"Brassy, bitchy, and very 'New York'" is one way to describe actress Sandra Bernhard, reports CBS This Morning Contributor Eleanor Mondale.
But the full-lipped lady with the waspish tongue has built her career on just such an attitude, and it's on full display in her one-woman Broadway show I'm Still Here Damn It. She's bringing her downtown sensibilities uptown to hit audiences over the head with her acerbic wit.
Bernhard says that, in her work, she identifies more with the audience than with her own fame.
"I'm like the captive fan," she says. "I'm the admirer. I'm the lady in waiting. And that's where I'm coming from when I'm talking about famous people."
In her last stage show, Without You, I'm Nothing, Bernhard admits that some of her famous friends were miffed to hear her take them on.
"But people have to remember," says Bernhard, "that when they do things publicly, it's open to critique. And I think everything I've talked about in my show, the general public has observed as well. I'm just the one who isÂ…on stage reflecting it."
In her show, Bernhard riffs on the world's reaction to the death of Princess Diana, especially celebrities who were interviewed on cable TV news shows on the night of the fatal accident.
"A year later, we're still obsessed," observes Bernhard. "[There are] people making millions off her who have nothing to do with her family or her. It's a bizarre world we live in."
For Bernhard the comedian, that works out just fine, because such offbeat events translate well into her stage routines. "I'm drawing from all those experiences - you know, cultural, and fame, and relationships," she explains. "It's just things that strike me asÂ…very odd. It's a sense of irony."
Bernhard started her performing career at 19, working part-time as a manicurist and as a standup comedian. She gained national attention and critical notice for her role as a bizarre obsessed fan in The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis. She also popped up in the celebrity documentaries Truth or Dare (1991), which was about Madonna, and Unzipped (1995), about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.
She had a recurring role on the TV sitcom Roseanne and is the author of Confessions of a Pretty Lady (1988). She's also a singer and has cut an album, I'm Your Woman (1985).
Bernhard, 43, gave birth to a daughter, Cicely Yasin, on July 4, 1998.
"I did a lot of changing before I had her, spiritually, emotionally," says Bernhard. "I got myself into a different head space than I was in five years ago [or] 10 years ago so I would draw down a good soul. I wanted this baby to be happy, and she is. I think she's going to be a great person, and I love her"
Bernhard, who is single, prefers not to reveal the father of her child. But she says there are lots of men in her life, and they all represent certain kinds of fathers to her. She told Mondale that she had Cicely to share her with a lot of friends who won't be having babies.
As a footnote, Mondale says she usually does not get nervous before she conducts interviews with celebrities. But Bernhard is known for saying whatever she wants, and what she has to say often involves comedy with a scathing overtone.
"I was nervous," says Mondale. "I was scared about what she was going to say about me [after the interview]Â… I was going, 'I hope she doesn't make fun of me'."