Ranked among Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Funniest People in America, Wanda Sykes returns to Las Vegas Fri., June 21, performing inside Treasure Island.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to Las Vegas, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new,” Sykes told Examiner.com during a June 14 phone interview to advance the show.
While Sykes said she’s usually “in and out” of Las Vegas and doesn’t have a lot of time to vacation while she’s in town, the Emmy Award-winning comedienne for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special (“The Chris Rock Show”) did have a few favorite restaurants when asked where she likes to eat. Among them: Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, CUT at The Palazzo and Bouchon at The Venetian. Sykes said that she also enjoys any place that serves “truffle anything.”
Not surprisingly, when asked about her dining out pet peeves, Sykes said that she doesn’t like when fans interrupt her while she’s eating to ask for a picture, especially when she’s trying to enjoy a meal with her family.
“It’s annoying,” Sykes stated matter-of-factly.
The proud mother of 4-year-old twins, Sykes said fans can expect to hear her talk a lot about her kids during her Treasure Island set, as her comedy tends to focus on things going on in her life and in the world today.
“I switch things out a lot, but a lot of it deals with my family, as the kids take up most of my time—they’re very demanding.”
Sykes admitted that, at this stage in her life, she doesn’t have a lot of time for “writing sessions,” but still manages to come up with new material on a regular basis.
“I’m always thinking of stuff, I just don’t sit down and write it,” Sykes explained. “I come up with material more as I go along; if something funny happens, I’ll make a note of it on my phone.”
Considered one of the funniest stand-up comics in the business, Sykes said that she wasn’t sure if coming up with new material at this stage in her career was “harder or just different,” as the level of expectation from both fans and herself has “been upped” over the years. Sykes admitted, though, that she doesn’t come up with new material just to entertain her fans, but also to please herself.
“I don’t like doing the same material over and over again,” she said. “It’s not fun.”
Having achieved success across a number of different mediums, from television to film, it’s only natural to wonder why Sykes continues to return to the stage.
“It’s where I started out and where I feel the funniest,” Sykes replied. “I enjoy stand-up because it has the biggest reward: instant gratification. You can hear the people laughing.”
Funny enough, two of the comedians Sykes said she was influenced by early on in her career also perform at Treasure Island throughout the year: Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Cosby. Other comedy influences who played a major role in Sykes’ life include Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Carol Burnett.
“I watched a lot of comedy growing up,” Sykes said.
While Sykes may feel at home onstage, one of her other favorite mediums to perform in is animation. Given her easily recognizable voice, it’s no surprise Sykes has done voice-over work in some of Hollywood’s biggest animated films, including DreamWorks’ Over the Hedge and Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. When asked if there was any hope for an Over the Hedge sequel, Sykes sadly reported that she hadn’t heard of anything, but would “love to do” another animation film in the future.
“It’s fun and quick; there’s no waiting around,” Sykes stated.
That’s not to say Sykes won’t be returning to the big screen soon, though. The actress known for such memorable roles as Biggie Shorty in Pootie Tang, Ruby in Monster-in-Law and Rita in Evan Almighty can soon be seen alongside Brooke Shields, Virginia Madsen and Daryl Hannah in the film The Hot Flashes, a comedy about an unlikely basketball team of middle-aged Texas women (all former high school champs) who challenge the current high school girls’ state champions to a series of games to raise money for breast cancer prevention. The movie is scheduled for limited release in mid-July. Sykes also just got back from Chicago where she was shooting “Herlarious” at Harpo Studios: two one-hour original comedy specials featuring “comics who just happen to be female.”
“I hate saying female comics,” Sykes, who hosts the show, said. “The first show will premiere July 13 (on OWN) and the second show on July 20. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
As Sykes continues to keep audiences laughing not only with her own brand of humor, but also by showcasing other hilarious comics, one has to wonder what tickles her funny bone on a day-to-day basis.
“My kids,” Sykes replied. “That and anyone falling down; whenever I see someone trip, that’s always the funniest thing to me.”
Wanda Sykes performs Fri., June 21 at 9 p.m. inside Treasure Island. Tickets start at $59.95, plus tax and service fees. Guests must be 18 years of age or older to attend. To reserve your seat, call 702-894-7723 or simply click here.
For more on Wanda Sykes, visit the comedienne’s official website.