Sykes at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards
March 7, 1964 |
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
|Alma mater||Hampton University|
|Occupation||Actress, comedienne, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Dave Hall (m. 1991; div. 1998)
Alex Niedbalski (m. 2008)
Sometimes black people really want to hold onto our oppression – 'This is ours! This belongs to us.' You can't just talk about equality for somebody else. Let's pass it on. Let's pass it on to somebody else. At the end of the day, it is all about inequality.
It seems like when I first started, people got into comedy because they wanted to be good comedians.
A woman would pitch a joke. Nothing. Then a guy would pitch it and everybody would laugh.
Men are dogs. Men are dogs. We got to stop it. Men are not dogs. Uh-uh. Dogs are loyal.
I think it's because my comedy is in your face, and it comes from a place that's real.
I noticed recently, in the last few shows I did, that I'm starting to get people – not a large group, but quite a few people – who come to see me because they love Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I'm shy. I am. I mean, if I get around, you know, in a room of a bunch of people especially I – you know, I don't know or – it takes me a while to warm up. I'm – and the real me, I'm not as witty as, you know, as the comic Wanda. The comic, she's had time to work on some things.
And then also I think it's harder for women because comedy is so opposite of being ladylike.
It's hard to get fired from the government. You have to, like, kill people.
If I did a talk show, this would allow me to speak on what's happening at that moment. I can be current, and I get to flex my stand-up muscle but stay at home without doing the traveling.
Usually, there's nothing being thrown toward the stage or at me. Then I feel pretty good about it.
Don't bother me while I'm eating, or when I'm coming out of the crackhouse or something. Just let me get going.
Some government workers are dedicated and work hard, but most of them are just waiting to retire.
If something stinks, I say it stinks. But I try to massage it a little and not be as cutting, come behind it with a joke: Hey, I cut you deep, but now let me put a couple of stitches in you.
The government shouldn't be involved in this because it's very simple. If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then don't marry somebody of the same sex.
I have problems with YouTube and things like that, when you catch it mid production. If I'm doing a show and I'm working on a bit and someone's there with a phone, they record it and put it online – it's not the finished product.
I enjoy stand-up because it has the biggest reward: instant gratification. You can hear the people laughing.
If you're passionate about your work, it makes the people around you want to be involved too.
When I'm not on T.V. or working on a movie, I'm on the road doing stand-up. That's my roots.
My worlds collide. When one things happens, it just starts a domino effect – everything else goes on.
The first time onstage, a light went on. 'OK, this is my thing. I'm comfortable here. This is my thing.'
I watch Jay. I watch 'Letterman'. I flip back and forth between 'Conan' and 'Letterman', especially the top of the show for those guys.
It's easier to rip somebody to shreds while you're making them laugh.
Back then, I was doing more of my impression of what a comic is supposed to do.
I guess because of my act, people think that I say things they want to say, and that they can just come up and say anything to me.
I don't like doing the same material over and over again. It's not fun.
But I think funny and talent will always win out; I mean, of course there are hurdles, but I think if you're funny you will get over all of that.
But sometimes the women writers will pitch something and I'll hear it, but the men will keep talking.
If you feel like there's something out there that you're supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.
I don't understand why people really get upset about something that doesn't affect them at all.
It's not until you develop your own voice, your own persona onstage that you become your own comic, who you really are.
I work hard. The staff and crew see how much energy I put into this project, and it makes them step up.
It wasn't until I became more confident with myself and I put myself forward instead of the jokes; at first it was put the jokes out there and I'm just behind the jokes.
I really can't pinpoint the one moment when I said I want to be a comic.
I'm always thinking of stuff; I just don't sit down and write it. I come up with material more as I go along; if something funny happens, I'll make a note of it on my phone.