Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wanda Sykes Comedy Show Review

Wanda Sykes delighted a near sell-out crowd at Strathmore

Welcome Home!

It didn't take long for Keith Robinson to turn the Music Center at Strathmore on its ear last night. Wanda Sykes was coming soon; and the irreverent Mr. Robinson had to get the house ready. "Don't come here being sensitive," repeated Robinson during a naughty, but sparkling 25-minute opening set. While Sykes certainly never shies away from an audience, her former announcer and sidekick on Fox's The Wanda Sykes Show takes joy in attacking it. "Let the purse go!" "Where are your fu*king socks?" No one in the first few rows appeared to be off limits; although to be fair, Robinson warned, "I am drunk as sh*t right now." Buckle your seat belts: We may be in for a bumpy ride.

The ride may have been a little bumpy, but last night's Wanda Sykes show was downright entertaining (and hilarious at times.) Robinson set the tone, declaring "I'm a situational racist," before tackling Ray Rice, gun control, pedophilia and even fighting with his baby's mother, "Me and my son's mom fought nine times. My record is 2-7." Very funny. He continued to push the envelope, adding, that he doesn't like Indians in customer service; but loves 'em in a spelling bee." Politically incorrect, for sure; but he won the crowd over early, and spared headliner Sykes the chore of warming up a near full house. As far as opening acts go, color me impressed.

Sykes took the stage, and immediately drove the show to the next level. Her act is effortless, polished and full of laughs. She started off with some travel jokes, likening flying to some kind of "social experiment," before landing in a prison-like hotel where she had to remind us that, "the Boston Strangler stayed here, is not a selling point."

Watching Wanda in action is akin to "hanging out" in her living room... a really BIG living room. Like Robinson, no subject is taboo. Race (indirectly) "Poor Paula Deen. She's been beaten down to cruises," and race (directly) where she slips into an editorial regarding the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. The latter goes on and on, and she comes close to losing a good many in the crowd; but thankfully, slips back into funny-mode with an observation about the First Lady, "You got a fat kid? Don't take her around Michelle Obama."

Before you get the impression that Sykes is mean-spirited (she's not) keep in mind, she pokes fun at herself with equal abandon. She's old (just turned 50) and reminds us that, "When you're 50, a surprise getaway feels like a kidnapping." She even asks, "Am I too old for an Amber alert?" Sex is on the table too... sorta. "I'm 50. Sex is like swimming: You have to wait two hours." All this before introducing us to Esther... AKA her extra roll/tummy. How can you not love her?

Strathmore has hosted some brilliant female comedians of late (Lisa LampanelliLily Tomlin and of course, the Queen herself... Joan Rivers) and continues the trend with Sykes. My motto used to be, "Have fork, will travel." If Strathmore keeps this up, I may have to change it to, "Have funny bone, will laugh." Thanks for the chuckles.