setting, why bother? You don’t feel like spinning wheels; it takes too much energy, it’s gross and nasty. I was never a big partier; it’s part of my act or might have been part of my act. But even when I was freewheeling, I kept my dignity.
My hope for America is that, no matter their views of race or sexuality or finances, that people be compassionate and understanding enough to know we have to do our part. You can’t just stand back and criticize either from the right or left. The country has to be secure with a happy medium of where we’re all happy and productive in our everyday lives. Instead of standing outside an abortion clinic, be a mentor to one of those kids who’ve been brought into the world. Don’t abandon the kid; follow through.
^^ circumcised penis thatâ€™s fresh and clean with none of that gross skin to pull back. ^^
Hey Sandra, foreskin is every bit as vital to a male’s full sexual experience as your clitoral hood is to yours. What a disgusting thing to say, promoting muti
wait, whitney is gay?
I remember when I saw Sandy’s show once around 1999, and she was riffing on the circumcized/uncircumcized penis topic. She goes, “There’s something about an uncircimcized penis….it just has NO PERSONALITY, you know?” I roared. Couldn’t agree more. M
A few more questions for Sandra Bernhard, and ideas for possible comedy routines since she joked in her act and publicly expressed her personal preference for circumcision, in others.
What about mohel’s that perform a bris with “metzitzah b peh”? You kn
Chopping up other people’s bodies without their informed adult consent is human vivisection, the human rights violation and crime against humanity that licensed German doctors were convicted shortly after World War II of committing against Jews, Gypsies,
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Hey Sandra, if men who like foreskin are anti-Semitic, would you say too women who like intact females are anti-Muslim?
You really do not have respect for men on the whole of it!
Talk about some screwed up personality hers.How can she see anything straight or gay,coming from such a victim status culture where their born innocence was taken as rape
“I joked in my act about my daughter not bringing a boy home with an uncircumcised penis. The circumcised penis is wonderfully aesthetic to revel in. If I’m involved with it (which I wouldn’t [be] these days since I’m happily taken), I want a clean, circumcised penis that’s fresh and clean with none of that gross skin to pull back.”
What an idiot.
Never liked her, now I like her less – if that’s possible.
She needs to be gagged. Calling a body part ugly? How ignorant.
Hey Sandra, denying a Jewish boy his right to his fabulous foreskin is anti-Semitic. You know very little about the history of your people, and you are a sexist hypocrite.
The foreskin has about 20,000 erogenous nerve endings in it. It’s too bad that you think that such a valuable part of the penis is gross.
Sandra is gross-always has been-always will be. Her only success has been sinking to the same low class shock methods as her colleagues making Americans look bad ie: joan rivers, Sarah silverman, Howard stern, Jerry springer..need I go on? Pathetic.
Sandra, why don’t you go and amputate your eyelids so I don’t have to see that disgusting skin in front of your irises? Cuz that’s fairly equivalent to your thoughts on mutilating penises, next to sewing your vagina shut.