Buckle up, Christmas crowds: Sandra Bernhard still has a lot to say


Bernhard has recorded many avant-garde moments: A generation before Ali Wong was acclaimed for doing a raunchy pregnancy comedy, Bernhard was taking the theater world by storm, including on Broadway with her one-woman show “I'm Still Here.. “Damn It!” – Foul-mouthed in a see-through dress and a belly, which he deliberately never referred to.

“First of all, being pregnant is kind of vulgar,” she said. “There are a billion people having babies all the time, so why talk about it? It wasn't my problem. And I loved it. “I had a lot of fun being pregnant, getting on stage, performing and not just sitting around waiting to have a baby.” (The show also drew criticism about Mariah Carey that the singer found racist; Bernhard has said her language was socially acceptable commentary at the time, but also acknowledged that comedy standards have changed.)

She hosted a 10pm talk show for A&E long before there was talk of women taking charge late at night. And years before Ellen DeGeneres came out, Bernhard played one of the first openly queer characters on television, as Nancy, a friend on “Roseanne” in the '90s; She also had an outspoken presence during the peak of the AIDS epidemic.

“She was one of the people who taught us, who taught me, how to get active, how to be present and show up,” said Billy Porter, her co-star on “Pose,” the FX series about underground dance culture, whose The characters are tormented by illness.

For Bernhard, it was a chance to exploit her real-life emotions (she lost many friends to AIDS, she said) into a character, a nurse, who was, as she put it, unglamorous “in the trenches.”

She and Porter were the two cast members who had personally experienced the first wave of the AIDS crisis. “We really connected on that: the other people were giving a history lesson, but we had actually lived it,” she said. “We were telling intense trauma stories and it was great to have her there to help me.”

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