SUPER EGO "You know, I like to sit around in my hotel room after the show in my bra and panties and say to somebody, ‘Get me a Rémy Martin with a water back, goddamn it! Thank you.’ I know they like it, and I do too."
OK, I wish my life were like that I’m allergic to cheap cognac but holy crap. Has it really been two decades since intricately striking comedienneuse Sandra Bernhard, who snarkily uttered the words above, tickled homos pink and sent confounded heteros down the Stoney End with her "Without You I’m Nothing" tour? Lorf, my mints are dusty. Somebody hand me a tambourine! Come back, come back to the Five and Dime, Barbra Streisand, Barbra Streisand!
Wow. That was really gay, even for moi. Somebody hang me in Saudi Arabia.
Slutting it up with a crooked-toothed Madonna, slapping down Roseanne’s sloppy joes, grouching through Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird this is all but winceworthy water under the bridge of the fierce-at-52 Ms. Sandra’s exquisite, seemingly unrestructured nose. And who could ever forget her immortal early ’90s safe-sex rap "Wanna touch my pussy, wanna taste my jam? / Gotta be usin’ a dental dam." Not me, that’s who.
Lucky for us all, Sandra’s planning a 20th anniversary tour of "Without You I’m Nothing" next year, but until then she’s wetting our whistles with a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Castro Theatre. She rang me up for a quick chat about the glory of her upcoming appearance.
SANDRA BERNHARD Darling! How are you?
SFBG Gurl, I’m hungover as usual and George W. Bush is totally fucking up the global climate summit in Bali right now. I’m frantically fast-forwarding myself into 2009.
SB Don’t I know it, child. I watched the Democratic debate the other day, and I was weeping. I cannot wait for any one of them to win. Meanwhile I’m just keeping myself busy, spending time with my family [partner Sara and nine-year-old daughter Cicely], and basking in quiet limelight.
SFBG At the end of this month you’re doing two nights in Atlanta and then immediately flying to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. I noticed on your holiday gift wish list you’ve asked for a lot of protein bars, cinnamon gum, and organic cosmetics. Is that how you stay so fresh?
SB I’ve also got a world music album and new film, See You in September, coming out next year. You know, it looks like I’m doing a lot, but really I do a show or two, take a day off to center myself, and get back out there, ready for more. I can’t wait to be in San Francisco such a fun city, full of amazing people.
SFBG You were here in November to judge the Miss Trannyshack Pageant. I bet you got a lot of wig in your teeth that night.
SB It was a wild ride that seemed like it would never end.
SFBG So what can we expect at your New Year’s show? "Everything Bad Is Beautiful" with a balloon drop?
SB Are you kidding? People these days can barely sit still for 20 minutes, let alone watch a whole show on New Year’s Eve. I’m planning a kind of variety spectacular. Video clips, some stand-up, a bunch of songs.
SFBG Your art has always been about tearing down the whole idea of celebrity. It’s like you were foretelling our current moment when you said, "To be superfamous you need to act like a total freak."
SB It’s so true! I think in this country we’ve just given up. We’re burying our heads in whatever fucked-up, methed-up, BritneyParisPaula Abdul disasters are spoon-fed to us. I mean, I tear those girls apart in my shows, but even doing that is giving them more dimensions than they actually deserve.
SFBG Most of my readers are total fashion whores. You always look so together. Who are you wearing lately?
SB Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and I love this Israeli designer named Nili Lotan. It’s a mix. But you’ve gotta watch out there’s too much cheap knockoff shit out there.
SFBG You’ve been such an inspiration to most of the dykes I know.
SB I love young gay women they’ve caused a revolution. They’re more free with their money. They’re jaunty. I have this story I tell where I went to lunch with this older friend. The waiter asked if she wanted more corn bread, and she was, like, "Sure!" Then she turned to me and whispered triumphantly, "It’s free." And I was, like, why don’t you just pay for the damn corn bread if you like it so much? Just pay for it and enjoy it. That’s my message to the world: enjoy your corn bread. *
Dec. 31, 11 p.m., $35<\d>$100
429 Castro, SF