“…I NEED TO SEE OTHER KIDS.”: WANDA SYKES ON PARENTING & MORE
Fifteen years ago I was channel surfing and came across a Comedy Central special with a fab woman on the screen. Watching and hearing her talk about straight men and threesomes (“Why does one man want to disappoint two women at the same time?”), the economy (“I invest in weed… the price of weed never goes down”) made me a super fan for life.
And her “Crank Yankers” phone calls as Gladys Murphy to the correctional facility (volunteering conjugal visits for “lonely prisoners”) or to a housewife (as a customer service rep for a XXX website, thanking her for her husband’s business) are classics.
She’s smart, she’s beautiful, she’s the only person my friends and I quote all the time… she’s comic Wanda Sykes. Michael Cook spoke with her in anticipation of her live show tonight at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank…
Michael: You are the mom of twins. How’s parenthood going for you?
Wanda: It’s still very new for me. Here’s the thing: it’s going. Once you’re in, you’re in. There’s no backing out. You can’t go “You know what, can I talk to you? It’s not you it’s me. I need to see other kids.” You just can’t do that.
You get a little more energy when they’re your own kids, because you don’t have a choice. Lucas goes right down for his naps, Olivia is such a girl, she always wants to talk. So instead of bothering Lucas, she comes into our room with “Good morning.”
Michael: Has your act changed since you became a parent?
Wanda: Definitely. Before, I was completely up on politics, everything that was going on, I was able to surf the web and see what was happening. Now, I know more about what’s going on on Sesame Street than I do on Wall Street. I talk more about being a parent, being married, more personal things like that.
Michael: Why do you think gay men gravitate towards you?
Wanda: Well, one gay guy explained it like this: most gay men are really black women! I get it; it’s the attitude, and I love it. I did a couple gay cruises, and loved doing them, they were so much fun. That’s what I love about our community, they’re very respectful. They get that I was on the cruise doing a couple shows, but I was able to walk around and chill also. A picture here, and picture there and that was it.
Michael: Unfortunately, “The New Adventures Of Old Christine” with is over, but it’s a big hit in syndication. Do you miss filming a sitcom?
Wanda: I do miss doing it, I miss our cast. We really had such as great time with each other, and we’ve stayed friends. I still talk to Julia (Louis Dreyfus) and the rest of the cast whenever I’m in town. What really bums me out is that people are just now finding the show, and are telling me. I wish they’d seen it earlier.
To me, that’s what bummed me out about my talk show also. I felt that they didn’t give it a chance to figure out and see what it was about. I just know I wanted to work with my friends and figure out the best way to use them. I really thought that if they’d give me another season, that we would have found a way to click and make it work.
Michael: So you’re heading to New Jersey this week at the Count Basie in Red Bank on February 9th.
Wanda Sykes: I love playing the Count Basie. It’s a great room, I always have a good show and a great show there, so I’m excited. I used to live in Woodbridge to be closer to New York City, so I know New Jersey!
Michael: So what’s next for Wanda?
Wanda: Absolutely. I’m starting a movie now, with Camryn Manheim, Daryl Hannah, Brooke Shields, and Melanie Griffith, it’s called “The Hot Flashes”. We get our high school basketball team back together to challenge the current girls high school championship team to raise money to save our friend’s mobile breast cancer unit.
They’re in a poor town, it’s real touching and the characters are great. Right now we’re training to play basketball, and they’re all looking at me like “why are you here, you’re black, you should know how to do this.” But the way I’m playing, I think I need to check my roots, I really do, I need to get a genetic testing, I think I may be part Asian or something.
I start shooting that this month in New Orleans, which will be fun. I also did the voiceover for “Ice Age 4” which comes out in July. You may not see me in a a movie, but you certainly will hear me.
And touring! Working on the next stand-up special, working on a really big tour. Going to Australia, going all over the United States, and maybe even some dates in London! I’m definitely very excited.