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Bernhard tours Aust -

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KERRY O'BRIEN: In a career spanning 30 years, Sandra Bernhard has won acclaim as an actor, singer,
author and stand up comedian and notoriety in the early 90s as Madonna's gal pal. Famous for
venting her spleen about celebrities, politicians and the state of the world today, Bernhard has
been hailed as a fearless artist in pursuit of the truth and criticised for being mean spirited and
jealous. In Australia for a series of concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, she spoke with Geoff

GEOFF HUTCHISON: It was in The King of Comedy in 1983 that we were first introduced to Sandra
Bernhard. She was young, noisy and demanded to be noticed. Twenty-two years on, nothing much has

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Did you want to be famous?

SANDRA BERNHARD (COMEDIAN): That was never my impetus to becoming a performer, no. I really had a
love for entertaining people and I've thought I've had talent since I was a kid. You kind of know
if you have that kind of openness, whether you have it or not.

SANDRA BERNHARD (ON STAGE): This is all dedicated to the most beautiful women in Hollywood. To
Goldie Hawn, to Farrah Fawcett, to Raquel Welch who once had a rib surgically removed to give her a
higher breast line. I understand that they barbecued that rib. It was quite meaty, tender and

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Has that always been a driver for you, to say things that other people might think
and not say, to hit people with your version of the brutal truth, no matter how much it might hurt?

SANDRA BERNHARD: You know, I never think about it in terms of whether I think people want to hear
it. I can only do what drives me.

SANDRA BERNHARD (ON STAGE): We lost Princess Diana, but you know, we're all responsible for that
individually, we really are. We heaped so much on her fragile little shoulders that she broke like
a sparrow, you know. We bought in to the illusion of the beautiful young girl marrying the prince,
living happily ever after, but you know what? She wasn't happy. She was scared, she was alone, she
was frightened. She found a glimmer of happiness at the end and it was snuffed out like that. Think
about that each and every day of your lives.

SANDRA BERNHARD: It's not a personal attack and it's never a cheap shot. I don't do that.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: It's magnificently caustic sometimes.

SANDRA BERNHARD: Once again, that's part of being a social critic, you know, that you have that
licence to look at the entire fabric of politics and culture and point out its inadequacies.

SANDRA BERNHARD (ON STAGE): Nothing affected me more, though, than the untimely death of Gianni
Versace. It was so random and so violent, it really was. And for me it's changed the face of the
modelling world forever. I run into the girls in the streets of Manhattan. Their eyes are hollow,
listless. They're non-communicative. I go, "Talk to me, baby, please. Open up. You're gonna fade
away." Naomi Campbell is a shadow of a human being. When asked to describe her deep feelings about
the death of Gianni, she said, "It's been a terrible thing...for me."

SANDRA BERNHARD: It wasn't about Versace or Princess Di. It was about everybody else jumping on the
tragedy bandwagon, which is just an ongoing thing. Now it's the tsunami. We all want to help, we
all want to reach out to people who are in need, but we should do it in quiet ways and we should do
it in ways that don't celebrate our ability to feel emotion for other people.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: If she was sticking the pin into pop culture in the 90s, these days she is more
political. For an irony driven, angst ridden, foul mouthed, poison laced leftie, there's plenty to
discuss in George W Bush's America.

SANDRA BERNHARD: And then when 9/11 hit, all of a sudden it was America's tragedy. There's been
tragedy around the world, there's been wars that have been fought on foreign lands and people have
died in every corner of the world tragically, but it's always swept under the carpet until it
affected the actual land of America and I took offence to it to a certain extent, just because
there should be compassion for everybody always.

SANDRA BERNHARD (ON STAGE): I was always so frightened of the Muslim culture. I was scared of the
angry men and the veiled women. Then I started thinking, you know, these people are going to give
thanks five times a day for the simplest things in their lives.

SANDRA BERNHARD: I think it's been very easy for people to become super complacent and not
necessarily as curious as they need to be, including our President, who rarely reaches out, who has
seemingly little or no interest in anything artistic or anything of nature or beauty, which to me
is totally shocking, and I think that affects the country and therefore affects the world. I think
that they have a huge machine, they're out there spewing out propaganda and manipulating people and
making people feel helpless.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Can you see yourself at 60 still energetic enough to be outraged enough to get out
there and spit out some really...

SANDRA BERNHARD: Absolutely. I can see being outraged at 80, 90 and on. I mean, I think age is a
state of mind.

SANDRA BERNHARD (ON STAGE): A phone conversation between Jackie and Marilyn. "Hello?" "Hello."
"Who's this?" "Who's this?"

KERRY O'BRIEN: Geoff Hutchison with Sandra Bernhard.