After many years of entertaining, Sandra Bernhard has garnered experience and a knack for the groovy. Recently, the comedienne has been touring with her solo show “Sandra Monica Boulevard: Coast to Coast” and has her own Sirius XM show “Sandyland.” On Nov. 18, Sandra returns to the St. Louis for Loud & Lavish at the Grandel theater in the Grand Center Arts District. Bernhard headlines the event, which features burlesque, comedy, music and more.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in St. Louis,” says Bernhard, who is eager to be back in the Gateway to the West. “I am very excited. My girlfriend grew up there and has some family there; it’ll be nice to have some familiar faces and be back in a market I haven’t been to in a long time. I’m excited to have a new and groovy setting to do [my show] in. It’ll be nice to work with people that are edgier like I am.”
Bernhard says she doesn’t usually do events surrounded by other performers, but “it’s important in a marketplace like St. Louis to have a nice reflection of local entertainers that sort of pivot off of what I do. I’m excited to see what everyone else is up to in St. Louis.”
The show will reflect not only her own talents, but also the talents of other local entertainers; Bernhard feels it’s important to maintain knowledge of what’s going on outside of her own entertainment bubble. “I hear the Grandel is fantastic. The family, the foundation and the people who started it — it sounds like they’re doing a lot of great stuff. I’m coming in with my musical director, and he’s using local musicians for guitar and drums. I love working with local people; there are so many talented musicians around the country.”
Having been in comedy for decades, it’s interesting to see how Bernhard’s work develops with time. The energy she puts into it is astonishing. “I try to incorporate what’s happening. My shows are very personal. They’re kind of a reflection of where I’ve been and what’s going on in my day-to-day life. My work is inherently political. Obviously, coming to St. Louis, where so much is going on racially, it is going to reflect that,” says Bernhard. Anyone who is familiar with the entertainer knows she’s not afraid to speak her mind. Whether the issues involve women, the LGBTQ community, or race, Bernhard wants to take the negativity and make it positive.
“Its about not being boring or preachy. You have to be clever and informative; use your imagination to entertain people. That’s what separates great artists from mediocre artists. I’m someone who has been doing this a really long time, and I have the ability to take things out of the mediocre and elevate it,” says Bernhard. She also doesn’t want to hit you over the head with her work. “You’ve got to be outspoken. As a woman and as someone who is a pioneer in everything groovy and weird, you have to fly your flag and never turn your back on it. It’s about standing strong but not too brash either.” It’s clear that Bernhard knows just how to do this. As she says, it’s in her DNA.
“In theory, you have to love what you do. But I’m one of those lucky few who not only loves it but it defines me,” says Bernhard. “It’s in my blood; I live and breathe it everyday.” V