Classic Late Night TV: Sandra Bernhard Spars With David Letterman

Sandra Bernhard is a comedy legend. She’s got an extensive discography (with a new album I Love Being Me, Don’t You? currently available), has played memorable roles in films like The King of Comedy and TV shows like Roseanne, and is pretty entertaining on Twitter. She’s made a career out of mixing cabaret performances with hilarious pop culture observances (think Kathy Griffin, but with musical talent), and she’s been proving that women are indeed hilarious. So let’s take a look back at some of her best moments on Late Night with David Letterman, on which Bernhard was a regular in the ’80s.

Bernhard appeared on Letterman’s NBC show over twenty times. What is most entertaining is her interactions with Letterman, who frequently insisted that he had “no idea what she is talking about” as she ignored him and continued with her bits. Nowadays we have Amy Sedaris who frequents his CBS show, but it’s hard to replicate the late-night talk show magic that Bernhard conjured up during her visits to the show. Here are a few favorite moments:

Sandra to Dave: “The last time I was on the show I felt so destroyed by you, so here’s what I’ve been reading: Men Who Hate Women, the Women Who Love Them…”

Dave to Sandra: “Have you noticed every time I try to say something, you start talking?!”

In this clip, Bernhard plugs her one-woman show Without You I’m Nothing and plays a recording of Village Voice writer Laurie Stone, who had given her show a bad review, leaving a message on her answering machine:

In a continuation of the previous clip, she brings out her pal Madonna!

Here she touches on the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself,” the classic documentary Paris Is Burning (“Do not throw shade at me!”), and her role in Hudson Hawk.

Clearly Dave needs to think about bringing her around more often!

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