Out standup and actor Wanda Sykes is having a resurgence both on TV and the stage.
Sykes is performing standup again, with extensive live national dates coming up this fall and winter. At a time when stand-up comedy seemed to be doomed by cancel culture (thank you, Louis CK, Dave Chappelle), the form has also been necessarily revived and reclaimed by queer comics who are prepared to do the work to reclaim and revive the form for a new age (hello, Hannah Gadsby and others). Sykes, 58, is a comedy veteran, beginning her career in 1987 when she performed for the first time in front of a live audience at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC.
At the time, Sykes worked at the National Security Agency and she continued to work at the NSA for five more years as she established her comedy career, with her big break coming as a writer for The Chris Rock Show. In 2003 she starred in her own sitcom, Wanda At Large and enjoyed a Comedy Central special and onwards for almost two more decades with numerous highlights including Curb Your Enthusiasm and Black-ish.
She’s also still a proud, righteous and visible champion for our community, getting behind LGBTQ+ causes such as Spirit Day.
And Variety recently reported that her sitcom The Upshaws was to be renewed for a third season on Netflix. The show is about a working class Black family in Indiana as it deals with everyday struggles. Sykes plays Lucretia Turner opposite Mike Epps and Kim Fields.
The sitcom is reminiscent of classic 1990s shows such as Roseanne and Friends, but with the issues of today. In real life Sykes is married to French national Alex Sykes (nee Niedbalski), with whom she is raising twins. Sykes recently posted a celebratory message to her wife on Instagram, noting their 14-year anniversary.
The Upshaws is available to watch now on Netflix.