Wanda Yvette Sykes is an American stand-up comedian, actress, and writer.

In October 2008, Sykes appeared in a television ad for the Think Before You Speak Campaign, an advertising campaign by GLSEN aimed at curbing homophobic slang in youth communities. In the 30-second spot, she uses humor to scold a teenager for saying “that’s so gay” when he really means “that is so bad”. In March 2009, Sykes became the host of a late-night talk show on Saturdays on Fox, The Wanda Sykes Show which was scheduled to premiere November 7, 2009. In April 2009, she was named in Out magazine’s “Annual Power 50 List”, landing at number 35.

In May 2009, Sykes was the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, becoming both the first African-American woman and the first openly LGBT person to get the role. Cedric the Entertainer was the first African American to become the featured entertainer in 2005. At this event, Sykes made controversial headlines as she responded to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh‘s comments regarding President Barack Obama. Limbaugh, in reference to Obama’s presidential agenda, had said “I hope he fails”. In response, Sykes quipped: “I hope his [Limbaugh’s] kidneys fail, how ’bout that? Needs a little waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

Her second comedy special, Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me premiered on HBO in October 2009. November 2009 saw the premiere of The Wanda Sykes Show, which starts with a monologue and continues with a panel discussion in a similar format to Bill Maher‘s shows Real Time with Bill Maher and Politically Incorrect. She appeared as Miss Hannigan in a professional theatre production of Annie at The Media Theatre in Media, PA, a suburb southwest of Philadelphia. In her first appearance in a musical, she played the role from November 23 to December 12, 2010, and again from January 12 to 23, 2011.

She voices the Witch in the Bubble Guppies episode “Bubble Puppy’s Fin-tastic Fairlytale Adventure”.In 2012, Sykes played the role of Granny in Blue Sky Studios’ Ice Age: Continental Drift. In 2016, she returned to the role in Ice Age: Collision Course. In May 2013, Sykes was a featured entertainer at Olivia Travel‘s 40th anniversary Music & Comedy Festival in Punta CanaDominican Republic. In 2013, Sykes appeared in eight episodes of Amazon’s Alpha House, a political comedy series written by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. Sykes plays Rosalyn DuPeche, a Democratic Senator from Illinois and the next-door neighbor of four Republican senators living together in a house on Capitol Hill.

Sykes also appeared in Season Two, which became available in October 2014. The series was canceled after the second season. In 2018, Sykes became the head writer for the revived tenth season of Roseanne. This attracted attention due to Roseanne’s far-right and conspiratorial views. Sykes co-hosted the 94th Academy Awards with Regina Hall and Amy Schumer on March 27, 2022.


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