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Without You I'm Nothing (1990)

R  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  11 May 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 415 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 12 critic

Sandra Bernhard stars in a studio version of her off-Broadway show, blending re-enactments of the original show's pieces with concept vignettes and 'testimonials' to underscore the relationship between a performer and an audience.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lu Leonard ...
Sandra's Manager
Grace Broughton ...
'Female' Backup Singer
Kimberli Williams ...
'Female' Backup Singer
Axel Vera ...
'Female' Backup Singer
Estuardo Volty ...
'Female' Backup Singer (as Estuardo M. Volty)
Kevin Dorsey ...
Male Backup Singer
Arnold McCuller ...
Male Backup Singer
Oren Waters ...
Male Backup Singer
Child Caroler (as Vonte' Sweet)
Tonya Natalie Townsend ...
Child Caroler


Sandra Bernhard stars in a studio version of her off-Broadway show, blending re-enactments of the original show's pieces with concept vignettes and 'testimonials' to underscore the relationship between a performer and an audience.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 May 1990 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,218,730 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Djimon Hounsou. See more »


Sandra: No one speaks of pavilions anymore, and that saddens me.
See more »


Mighty Real
Written by Sylvester
Performed by Sandra Bernhard
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User Reviews

Well, almost nothing.
9 January 2002 | by (Haddonfield, IL) – See all my reviews

This movie mystifies me because it comes off as so blasé. I never saw Sandra's live show that this was drawn from, but I own the soundtrack album and it always gives me a lot of laughs, no matter how many times I hear it. So why is it that this film is basically unfunny?

I can't imagine why Sandra and John Boskovich decided to stage this in front of anything but a live audience. Sandra's best when she can connect with the people watching her, in fact a lot of her impact comes from getting a rise out of the audience. Spontaneity is one of her strongest qualities, yet this movie is staged completely in the studio. In fact, they go so far as to portray an audience that is so disaffected by her performance that they either ignore her or react negatively. I suppose this was for a purpose, but to me it seems like a risk that failed, because the movie often comes off as flat and unfunny. The further that Sandra gets away from her audience, the less impact these skits have. The material worked great on the album and, presumably, in the stage show. Then here in the film, it worked when I saw it with an audience in the theater. But on video, it really pales in comparison.

Part of the problem seems to be timing, especially the opening segments. One of the pieces shows Sandra doing a stand-up routine that served as a sort of "opening monologue" in the stage show, but in this film she's rushing through the lines so fast that nothing sinks in--she doesn't have the luxury of allowing the viewer to react to her material, and it suffers greatly.

Despite this, the movie manages to pull off some great moments, including some skits that weren't on the soundtrack album. It's worth watching just for some of the visuals that are included, and Sandra's always worth a look even when she's just doing a supporting role, but ultimately it seems as if it could have been a lot more than it turned out to be. It would have been a lot funnier if it had been staged as a concert film interspersed with studio pieces.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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