Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Queen of Comedy Central coming to K.C.

December 16, 2004


Wanda Sykes has one of those voices that just makes you laugh no matter what she's saying.

Her segments on Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers," for instance, where she's complaining to a mechanic about the, uh, dookie left in her back seat, or calling a prison to arrange a conjugal visit -- even thought she doesn't know anyone there -- are among the show's most hilarious moments. They rely completely on the lazy, acerbic delivery that Sykes has perfected since her stand-up debut in 1987 and subsequent work as writer/performer on "The Chris Rock Show."

When that voice and delivery are put with a face, Sykes makes an even greater impression.

As Biggie Shorty in "Pootie Tang," as Wanda on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or as a brilliantly placed commentator on "Inside the NFL," she always provides a show-stealing presence.

Her new TV project, "Wanda Does It," lets her loose in a variety of jobs, from hooker to WNBA coach. As in all her roles, it's Wanda Sykes playing Wanda Sykes playing a character that can frequently be compared to Wanda Sykes. And it's funny.

Q: Are you the Queen of Comedy Central?

A: I'm on there a lot, yeah.

Q: Or is Mo Rocca?

A: Ooh, that's a close one.

Q: How's the new show, "Wanda Does It," going?

A: I'm having a great time doin' it. So now we're just waitin' to see what they're gonna do with it. As far as whether we're gonna go back and do more, whatever.

Q: Any jobs you've gotten to do that have made you consider a career change?

A: No, I'm pretty much doin' what I'm doin'. It's nice to go and taste a little bit of other jobs, but I'm happy with what I'm doin'.

Q: Of all your projects -- "Wanda Does It," "Inside the NFL," your book, your stand-up -- which one is your favorite?

A: I like everything for different reasons, but I'm havin' fun doing the stand-up tour because it's where I started. Doing stand-up, that's my first love, and it's fun. Not edited, no censors, nothin'. Full freedom.

What: Comedian Wanda SykesWhen: 8 p.m. todayWhere: Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.Tickets: $29.50Ticket info: (816) 753-8665

Q: You got into television pretty late, only like seven years ago. Were you doing stand-up already?

A: Yeah, I started doing stand-up in '87.

Q: How did you get into that?

A: I was working at NSA, and --


A: Yeah, National Security Agency. Out of college. I was working there.

Q: Can you talk about that without having to garrote me afterward?

A: It was just boring, and I was bored silly doing it. So I heard about a contest where -- the Coors Light Super Talent Showcase or something -- and comedy was one of the categories. So I sat down at my desk and wrote some jokes and entered the contest, and, you know, got in there. And I didn't win, but had a great time doing it, and just hooked up in the comedy circuit and just stayed with it.

Q: Any advice for a comic just starting out?

A: Move to a city where -- like if you don't live in New York -- move to a city where you can develop. I wouldn't come out to L.A. right away, 'cause there really isn't -- a lot of places, the comedy clubs, you have people who already made names for themselves gettin' up on stage, so it's kind of hard to start here. I'd go to a city like New York, or -- New York. (laughs) Or San Francisco, maybe. And start off there.

Q: Who do you think is funny?

A: Working today?

Q: Who inspired you, or who you like working with. Whoever.

A: I love Richard Pryor. Richard Pryor, I think, is the greatest. And growin' up, we always watched comedy in the house. Either "Roots" or comedy. And Ed Sullivan had a bunch of comics on, so I remember watchin' Moms Mabley. That's the one that really stuck out, just because, being a female. And Flip Wilson, Carol Burnett, the Richard Pryor variety show.

Q: Your book is pretty up-front about your dislike of Bush. Now that the election is over, and the outcome was wrong, what are your thoughts?

A: Four more years. I mean, either way -- it's not like I was crazy about Kerry either. It's just four more years of the same, basically. Keep blowin' stuff up. We'll see.

Q: What's life on the road like for a comic? Do you have a tour bus, a crappy van, or what?

A: We fly. ... We're pretty low-key. We fly in, we like to stay at a nice hotel, do the show, then have a nice meal, that's pretty much it. If we have time we'll try to take in a movie or somethin', but after the show we pretty much just eat and drink.

Q: On your blog you usually mention where you ate. You seem to really enjoy food.

A: I enjoy a nice meal and a nice bottle of wine. Or bottles of wine.

Q: Do you have big Thanksgiving plans? Will you be on the road?

A: No, I'm gonna be here in L.A.

Q: Any recipes you'd like to share? Stuffing? Are you deep-frying the turkey? What's your pleasure?

A: I pop that bitch in the oven. Old-fashioned.

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