Wanda Sykes is gearing up for her latest Netflix special. The star sat down with Variety Magazine to discuss the industry, her peers and her growth as a comedian.
The special, I’m An Entertainer, has been in the works since 2019, but the star had to scrap most of her material that was written prior to 2020. She began to work on new material inspired by the events of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. This ushered in her era of becoming a “woke comedian.” Sykes says that the title others have given her doesn’t phase her.
“What makes me laugh is that they say that like it’s an insult: ‘Oh, they’re woke.’ Thank you! Yeah, I read some stuff from time to time. Yeah, I know a few things,” Sykes says. ” It’s not an insult at all. I mean, George Carlin, he was woke. Richard Pryor, woke. Bill Hicks, woke. It’s almost like they’re angry that we’re evolving. It’s sad, really. “
Sykes even touched on her marriage with her wife, Alex Sykes, in 2020. The comedian recalls the discussions about race being tough. “We had some rough moments,” she says. [Alex is] trying to understand what’s going on, but she doesn’t know a lot of the history behind it in this country. It was just very frustrating for me, trying to talk about it. And then it was hard for her, because she did start to see it and she was like, ‘Oh, my God, I didn’t even realize that I do these things.’ I can hear her talking to her friends — you know, her little Frenchy friends — about privilege. It’s just so funny, because I hear her friends, like, ‘Of course, Alex, what did you think?!'”
I’m An Entertainer, is available now only on Netflix.