Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wanda Sykes interviewed by Judy Gold at 92Y

Wanda Sykes
(photo: Malcolm Jason Low)

If the delightful, Emmy-winning Wanda Sykes were to be offered Jon Stewart's Daily Show, would she take it?

After all, wouldn't it be great to have a woman--and, way better still, an out, activist lesbian of color--running with the late-night wolves?

Wanda Sykes
(photo: Eva Yaa Asantewaa)
With Judy Gold at right, Wanda Sykes greets fans at 92Y.
(photo: Malcolm Jason Low)

The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams, touted all over social media as a top choice, has recently asserted that she does not want this challenge. A nation--well, a nation of women of color--might well turn their lonely eyes to Sykes who, for a short time, did host her own late-night talk show on Fox.

She's not saying yes. But she's not exactly saying no. At least, during her 92Y conversation last night with Emmy-winning colleague Judy Gold, she seemed to keep a fan's hope alive.

"How can you follow Jon Stewart? He was so good," Sykes first responded to the question. "Who knows?"

After citing family priorities, though, she added, "But if they asked me, how could you not?"

Pay attention to that last sentence. "But If they asked me" is far from a casual line with this particular talent. As Sykes outlined her pathway in the entertainment business--as multifaceted comedy writer and performer--it became clear that she's consistently approached and invited by folks like Chris Rock and Larry David who know she's right for their projects. Listening carefully to Sykes's history, Gold noted, with a flicker of envy and shade, that Sykes seems to never have had to audition for a part. The industry knows her worth. Even the Obamas know her worth, tapping her in 2009 to be the featured entertainer at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner--a first for a Black woman or anyone queer.

Gratitude is a big operating principle for Sykes, as it should be, given the blossoming of her career, love life and family life as wife to Alex and co-mom to their twins. If truth be told here, Sykes has got to be one of the luckiest people in showbiz.

Although it might be inscribed "in the US Constitution," as the two comics joked, that late-night talk shows have to hosted by white men, surely it's time for a new amendment to that constitution.

Visit Wanda Sykes's Web site here, and Gold's site here.

Keep up with happenings at 92Y by clicking here.

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