What type of show is in store for viewers who tune into THE WANDA SYKES SHOW this Saturday?
Not the typical “Hey, tell us about your new movie” celebrity interview. We’re throwing them [Celebrities] on the panel where we’ll talk about current topics, pop culture or maybe something’s bugging somebody that night. I’m not going to have guests I’m trying to rush out the door. These are people that I enjoy and want to hang out with and have a drink and get to know a little better.
What type of guests are you hoping for?
We’ll get Chris Rock, and if I can track down Dave Chappelle, I’ll get him to come by, Jane Fonda. Actually the first guest, one of our first panel guest, Mary Lynn Rajskub, I worked with her on the show called the DOWNER CHANNEL back in the day on NBC. I’m just happy that we both survived that and we’re still employed. I’m sure we’ll toast to that on Saturday night.
Joining you in late night this week will be George Lopez who is launching his weeknight show on Monday. What do you think a minority host brings to a late night program or any program that you’re not getting from what basically is a white male fraternity?
I believe all these shows are driven by the host. Letterman is the only one who could do the DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW. That goes for all of us. Yes, George is minority and so am I, but it’s basically not what you’re getting from a minority, it’s us. George has been at this for 20 plus years and so have I. We’re seasoned comedians and I think that’s what we’re going to bring to it. Dave Letterman, he brings his, I’m from Indiana point of view, and Jay brings his, I’m Italian. I think that’s where it is, it’s host driven, so it’s going to be more our personality and not just, “Oh, here’s, now you’re finally going to get the voice of a black woman.” I mean, yes, I’m a black woman, but I don’t speak for all black women.
Can you briefly describe the structure of the show, beyond the panel discussion. Will the show include entertainment numbers or will it be more along the lines of Bill Maher with guests sitting and discussing what’s going on?
We’re doing a little bit of everything really. I will do a monologue, but it’s not going to be just a string of random jokes. I want it to feel like a live standup performance, so it’ll be more concentrated on one area, and I will have a sidekick, Keith Robinson, one of my closest friends. I’ve known him for over 20 years, very funny. We will have a panel discussion similar to Bill Maher, but it won’t be as, I should say, as serious, not as confrontational I guess. You want to feel like these people are on the show for a reason that I enjoy them, we’re getting to know each other, it’s like mingling I should say. But of course, they will be opinionated, but it’s, “Hey, we’ll still have our beer summit.” We can sit down, have a drink and laugh about it.
What can you tell us about your first episode?
Aside from Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24, the panel will have Daryl “Chill” Mitchell from BROTHERS who’s a friend of mine, and Phil Keoghan from THE AMAZING RACE, one of my favorite shows. I want to get to know Phil a little bit. I’m tired of just seeing him standing on that mat greeting people from all around the world. I wanted to sit down and have a drink with him. The monologue will also probably touch on what’s bugging me lately, which is why everybody’s picking on the president. It’s been only a year since he’s been elected and it seems like the man can’t do anything right. Everything he does, people find some fault with him. I’ll talk about that.
THE WANDA SYKES SHOW premieres on Saturday November 7 at 11PM on FOX