Out actor, comedian and Emmy Award-winning writer Wanda Sykes was feeling “quite relieved” today, following President Barack Obama’s re-election last night.
“It’s nice to know that we have a president in the White House and not the robot (Mitt Romney),” she joked. “I was a little nervous.”
Sykes said she was concerned, in the event of a Romney victory, how America would maintain “the robot.”
“Are we going to oil the robot, does the robot have to power down, how long does it take you to wind the robot up if there’s a crisis?” she asked.
The 48-year-old Sykes is famous for such trenchant humor. She sparked controversy for her hilariously scathing performance at the 2009 White House Correspondents’ dinner. Right-wing pundits were outraged by her joke that Rush Limbaugh could have been the 20th hijacker on 9/11, but he was too strung out on Oxycontin to make his flight.
“People on the right think I’m some loud-mouthed black dyke,” Sykes said.
But her remarks at the dinner “definitely put me on a bigger platform,” she added. “People around the world watched the correspondents’ dinner, so now more people are aware of who I am.”
For many people, particularly LGBT people, Sykes has become a household name. She was a performer as well as a member of the Emmy-winning writing team on “The Chris Rock Show.” She’s starred in specials on HBO and Comedy Central, enjoyed a successful career in films and had recurring roles in “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
She also authored the 2004 book “Yeah, I Said It.”
In addition to entertaining, politics comes naturally to Sykes, who grew up in a political household in the Maryland suburbs of metropolitan Washington, D.C. Her father was a corporal in the Army who served at the Pentagon.
“Politics was just part of our life,” Sykes said.
Although she’s a staunch Obama supporter, Sykes described herself as an independent voter who has “voted across the board in some local elections.”
Sykes said not to expect an exclusive focus on political humor when her current stand-up tour stops at The Riverside in Milwaukee at on Nov. 10 for one night only. Her unusual life has provided her with lots of other material, she said.
“I’m married to a French woman, I have white babies, I have plenty to talk about,” she explained. “(In my home) we’ve got a clash of culture, language, everything – even age. My wife is 10 years younger. We have a really good time over here. And we drink a lot.”
In 2008, Sykes married Alex Sykes, a French woman introduced to her by a friend two years earlier on Fire Island. Their wedding was held in California, before voters there passed a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
An outspoken equality advocate, Sykes appears frequently at Pride events and LGBT fundraisers throughout the country. Her June 11, 2008, performance at Milwaukee PrideFest was a love fest, with droves of fans standing in the rain to laugh and shout, “I love you, Wanda.”
Prior to yesterday’s election, Sykes warmed up the nation’s LGBT electorate with a couple of political specials for LOGO television titled “NewNowNext.” In the second broadcast, which aired the night before Election Day, she issued a Sykes-style challenge to women voters who failed to support Obama: “Don’t bitch and whine later when a villain in a black mustache is tying you down to an ultrasound table,” she threatened.
Sykes said she was inspired by Tammy Baldwin’s historic U.S. Senate victory in Wisconsin.
“How beautiful is that? I’m so proud of you guys. That says a lot to me,” she said. “We’re gaining ground here. Were putting race, gender, sexuality aside and just going with the person, and you can’t ask for more than that. It’s a beautiful thing.”