|Five Questions For.... Wanda Sykes
by Deborah Hinds
Flying a plane? Coaching a WNBA team? Starring in a movie with Jane
Fonda and J. Lo? In case you haven’t noticed, Wanda Sykes is
everywhere lately. Her unmistakable, confrontational comic tone and
timing have graced HBO’s The Chris Rock Show and Curb Your
Enthusiasm, Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, and currently, her own
reality show on Comedy Central, Wanda
Does It, where she takes on all sorts of
jobs outside the entertainment
business. On stage and in person, she’s
quick witted, irreverent, and hilarious.
Recently Sykes talked about her
growing list of multiple roles, including
comedian, actress, and author.
1. Some folks first became familiar
with your comedy via your role on
“The Chris Rock Show.
How did that opportunity come about?
I did stand-up around the city (New York) and so did Chris and we
would bump into each other and he thought I was funny. Then when
he was getting ready to do Bring the Pain (HBO Special), I opened for
him at Caroline’s (in New York). And (later) when he got The Chris
Rock Show, I got a call asking if I wanted to submit some writing
samples. I did and I got the job. (Sykes went from being a writer on
the show to being a permanent fixture in several of the show’s
2. How did you come up with the Gladys Murphy character on
They (the show’s creators) sent me a packet of different scenarios,
so I picked out some that I thought I could have some fun with. As
far as the character—obviously, she’s nuts. I just went with the voice
and kind of fell into it.
3. Tell us a bit about the character, Ruby, that you play in the
upcoming film Monster-In-Law?
Ruby is Viola’s (Jane Fonda’s character’s) personal assistant. Viola is
like this ‘Barbara Walters’ character. Ruby loves to travel, go to fancy
parties, meet dignitaries; loves all the perks that go along with being
Viola’s assistant. Viola is at the end of her career and now her son is
getting married and it’s like everything is being taken away from her,
including her son. So she does all this crazy stuff to break up her son
and Charlie (Jennifer Lopez’ character). Ruby’s kind of standing by
the sidelines calling fouls, telling her when she’s wrong, and basically
trying not to let her kill the girl.
4. I read in recent interview that your least favorite job on (your
show)Wanda Does It was being a Chinese fast food chef. What
has been your most favorite job so far?
Probably coaching (WNBA team) the L.A. Sparks because I’m a fan of
the WNBA, and it was very cool how much cooperation we got from
them. That was a lot of fun—being on the bench, going to the
practice, stuff like that. The craziest thing (on the show) definitely
was being at the Chicken Ranch (the brothel).
5. Regarding your new book (Yeah, I Said It), do you have any
plans to do an audio version of it?
I probably will end up doing an audio version, I guess.
I ask because in reading some of the reviews (of the book) on
Amazon.com, some people said they wanted to hear you saying
the stuff in the book.
Well, then they gotta come see me live. Matter of fact, hell no, I’m not
doing an audio version—come see me live.
Wanda Sykes new book, Yeah, I Said It is currently available in
hardcover. Her live show, The Cotton T-Shirt Tour, includes
appearances throughout the US. Tickets are available at