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Happy Birthday to Wanda Sykes

Marion Charatan

Posted on March 7, 2021 13:38

2 users

The legendary comedian celebrated her 57th birthday and is funnier than ever!

Wanda Sykes celebrated her 57th birthday on March 7. She was named "one of the 25 funniest people in America" by Entertainment Today magazine in 2004 and that accolade holds up. The comedian, writer, and actress is multitalented and hilarious. 

Early success came from being a writer for The Chris Rock Show, for which Sykes garnered a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. The comedian knew Rock because she was his opening act at Caroline's Comedy Club in NY. Sitcom roles include CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006–2010), HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm (2001–2011), and ABC's Black-ish (2015–).

Black-ish, also starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Edwards, and Laurence Fishburne, is about a black upper-middle-class family housed in a mostly white neighborhood and how living there affects them. The challenge of the parents, Andre (Dre) and Rainbow Johnson, played by Anderson and Ross, is to maintain equilibrium in an insular world that is not always welcoming. 

Sykes was cast for a recurring role in 2015. She plays Daphne Lido, the ex-wife of Dre's boss, who inherited half ownership of the company Dre works at. It was brilliant to hire Wanda Sykes. Her personality is tailor-made to morph into Daphne Lido, who throws out sharp-tongued one-liners like Sykes. There are similarities between the women but contrasts, too. In 2018, Sykes received her ninth Emmy nomination for the role.

Wanda Sykes came out as gay years ago and is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ movement and racial equality. At 44, back in 2008, Sykes revealed she was gay at a same-sex marriage rally in Las Vegas. Just before her public confession, she had married her wife Alex, a white French woman. The two share twins, Olivia Lou and Lucas Claude, now almost 13. For all intents and purposes, the family appears to be happy and balanced.

The comedian previously had a traditional marriage to a music producer from 1991-1998. Sykes came from conventional roots - her mother was a banker, her father was a US Army Colonel at the Pentagon, and she has a brother Harry. Although the family she grew up in was upwardly mobile, Sykes relates well to underdogs and has certainly struggled in her own right. Sykes undoubtedly has experienced both antigay and racist backlash, especially being part of an interracial lesbian union.

Still, she has turned any angst or sadness she has into brilliant humor. I had the pleasure of seeing Sykes perform twice in Seattle and I'd love to see her again. Standup is a unique talent and Wanda Sykes is a master of the art. Her facial expressions and sense of timing are nothing short of extraordinary. 

Wanda Sykes is not only a comedian: she is inspirational, too. Here's a quote on facing challenges: “I’m here today because I refused to be unhappy. I took a chance.” The comedian bravely overcame breast cancer in 2011. 

Happiest of Birthdays to an original and a true survivor!

Marion Charatan

Posted on March 7, 2021 13:38

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