I love Wanda Sykes. She can be gritty. She can be cute. She does things on her own terms and she doesn’t hold back when she is on stage, and, of course, she can be seriously funny. In short, I went to the Uptown Theatre to see one of my favorite comedians, and I left the theater thinking how her opening act, Keith Robinson totally stole the show.
While Wanda’s act was funny, to be sure, the underlying theme of middle-age female incontinence and other urine-based humor began to wear thin after a while. The first few bits she threw out there had the whole place in stitches, because, you know, pee and pee-related issues are inherently humorous, but after 15 minutes, or so, the men in the audience had grown noticeably quiet. After a half hour, it was hard not to imagine how damp the theater seats were getting from the group of women seated behind (uphill!!!) me who would repeatedly and loudly commiserate with Wanda’s piddle puns.
On the other hand, former Star Search finalist (yeah, I did my research) Keith Robinson came out at full throttle and remained there for the duration of his set, keeping the uproarious laughter going until the whole theater was about to have stroke. Robinson was full of energy, full of quick-witted zingers, and unafraid to tackle touchy race-based issues and stereotypes in front of the near-capacity and surprisingly racially diverse crowd. Everything and everyone was fair game for Robinson, and the audience ate it up.
As always with shows at the Uptown, it almost doesn’t matter who is performing. The cozy venue provides an up-close-and-personal feel every time someone takes the stage, and last night’s duo of Sykes and Robinson was no different. The Uptown Theatre is a rising star unto itself, and the calibre of acts they continue to book just keeps getting better and better. Stay tuned for more words about Peter Murphy, Chris Cornell, The Reverend Horton Heat, and Craig Ferguson performing at the Uptown - these shows are sure to be winners.
For more information about these and all upcoming shows at the Uptown Theatre click here. The theater is located at 1350 Third Street in Napa. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster, the Uptown website, or at the box office which is open Monday – Friday 12 – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm.