Photo credit: Maro Hagopian, SiriusXM Radio
Sandra Bernhard is nothing if not outspoken—if not outrageous--especially during her hugely entertaining end-of-the-year shows at Joe's Pub.
But don't expect last month's election to dominate this year's run, which as usual begins Dec. 26 and runs through New Year's Eve. Then again, it will hardly be overlooked.
"I'll talk about it, but later in the show," says Bernhard, just back from Los Angeles, where she premiered her new Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast show. "I don't want to be that didactic at the beginning of the show, when people are totally relaxed. I don't want to make them nervous!"
In Los Angeles—where she did three "very successful" nights--she saved "the commentary" for the end.
"I just want to entertain people, and there are so many great things to talk about otherwise--and songs and stories," Bernhard continues, "and now, more than ever, people need to be reminded to stay smart and sophisticated and not get caught up in the tragic and downward spiral--and that's my job and position."
As for the songs, "you know me," she says: "I don't want to give them away. Everything happens so quickly that by the next day people know them, anyway, and it takes away the element of surprise."
Likewise, she's reluctant to reveal any of her talking points, other than to say that as usual, they'll cover "all kinds of topics, from one extreme to the next! It's always less cohesive—and still great—on the first night, but as the run continues it gets tighter and tighter, and New Year's Eve is its own sort of animal, when it all sort of comes together."
Meanwhile, Berhnard is ending a "fantastic year—with the exception of the election," she says.
"But I'm thinking maybe in a way it had to happen--to shake the complacency and cobwebs off people. I'm hoping America wakes up, but I don't know if that's ever going to happen again: You can poison the wells, and I guess you can make a horse drink poisoned water!"
The water analogy is particularly apt in that Bernhard, a native of Flint, Michigan, has been extremely vocal about the horrendous water crisis there. But she was also active this year in the Spring/Summer 2016 Marc Jacobs ad campaign along with the likes of Bette Midler.
Entering 2017, Bernhard is heading into her second year hosting her popular daily show Sandyland on SiriusXM Radio's Radio Andy [Cohen] channel.
"Doing the show is really fun, and it's broadened my audience," she says. "People call in who I never imagined would listen to me or contact me, and say, 'I love you and am entertained by you, even though I don't always agree with you politically'—and that says something."
She's also writing new material for more touring next year, as well as scripted TV programming, having most recently appeared on the Hulu comedy series Difficult People, the CBS TV sitcom 2 Broke Girls and Fox TV‘s Brooklyn Nine-Nine.