Login

Without You I'm Nothing Review

Image for Without You I'm Nothing

Comedience Sandra Bernhard returns to her LA club to be informed that the New York scene has swelled her head to immeasurable proportions.

★★★★

Loosely adapted from Sandra Bernhard's smash off-Broadway show of the same name, this is a rollicking cabaret travelogue through three decades of pop culture and tabloid Americana led by our acid-tongued priestess of the blow-torch sensibility.

Acquiring a narrative backbone in the trip from stage to screen, a twist has the outrageous comedienne returning to her L.A. club roots at the behest of "manager" Ingrid Burns (Lu Leanord), who decides that making the New York "scene" has swelled her charge's head to eminently shrinkable proportions.

Thus exiled to The Parisian Room, Bernhard adopts a string of well-observed satirical stage personas, from the gauche astrology-obsessed lounge singer to the Upper East-side Chanel Lady who lunches with Liza, Truman and Bianca. Carpet bombing her act with uniquely Bernhard interpretations of pop ditties like her now legendary take on Prince's Little Red Corvette — clad only in a spangled crotch patch — Bernhard performs for a mostly black, completely apathetic audience who perk up no end when she abandons the stage for the talent-free Madonnaesque stripper Shoshanna (one of several not-so-subtle digs at Bernhard's ex-best friend).

Watching Bernhard do what she does best, stripping the varnish off the celebrity-obsessed culture she loathes and adores in equal measure, is further proof that she is — and remains — one of the sharpest and original comic talents of the past two decades.

More from Empire