OFFBEAT: Comedienne Sandra Bernhard back in Chicago at new City Winery

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-01-04T00:00:00Z 2013-01-04T11:47:05Z OFFBEAT: Comedienne Sandra Bernhard back in Chicago at new City WineryBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Comedienne Sandra Bernhard loves to spend her holidays in Chicago.

The last time she played a string of shows in the Windy City, it was in February 2010 for Valentine's Day.

And prior to that, it was Halloween 2008 to perform her "A Sandra Bernhard Halloween" stage show at Steppenwolf Theatre.

She back again, this time, to celebrate the new year and to celebrate a new performance space in Chicago.

Her latest show is billed as "An Intimate Evening with Sandra Bernhard" titled "I Love Being Me, Don't You?"

It's 8 p.m. today, along with her already sold-out show Saturday, both at at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St.

Tickets are $45 to $65 at or call (312) 733-9463 or

She's appearing with her band for what she describes as "a free-form cabaret-style set" with her inimitable monologue bookended by half a dozen songs.

She just launched this brand new show in Los Angeles.

So what amuses Bernhard?

The descriptions of herself by the media still make her flash that familiar frowning smile.

"A living, breathing bonfire," a tag bestowed by one of the New York publications remains one of her favorites she once told me.

And even after 30 years in the biz, Bernhard's flame has yet to go out and her audiences now anticipate her fire, diversity, and titillation at every performance.

While simultaneously antagonizing and engaging the audience, Bernhard puts on a show in a league of its own.

"When an audience comes to see me perform, they are going along with me and they want to hear those cutting edge topics," Bernhard told me in 2010.

With an expansive career spanning being actress, comedienne, author, singer and provocateur, Bernhard, who is originally from Flint, Mich., is famous not only for her social commentary comedy, but also for her range of talents. From her television roles like playing Roseanne Barr's best friend on ABC's "Roseanne" to her outrageous public persona, including her rollercoaster friendship with Madonna, she doesn't mind poking fun at herself.

A favorite guest on talk shows, Bernhard once quipped: "I'm the only actress in Hollywood who didn't pay to have these lips."

And in 2001, she appeared as herself in a very funny episode of "Will & Grace," even playing up her short temper, by spoofing herself during a scene featuring an obscenity-laced tirade she unleashes on the show's title characters after they admit pretending to be interested in buying her apartment just to meet her and become friends with her. (During the scene, Bernhard's piano accompanist "Mitchy" just happens to be nearby with a blender "whipping up a batch of his famous smoothies," so the noise of the crushing ice conveniently drowns out all of her cursing at just the right moments).

She parodied herself in a later episode of equal hilarity on the show's next season in 2002, when Will and Grace meet her again and face the same wrath, with this time, her tirade muffled by the sound of a repairman drilling to fix an electrical outlet.

"A career of performing isn't something you should do for fame and money," Bernhard said.

"You should love what you do. Otherwise, it becomes a business and it will eat you alive."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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