On the history of women in comedy
There’s always been women who are successful, whether it’s back in vaudeville, like Gracie Allen and Sophie Tucker. Later a lot of people did musical theater, like Carol Channing and Carol Burnett. Every couple of generations it shifts. I think it’s been a slow burn, and now it’s a fast burn, because so many people are emboldened and have the confidence to go off and be unique.
On the role of Jewish culture in comedy
The Jewish identity is always very strong. Whether you’re religious or secular, there’s a certain level of neurosis and emotion that only Jewish people can understand.
On how to develop a joke
I tell funny little stories. There’s a million different ways of approaching a funny piece. Usually it’s something that happens that I can’t believe is happening. I don’t really write jokes; I write about things I experience. If you’re not inherently funny, it’s hard to be funny. Being funny is something you’re born with.
Sandra Bernhard performs her show Quick Sand at the Stroum JCC November 2 at 8 p.m.