Karrissa Wade, who has been writing, performing and contributing to Metro Jacksonville on LGBT politics and local culture for 8 years has a saucy discussion with Wanda Sykes, the comedy legend. Join us after the jump for the details and smack talk. Including a few contributions from Wanda's pet dogs!
Sykes began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience in 1987. She continued to hone her talents at local venues while at the NSA until 1992, when she moved to New York City. Working for the Hal Leonard publishing house, she edited a book entitled "Polyrhythms - The Musician's Guide" by Peter Magadini. Her first big break came when opening for Chris Rock at Caroline's Comedy Club. In 1997, she joined the writing team on The Chris Rock Show and also made many appearances on the show. The writing team was nominated for four Emmys, and in 1999, won for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. Since that time, she has appeared in such films as Pootie Tang and on TV shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2003, she starred in her own short-lived Fox network sitcom, Wanda at Large. The same year, Sykes appeared in an hour-long Comedy Central special, Tongue Untied. That network also ranked her No. 70 on its list of the 100 greatest all-time stand ups. She served as a correspondent for HBO's Inside the NFL, hosted Comedy Central's popular show Premium Blend, and voiced a recurring character named Gladys on Comedy Central's puppet show Crank Yankers. She also had a short-lived show on Comedy Central called Wanda Does It.
In addition to her film and television work, she is also an author. She wrote Yeah, I Said It, a book of humorous observations on various topics, published in September 2004.
In 2006, she landed a recurring role on the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine; she became a series regular in the second season. She also guest starred in the Will & Grace episode "Buy, Buy Baby" in 2006. She provided voices for the 2006 films Over the Hedge, Barnyard, and Brother Bear 2. She had a part in My Super Ex-Girlfriend and after playing in Evan Almighty, had a bit part in License to Wed. Sykes' first HBO Comedy Special, entitled Wanda Sykes: Sick & Tired, premiered on October 14, 2006; it was nominated for a 2007 Emmy Award. In 2008, she performed as part of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour for LGBT rights.
In October 2008, Wanda Sykes appeared in a television ad for the Think Before You Speak Campaign, an advertising campaign by GLSEN aimed at curbing homophobic slang in youth communities. In the 30-second spot, she uses humor to scold a teenager for saying "That's so gay" when he really means "That is so bad."
In March 2009, it was announced that Sykes would be the host of a new late-night talk show on Saturdays on Fox, The Wanda Sykes Show which was scheduled to premiere November 7, 2009. In April 2009, she was named in Out magazine's "Annual Power 50 List", landing at number 35.
In May 2009, Sykes was the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, becoming both the first African American woman and the first openly LGBT person to get the role. Cedric the Entertainer had been the first African American to become the featured entertainer in 2005. At this event, Sykes made controversial headlines as she responded to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's comments regarding President Barack Obama. Limbaugh, in reference to Obama's presidential agenda, had said "I hope he fails." In response, Sykes quipped: "I hope his [Limbaugh's] kidneys fail, how 'bout that? Needs a little waterboarding, that's what he needs."
Check out Wanda at the Correspondent's dinner:
See Wanda Sykes in person at the Florida Theatre on the 26th of February at 8pm!
About Karrissa Wade
Karrissa Wade is one of the most accomplished and well known drag performers in J-ville. Active in politics, theatre, art and the performance and pageant circuit, she has been the host of countless charity events and benefits, and has been a correspondent for MetroJacksonville since 2008.
You can catch her regular performances at Hamburger Marys or connect with her on Facebook.