Without Her We're Nothing

The legendary Sandra Bernhard sits down with The Advocate before the one-night-only revival of her seminal one-woman show Without You I'm Nothing in Los Angeles to discuss Tori Amos, why Prop. 8 is "the best thing that could happen to the gay community," and how she she could possibly love both Rachel Maddow and Rachel Zoe.

BY Job Brother

November 18 2008 1:00 AM ET

On the original album to the show, Tori Amos played piano. It was before she “hit it.” I had
actually known her as a waitress in some restaurant.
She came in and did overdubs and backgrounds on that
particular version of “Little Red Corvette.”

So she wasn’t involved in the live show at all? No, no. That would’ve been fun.

It’s been a while since your last book. Any plans
for a new one?
I’ve been writing material for a book
since the last one [May I Kiss You on the Lips, Miss
Sandra?
]. The book market is very tenuous,
especially right now, and there are so many
people blogging and ... I don’t know why, but
psychically I’m not connecting into that
particular outlet of writing. I don’t know --
It’s not that important to me because
I’m out there so much performing; I’m
writing some stuff for television that I’m trying to
get off the ground -- you can only spread yourself so
thin. But there’ll be another book. Eventually.

You pay tribute to many icons in your show. Is
there anyone new on the scene that you find worthy or
respect or find intriguing?
Yes. I really love Rachel Maddow. That’s
the high. And I love Rachel Zoe. That’s the
low. The highs and lows of Rachels. I mean, culturally,
they’re extremes. Rachel Maddow is obviously this
incredible intellectual, and Rachel Zoe is a
spontaneous combustion of energy and pop culture, but
I like them both. I wish Rachel Zoe was on every night,
frankly. She’s totally endearing and entertaining.

You were against Proposition 8 [which rescinded
same-sex marriage rights in California]. What was your
response when it passed?
Well, honestly, I think it’s the best
thing that could happen to the gay community.
It’s really gonna galvanize the community in a way
that we need it to. We haven’t really been in
that state of mind since Stonewall, and then of course
the AIDS crisis. I think that people get complacent --
we all do, culturally. I think this is forcing everybody to
really band together and make this happen in a real
way and also to fully appreciate and respect being
represented as full citizens. [It’s] taxation without
representation! I mean, we all pay our taxes, and as the gay
community we make a lot of money and we pay a lot of
taxes and we should be completely protected. I mean,
this is absurd! I find it completely despicable that
the Mormons and the religious outlets have garnered all of
this hatred and resentment considering ... I mean, if
you really break it down, if you wanna play dirty, the
Mormons and their whole polygamy stance -- I
don’t find that particularly wonderful. We’re
a responsible community and we want our rights and
everyone wants us to have our rights -- supposedly, on
paper -- so then, it’s time for us to go out and grab
them, which we’re doing. I think, over the next year,
things will start to roll out across the country.
We’re just at that tipping point and I think
it’ll work out. But we’ve gotta do the work.
That’s all there is to it.

There’s been a lot of emphasis by opponents of gay
marriage on a need for a child to be raised by both a
woman and a man ...
Well, I can tell you, undeniably, that’s
not the case. I think that when you have one loving
parent, it’s enough, with a community of support. But
when you have two loving parents of any combination who are
in agreement with how to raise the child and agreement
on the philosophy of the household and a real, deep
commitment to the child, then the child will flourish.
What’s in our DNA, what’s in our observations
as we evolve as people has little or nothing to do
with the sexuality of our parents, and I think
it’s time for people to really look at that and step
up to the next level of thinking about it. I’m
raising my daughter with my girlfriend and it’s
a delightful experience. My daughter takes in the
world in the most wonderful way. She is who she is --
we’re simply guiding her. We all come in with
our own imprint as people, and as parents we’re
guides, to keep our kids on the right path. Being
compassionate, being understanding, protecting them --
that’s really the bottom line. You can’t
force your kid to be anything.

Tags: Theater

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