Q&A: Wanda Sykes

A&E talks with Wanda Sykes about her career, her family and the NFL.

Griffin Fillipitch

 

 

What: Wanda Sykes

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

When: 8 p.m., Friday

Cost: $39.75-$59.75

 

Though shows bearing her name have been commercially unsuccessful, Wanda Sykes has been a fixture of television and film for the past 15 years. Roles on “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” have kept her well within the national consciousness and her comedy has earned her several Emmy Awards.

Sykes publicly came out in 2008 and is now married with two children. A&E caught up with Sykes on Tuesday morning.

 

You used to be an NFL correspondent for HBO.

 

Yeah, I did stuff for that show “Inside the NFL.” That was years ago. I loved doing it. We were kind of under-the-radar, and I was able to do anything. We had all access. And then once the league called to find out what we were doing, mad that we were kind of making fun of them. They cracked down and made it so they had to approve everything first and all that. I was like, “I’m not doing this [expletive],” and I stopped. It wasn’t fun anymore.
 

Did you watch the Packers-Seahawks game last night?

 

No, I can’t watch with the referee situation they’ve got going on right now. I can’t watch it. It’s too frustrating. I love football. It’s just ridiculous. It’s not fair to the players, and it’s definitely not fair to the fans. They’re giving us such an inferior product. So on Sunday I’d had enough. When they get the refs back I’ll watch. I’ve had enough.
 

Is that something you’d talk about on stage? How topical is your comedy?

 

There’s a little bit of stuff about the upcoming election. Then a lot is just what’s going on with me and my life. Family stuff. I’ve got kids, so I talk about them a lot. They’ve pretty much taken over my life. It’s just like a snapshot of what’s going on with me.
 

You recently had your own late night show, “The Wanda Sykes Show.” What was that like?

 

I was still doing “The New Adventures of Old Christine” at the same time. It was a tough schedule. It was pretty hard. But I had a good time doing it, and it was fun trying to figure some stuff out. FOX got over it pretty quick though. I think they probably did me a favor canceling it. It was a lot of work.

 

Would you do a show like that again?
 

I love doing TV. I’m sure I’ll be back doing something.

 

You’ve had a recurring role on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

 

I think it was the second season I started doing things on that show. It’s all improv, so I have a great time doing it. I never know what the show is gonna be about until I actually get there.

 

Gay marriage has been the topic of some of your most popular bits. Do you still talk about it on stage?

 

Yes, I do. I’m married and have kids, so it’s just part of my act now. It’s what my life is. I don’t have to do a whole bit on it, it’s just my life. It’s more of talking about my day-to-day life instead of going, “Hey, gay marriage …” It’s my reality. I can’t help but bring it up.

 

Are you interested in sending a message as well as being funny?

 

Comedy is my main objective. I like to talk about things that concern me. I can combine it, but I never say “I have to have a really funny bit on this” and then write that way. I just go by what’s funny. I don’t get on stage to preach, it’s to make people laugh.