The comedian and ‘Alpha House’ star brings her trademark wit to Four Winds Casino.
Wanda Sykes’ voice is almost as recognizable as the comedian herself: Her darkly witty delivery was a scene-stealer in films like “Rio” and “Over the Hedge” and regularly brings audiences to their feet during her hilarious stand-up routines. While on a break from filming the Amazon Prime show “Alpha House,” in which she stars alongside John Goodman, Sykes will perform at Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan April 12.
I took the traditional path to college and got a regular job working for the National Security Agency [in Washington, D.C.]. It was there that I said, ‘Boy, I’m pretty bored — I’m sure there’s something else I should be doing.’ One of the radio stations was sponsoring a talent show and comedy was a category, so I said, ‘I should write some jokes and see if I can get on this talent show.’ And I did, and fell in love with it.
‘Alpha House’ is about a group of Republican senators who share a house in D.C. [My character] is friends with one of the senators who owns the house; I live next door to him but am also a Democrat, so it’s really funny. I’m having a blast doing it.
Moms Mabley was really influential on me; [when I was] a kid, she was pretty much the main one as far as African-American women on stage doing stand-up comedy, so she always stayed with me. As I got older, Whoopi Goldberg was big for me, too. When you see someone else that looks like you doing it, it makes it more tangible.
[I test my jokes out on] the audience. Comics hate when you’re trying to sneak in and try out a joke on each other. It’s like, ‘Did you just test a joke on me?’ We get annoyed with that. [After a show] I’ll say [to opening act Keith Robinson], ‘I tried this joke tonight but it’s missing something,’ and we’ll talk about it. So as long as you come clean — but you just can’t sneak it in.
Who makes me star-struck? Wow, I would say [‘Monster-in-Law’ co-star] Jane Fonda, but she made that go away so quickly because she was just so gracious. George Clooney is the same way — you’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ and then he starts talking and it just kind of goes away.
Catch Sykes at Four Winds Casino (11111 Wilson, New Buffalo, Mich.) April 12 at 9 p.m. Visit Fourwindscasino.com for tickets.