Four-time Emmy award-winning comedian, actor, writer, producer and DC-area native Wanda Sykes returned to The Warner Theatre last weekend with her signature sarcastic and straight-to-the-point comedy, diving right into a variety of social, political and personal topics in her sold-out show, including same-sex marriage, gun control and being a mom to a 6-year-old fraternal twins.
Former Star Search finalist, announcer and sidekick on The Wanda Sykes Show, Keith Robinson opened the show by revving up the full capacity theater for about 30 minutes, unafraid to tackle touchy race-based issues and stereotypes. Everything and everyone was fair game for Robinson, especially for those audience members who sat near the front of the stage.
After Robinson’s energetic set, which garnered a standing ovation from many of the enthusiastic and notably diverse crowd, Sykes bolted on stage, as a woman in the audience shouts: “I love you, Wanda!” Without any hesitation, Sykes immediately replies, “I love you, too!”
With palpable excitement in the air, Sykes launched at full throttle, outlining her racial background, including attending a historically black college and joining a black sorority, she noted, however, that her wife, Alex, is white and French, and their children have blond hair and blue eyes.
“I’m a black woman, married to a white, French lady, and I’ve got two white babies,” Sykes said. “I’m a minority in my own home… The bottom line is: I take care of white people!” She added, “I get up in the morning, I make my tea, and I look around and think, how did all these white people get in my house?”
Her uneasiness is intensified, she said, by how her kids address her. As a toddler, her daughter, Olivia, could not quite manage to say “mommy”; it came out as “mammy,” which now, as a first-grader, has evolved from “mommy-boo” into “mom-boo.”
“I sound like a Jungle Book character!” Sykes snarled. “You know what kind of looks I get from other black people when I’m shopping in Trader Joe’s and Olivia runs up and says, ‘Mom-boo, can we get this?’”
Caring for two young children, who call her “mammy” and “mom-boo”, she revealed, sometimes leaves her feeling like she starring in a real-life version of the movie, “The Help.”
Growing older was another recurring subject in her approximately 85-minute set.
“When you’re in your 50s, a surprise getaway feels like a kidnapping,” she said. “I’m over 50. I’ve got prescriptions.”
Aside from jokes, including an uproarious one about needing at least two pairs of panties whenever she goes away for an overnight getaway (“What if I sneeze?”), Sykes also talks about being a breast-cancer survivor whose early-stage tumor was discovered during breast-reduction surgery. She opted for the surgery, she said, because her previously ample bosom caused problems: “I’d be reaching for something on the top shelf and my breasts were knocking over everything on the lower shelves.”
Now, however, she is a 51-year-old woman with breasts that behave like they are 21. “They have an agenda,” she confided. Whenever she is in a bar, enjoying a grown-up cocktail, she confessed, her new breasts are urging her to drink like a college girl, chanting, “Shots! Shots! Shots!”
Brash and bawdy, Sykes is a consummate, highly intuitive storyteller who calls out the absurdities of modern life with unapologetic insight and smart wit, but in a relatable and familiar way that connects to the audience. Judging from the instantaneous standing ovation and thunderous applause at the conclusion of her performance on Saturday night, Sykes, once again, hit a home run with her old DC stomping ground.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, with no intermission.