Wanda Sykes not afraid of tough topics in standup
|Comedian Wanda Sykes will bring her standup show to the Akron Civic Theatre Sept. 21.|
|Photo by Roger Erickson|
“It all started with having one goal, really, and that was to be a funny standup comic,” she said. “So I’m doing that, but from having that one goal and focus, all these other opportunities popped up. It’s not like I started out to get a TV show. The TV shows and the movies just came to me. It’s been a great experience.”
Sykes will return to her standup roots Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre. The Virginia native, who now lives in Los Angeles, thinks she may have been in Akron one other time, years ago, but her memory is a little fuzzy.
“I remember a big tire, but maybe I’m thinking of another city with a big donut,” she said.
While Sykes loves performing in front of an audience, her current work schedule includes two specials for the Logo cable network about the current election season. The first “NewNowNext Vote with Wanda Sykes” aired Sept. 10.
“I want to cut through the spin and get the facts out there,” she said of the specials, which look at the issues from the perspective of the gay community. “I want to bring in experts and economists and historians and break it down. I want to be informative but, of course, funny, too.”
Sykes said even though she’s politically active and a supporter of President Barack Obama, she said she doesn’t necessarily plan to focus on politics in her Akron appearance.
“People are kind of stressed out with all this election stuff,” she said. “They want to come there to laugh. I support President Obama, but I’m aware I have quite a few Republican fans. The political stuff I do is funny, but I’m not trying to turn it into a political rally at all. It’s more about the political process than it is about the candidates.”
One thing that has made its way into Sykes’ act is her brush with breast cancer a year ago. She ended up getting a double mastectomy.
“Cancer is funny, come on!” she said. “Honestly, I do talk about it because I want people to get checked and stay on top of their health. I do talk about it because hopefully it will make it less scary for someone to think about going to get checked. If you get bad news, you want to get it as early as possible.”
She also brings up her children, 3-year-old twins that she and her wife are raising.
“They are definitely in my standup,” she said. “They are taking up so much of my time I’m going to make them pay for it.”
Sykes’ other recent projects included appearing as one of the voices in “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” She also appeared as herself in more than a dozen episodes of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as well as on CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Sykes spent five years as a performer and writer on HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show,” for which she earned an Emmy in 1999 for outstanding writing. She also won Emmys for her work on “Inside the NFL.”
This past year, Sykes also tackled a new entertainment area: musical theater. She played Miss Hannigan in a production of “Annie” in Philadelphia.
“I had such a good time doing that,” she said. “I love theater. I have so many friends who do it, and I said I want to give it a shot. I enjoyed it — it was like doing standup but with other people.”
Tickets for Sykes’ show are $45 to $55 and are available at the Civic Box Office, 182 S. Main St., or by calling 330-253-2488. For more information, go to www.akroncivic.com.
More Entertainment News
Calendar of Events
- Spring Nature Hikes - 5/22/2013
- Summit Children’s Choir - 5/22/2013
- “Calamity Jane” - 5/23/2013
- Book Sale and Bizarre Bazaar - 5/25/2013
- Art Sale - 5/25/2013