Whatever Happened To Sandra Bernhard?

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Actress, singer, writer, and comedian Sandra Bernhard first gained widespread notoriety with her role as Masha in Martin Scorsese's 1982 film The King of Comedy. Bernhard then really cemented her celebrity status as a favorite guest on Late Night with David Letterman and continued to perform in one-woman shows and in TV and film, perhaps most notably in Roseanne as Nancy Bartlett. Along with her work in show biz, she's been a proudly vocal champion of a number of social and political causes, and a vocal critic of others when the mood strikes. 

As it turns out, Bernhard's been extremely busy over the past few years with all kinds of interesting projects and causes. Keep on scrolling to see what she's been up to. 

She's still touring

Bernhard actually got her start as a stand-up comic with her scathing and acerbic one-woman shows in the late 1970s, and she's still at it today with a number of regular gigs. Her 2017 holiday show "Feel the Bernard" at Joe's Pub in New York City sounds pretty epic: "Not unlike Bernie Sanders, Sandy has had it with the 1%. If you're sick and tired of being held down, join the 99%ers for a revolution Sandy style!"

And critics still love Bernhard's comedic stylings and observations on politics and culture. Variety raved in a December 2016 review of Bernhard's show "Sandra Monica Boulevard: Coast to Coast," "Bernhard remains as brash and brazen as she was in the 1970s, when she first came to fame critiquing celebrity culture and satirizing establishment politicians ... within every keenly observed pop-culture rant, there's an element of piercing truth."

She's done some solid guest starring

A quick glance at Bernhard's IMDb page reveals that she's been keeping the acting consistent in the 20 years since Roseanne went off the air. She's guest starred on shows like The SopranosWill & GraceLaw & Order: SVU, The L Word and Two Broke Girls, along with many, many more. 

Most recently, Bernhard showed up on Broad City's fourth season episode "Twaining Day" as Brenda, a member of the waitstaff at a restaurant where Ilana gets a job. During filming, Berhard shared a behind-the-scenes snap with fans on her Twitter page, writing "ooo honey we're in }Brooklyn[sic]!" 

In a review of the episode, Vulture noted about Bernhard's appearance on the show, "PROPS BROAD CITY CASTING." 

You can catch her on the radio

As part of Andy Cohen's Sirius XM radio channel Radio Andy, Bernhard hosts her own daily show called "Sandyland," in which she interviews all manner of celebrities, including Blondie, Bette Midler, Rita Wilson, David Arquette and many more. 

The show is billed as "entertaining, uncensored and unpredictable discussions on topics curated by Sandra Bernhard's varied and broad range of interests with her trademark intelligence and sharp humor. Bernhard will talk about everything from sports, music and artists that she loves, food, travel, history, Judaism, politics, art, fashion, 'American oddities' and more."

In an interview with The Creative Independent, Bernhard explained her love for hosting a show, saying, "The fact that people are listening is amazing. I'm totally inspired by the feedback and just the sweetness of people. It's wonderful... the show is very open and because I haven't boxed myself into a corner regarding what the show is about, I think people feel very relaxed about talking about whatever is going on in their lives. That is a really nice feeling."

She squashed her feud with Letterman

In 2015, Bernhard appeared on Andy Cohen's Bravo show Watch What Happens Live! and discussed her feud with former pal David Letterman. As she told Cohen (via Us Weekly), "The phone is quiet ... The hotline has been quiet and I'm heartbroken." When Cohen asked whether she had upset Letterman somehow, Bernhard replied, "Apparently I did but I don't know what it was ... 'Cause he said, he asked me last time I was on if I was trashing him and I said, 'I've never, why would I trash you, Dave?'"

But in 2017, Bernhard ran into Letterman at the Sirius XM studios, and the feud seemed to have magically disappeared. She told Cohen on another episode of Watch What Happens Live, "We ran into him, and I hadn't seen him in a very long time 'cause he didn't have me on the show for a really long time. So I was really nervous to see him, and he couldn't have been sweeter." She then added, "I sort of had a mad crush on Letterman all those years ... And back in the day, he was really fun and he was into it. When he moved to CBS, I don't know, he cleaned the decks. I mean, I just didn't get it, but it was nice to see him."

All's well that ends well, we guess.

But her relationship with Madonna went south

In 1988, Bernhard made an infamous appearance on Late Night with David Letterman  with then-bestie, Madonna, during which she joked about sleeping with the Material Girl. This set off rumors of a relationship between the two pals. 

But unfortunately, the friendship soured as the years went by. Bernhard explained the rift to The Telegraph in 2010, claiming simply that Madonna "didn't want to be friends anymore." "She's just a weird person," she continued. "She doesn't like consistency in her life; she likes to push things away ... I was confused. We were great friends; I would still like to be friends with her." 

However, Bernhard did publicly defend Madonna when comments the singer made at the Women's March in Washington D.C. in January 2017 caused some serious media backlash. She told the San Francisco Weekly, "Madonna wasn't being literal, and she didn't suggest that she wanted to band with terrorists and blow up the White House. She was in the moment and being off the cuff in the way she does... Obviously, Madonna's not an idiot. She's a provocateur in her way, as I am in my way." 

Taking the high road, eh Sandra? We're into it.

