Notable for starring in knee-slapper films such as Monster-in-Law opposite Jane Fonda and TV comedies such as The New Adventures of Old Christine opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes certainly has the humorous sidekick role down. If it’s her hilarious one-liners or funny jabs at the protagonist you enjoy, you’re in luck! Sykes will take the stage with her standup tomorrow and Saturday at The Mirage, and tickets are discounted 25 percent.
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The past few years have been exciting ones for the comic. Shortly after her wife gave birth to twins, the four-time Emmy Award winner performed at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner for President Obama. Currently touring the U.S., Sykes is flanking her Las Vegas dates with appearances on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
But before her limited Strip-side engagement, we caught up with the comedienne about her recent happenings, future projects and what she loves (and hates) about coming to The Entertainment Capital of the World.
Mark Adams: I’ve read that you’re a big fan of Las Vegas. What do you like to do here when you have free time?
Wanda Sykes: Well, I love to go on long hikes at Red Rock and (laughs) … come on, man! What do you do in Vegas? You drink and gamble! That’s the whole thing, drinking and gambling.
MA: What’s your least favorite thing about Las Vegas?
WS: I don’t know if I have a least favorite thing. Sometimes the traffic on The Strip, but that doesn’t even bother me because I’m not in it. Maybe the whole buffet thing. People just need to stop, you know? You can’t just let people run free with food. We need to be done with the buffet thing. Or at least get your hand stamped and one trip to the buffet, that’s it. The whole buffet thing bugs me.
They need to have a buffet at the bar, that’s what they need to do, you know? Why don’t they treat the bar like that? You pay one price and you … go back as much as you want. You can drink and drink until you pass out. Just sayin,’ why should the fatties have all the fun? Why should they get a deal?
MA: You have countless awards and accolades to your name, which one means the most to you and why?
WS: Maybe the first one I got, which is the Emmy for writing on The Chris Rock Show. It’s the first one, and I remember that moment, when they called The Chris Rock Show and all of us ran up onstage. You know, I’m up there with all these guys. It just mean a lot, it was really cool.
MA: What do you love most about standup comedy?
WS: I love it because it still scares me. I still have anxiety before the show and the butterflies … I love that. As soon as you get the first laugh, it all kind of goes away. It’s the live show, working without a net. I just love that.
MA: What is your favorite subject to talk about when performing standup?
WS: Me! Anything about me!
MA: Anything you won’t touch?
WS: Not really. If I think it’s funny, then I’ll share it. I’ll tell you. But I’m not mean-spirited. … What I just said about the fatties getting a break, that’s as mean as I would get.
MA: I saw that you recently starred in your first-ever musical as Ms. Hannigan in Annie. What was that like?
WS: I really enjoyed it. I really thought those kids, those little girls, were going to get on my nerves by the end of the run. I was like, “Please don’t let me smack these kids, please don’t let me smack these kids.” But I loved them, they were a lot of fun, and Tori Heinlein, who plays Annie, she was amazing. To me that was the best of both worlds, because I got to be live in front of an audience, you know, there’s no edit, there’s no cut, no ‘let’s try it again.’ It was like doing standup, but I got to work with a cast, and that was really cool.
MA: I had no clue until doing my research that you’re a mother of twins. How has that affected your career, and what do you do to overcome the challenges?
WS: Duct tape. It works wonders. Yeah, you just put a little duct tape on. You know, you tell them don’t touch something and, “Oh, you want to touch that? Alright, OK, here you go. Now you’re going to touch it all day. Here’s your duct tape.”
No, fortunately, the kids are great, and we also have some help because we both work. … It’s been very rewarding, it’s been a lot work, a lot of work, but you know, they’ve been great. And it’s funny how things happen. I was working like crazy last year because I was doing the Fox show and Old Christine. And, you know, both of those shows got canceled, so I was able to be home this past year or season or whatever and really got to bond with the kids, and they’re great. Now, I’m like “Mommy needs a play date. It’s time for me to get on the road and get out of here.” But like I said, it’s been great.
MA: Two infants must be a handful! Any funny stories from your adventures in parenting?
WS: It’s a boy and a girl, and they’re starting to bond. At first, I didn’t even think they knew that the other one existed. They would kind of look at each other like, “Who the hell is that?” It was not that immediate. Now they call each other, I don’t know what they’re saying, but she calls him khaki for some reason, and he just calls her blurbeluh. Seriously, it’s always blurbeluh? And she knows he’s talking to her. He takes everything that she has, and she cries, and she knows it works. They’re just starting that plot to kill us both (laughs).
MA: The Wanda Sykes Show was entertaining but was canceled somewhat abruptly. Can we maybe look forward to something similar, or in a different format, soon?
WS: Well I don’t think so, will there be another Wanda Sykes Show -- you know, probably. But not any time soon, I don’t think. It’s funny, you’re the fourth person who asked me like, “Is it coming back on another network?” I guess there’s a rumor out there, but it’s not.
MA: What’s next for Wanda Sykes? What projects are you working on now?
WS: I’m working on Ice Age 4, doing voiceover work, and now I’m getting back on the road, doing standup and working toward another special.