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LGBT History Month profile: Actress and Comedian Wanda Sykes

via Equality Forum
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wanda Sykes, Comedian, Actress
b. March 7, 1964

“They pissed off the wrong group of people. Instead of having gay marriage in California, we’re going to get it across the country.”

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes is an Emmy Award-winning comedian and actor praised for being one of the most entertaining women of her generation. She was the first African-American and first openly gay master of ceremonies for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Sykes was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and raised in the Washington, D.C., area. Her father, an Army colonel, worked in the Pentagon; her mother worked as a bank manager. At a young age, Sykes discovered her passion for making people laugh. She was outspoken and entertaining in high school. In 1986, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Hampton University and began working for the National Security Agency (NSA).

Sykes’s stand-up career began spontaneously at a talent showcase. She quickly made close friends in the comedy world, including rising star Chris Rock. She was a performer and writer for “The Chris Rock Show” and won the 1999 Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy special. In 2002, Sykes won her second Emmy for her work on “Inside the NFL.”

In 2003, Sykes launched her first television show, “Wanda at Large.” On the show, she played Wanda Hawkins, an unsuccessful stand-up comic hired to be a correspondent on a political talk show. Sykes acknowledged, “Wanda Hawkins is basically me personified. We have the same attitude, the same point of view—pointing out hypocrisies in the way we see the world.”

Sykes has starred in “Wanda Does It,” “The Wanda Sykes Show” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” HBO has produced two Wanda Sykes comedy specials, “Sick & Tired” (2006) and “I’ma Be Me” (2009).

Sykes appeared in the feature films “Evan Almighty,” “Monster-In-Law” and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” and provided the voice for characters in the animated films “Over The Hedge” and “The Barnyard.” Her first book, “Yeah, I Said It,” is a collection of comedic essays on current events, family and life.

In 2008, Sykes came out when she announced her own marriage while speaking at a rally for gay marriage. She lives in California with her wife, Alex, and their twins, Lucas and Olivia.

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life

18 more reader comments:

  1. LOVE Wanda Sykes, she’s hilarious.

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:02pm
  2. Awesome news! She is one funny lady : )

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:06pm
  3. she fuckin kills me!! very funny she is!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:06pm
  4. I love her such much! <3

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:07pm
  5. Love her to death…fucking hilarious! :-)

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:07pm
  6. Love me some Wanda shes the funniest and definatly and icon the world over. Shes the greatest.

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:07pm
  7. keep up the good work wanda we love you girl

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:26pm
  8. Sooo funny

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 4:29pm
  9. I saw her in concert… she is just fabulous!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 5:26pm
  10. Lovin me some Wanda!

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 6:21pm
  11. love ya, Wanda!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 6:38pm
  12. One of my greatest role models XD

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 7:47pm
  13. Go Wanda I love her! She is solo funny

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 8:21pm
  14. <3 Wanda!She's got it all-smart,funny and smokin' hot!!!

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 10:44pm
  15. I have a suggestion for a profile. James Randi. He is a brilliant man and very respected. He came out as gay last year at the age of 81, I believe. His intellect is profoundly inspiring. If you haven’t heard of him I recommend doing some research. You won’t be disappointed.

    Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 10:59pm
  16. love u!!

    Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 11:38am
  17. love Wanda sykes!

    Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 9:45pm
  18. Ah I love her! She’s hilarious

    Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:02am