Wanda Sykes


Tough audiences:
Drunk women
Red states
Curb Your Enthusiasm crowds

Wanda Sykes strides onstage at Seattle’s Moore Theatre as Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Shining Star” blares from the house speakers. The sold-out crowd is on its feet in a rafters-testing ovation. For the next ninety minutes, the three-time Emmy winner, resplendent in taupe calfskin blazer, jeans, and crystal drop earrings, slays with such laconic verities as

“I love getting older, because the older I get, the less I care. The words ‘I don’t give a fuck’ just fly out of my mouth. And if I’m not saying it, I’m thinking it.”

Sykes is in town to film an upcoming television special and DVD, the latest in a string of projects that have lent the forty-two-year-old Portsmouth, Virginia, native and onetime National Security Agency employee an air of pop-culture ubiquity. The past few years have seen her provide gridiron commentary (Inside the NFL), explore the inner workings of a whorehouse (Wanda Does It), foil Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), voice a bold cartoon skunk (Over the Hedge), and act alongside the likes of Jane Fonda, Uma Thurman, and Steve Carell. After writing her own book (Yeah, I Said It), Sykes also penned Esquire’s now-infamous “clit article” (“the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her clit”), in which it was impossible not to hear her deliciously staccato voice.

This conversation was conducted by phone from her home in Sherman Oaks, California.

—Litsa Dremousis


THE BELIEVER: For Over the Hedge, Steven Spielberg had all of you flown on his private jet for the publicity tour. Was there a moment when you thought, “Holy fuck!”? It seems like it would be surreal.

WANDA SYKES: I said that on the way, in the car, pulling up to the private airport. “Look at this shit! This is how these people roll!” They don’t go through the regular airport. They go through the private airport. And not just to the airport, but to the fucking jet. I got out of the car and I was on some carpet. Five steps on this carpet and I’m on this fucking plane. And I’m like, look at this. This is crazy. And I kind of wish I had brought a gun. Because that would have cool to fly with it.

BLVR: Just to say that you did it.

WS: I was like, I wish I had a gun and a kilo of coke right now. Just because I can. Spielberg has a DVD collection on the jet. And when they gave me the library list, I was like, wouldn’t it be funny if I open this and it’s all E.T. and one copy of The Color Purple?

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Litsa Dremousis’s work has appeared in many journals and magazines, including BlackBook, Nylon, Paper, Poets and Writers, and the Seattle Weekly. Her short story “The Cousinfucker” appears in Monkeybicycle’s upcoming comedy anthology. She is writing her first novel.

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