She refuses to define her sexuality

For years, Bernhard has been in long-term relationship with partner Sara Switzer, with whom she had a daughter in 1998. She's also a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights, though she prefers not to strictly define her own sexuality. 

In 2012, Roseanne Barr interviewed Bernhard for Interview magazine, and when questioned about her refusal to identify as a lesbian, Bernhard responded, "I never classified what I was, and still don't. I'm a sexual person. A lot of different people turn me on and have over the years ...I refuse to take sides, because everybody has their story."

During a December 2014 appearance on What What Happens Live (sensing a pattern?), she also explained to Andy Cohen and fellow guest Brandi Glanville, "I'm not a lesbian. I don't classify myself that. Never have. I transcend sexuality." Similarly, she described her relationship to her sexuality to Foreword in 2011, "Honey, I'm post-feminist; I'm post-gay. I'm beyond all those things. At a certain point, you've got to just transcend it."

She kind of got into Kabbalah

Bernhard was one of the first celebrities to embrace Kabbalah, a school of thought derived from Judaism that found a following within the Hollywood set in the 2000s

She opened up about her complicated relationship with the faith and its Centres in a candid interview with Women's Wear Daily in 2009, saying, "I went in 1995 before there was any hoopla and I got the best out of it. Then the wheels started to fall off. I'm not nearly as involved with that place as I was. Unfortunately, money corrupts everything, even spirituality. And it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of glamour and fame."

By 2011 Bernhard had distanced herself from Kabbalah and largely identified as "spiritual," telling Foreword, "I try to stay on my path, connect to what is meaningful to me and be compassionate... I want to do things for people — I have great empathy."

Bernhard also shared with Roseanne Barr how her relationship with Kabbalah had helped her contend with the pressures of a career for a 2012 piece in Interview magazine. "It has definitely helped me stop myself before I freak out, and if there was nothing else that I needed to get from it, that was the lesson," she said. "I used to just go on these, like, totally self-indulgent tears, like screaming and yowling 'My life is horrible!' and not seeing the bigger picture. There are still times when I get frustrated... I always have that kind of underneath feeling of peace of mind that I got from just the basic tenants of spirituality."

She's politically vocal

Bernhard has never been shy about expressing her political opinions. Indeed, like so many public figures these days, she makes frequent use of Twitter to discuss and support the causes she cares about, and in classic Bernhard-fashion, she isn't shy about sharing her opinion when it comes to the current administration. After the election, she wrote to her friends and followers, "If you voted for trump tell me because we're done. i cannot be your friend anymore, have the balls to be honest please."

She's been especially critical recently of the Trump administration's move to block trans people from joining and working in the military, and even called out noted Trump-support Caitlyn Jenner in the process. "Wake up sweetheart give Your wonderful president a call & discuss in military congrats on a great choice!" She wrote (via Entertainment Weekly). Check out her seriously NSFW and unfiltered thoughts on the ban, as well as the state of the world, on her radio show. 

She dished on Sex and the City

Fun fact: Bernhard was once offered the plum role of Miranda on Sex and the City, which we all know by now went to Cynthia Nixon.

In 2012, she explained to Howard Stern that she'd been approached to play the part, but deferred because of what she perceived to be the poor quality of the script. "It has nothing to do with selling out, it just wasn't any good ...," she said ((via Huffington Post). "Had it been a good script, had I thought it had legs, I would have done it ...Even Cynthia Nixon [who eventually landed the role] admits it didn't catch on until second or third season."

She elaborated that her reluctance to join the cast was also due to concerns that she'd have "to play third or fourth fiddle to Sarah Jessica Parker and put up with her s**t." "It would have been hideous to work with her ... Ask any of those ladies on that show ... nobody gets along, I don't think," she added.

No hard feelings, though. While discussing Cynthia Nixon on Wendy Williams in 2017, she said, "I've gotta give it up to that lady, because she's really talented." 

She modeled for J.Crew

In February 2017, Bernhard appeared as a model in the Fall 2017 presentation for J. Crew (then-creative director Jenna Lyons is a friend), reportedly telling viewers from the stage, "Everyone is sort of cool. It has a great flow and energy to it kind of on a funky, gray day... It's nice to get out of the house!" Amen.

This wasn't Bernhard's first foray into fashion. Her career as a model dates all the way back to the early '90s, when she appeared on the catwalk for Chanel's Spring 1993 collection and also walked in the Fall 1992 Comme des Garçons show. In 2016, she also starred in Marc Jacob's Spring campaign

The woman truly does it all.

She's got her sights set on a book project

As if her resume couldn't get any more impressive, Bernhard is also a published author — her books include 1998's May I Kiss You On The Lips, Miss Sandra?, 1993's Love, Love, and Love, and 1988's Confessions of a Pretty Lady

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bernhard still feels like she has at least one more book project in her, telling The Creative Independent in October 2016, "I was just talking to this book agent a couple hours ago, actually. I'm trying to put together another book—something like, Welcome to Sandyland!, which could be random essays about, well, you know. Everything." 

She continued, "So, there are a lot of exciting things, but it's always about waiting to see what comes together first. That's the nature of this business. You have to be willing to try lots of different things. Sometimes you have to be willing to wait."

Hopefully for fans, the wait won't last too long.