Monday, November 9, 2009

Wanda Sykes: Did you watch?

Looks like Wanda Sykes' debut on Saturday night got decent ratings -- "up 16 percent from MADtv’s fourth-quarter average in 2008," according to preliminary Nielsen numbers.

I tuned in, and was surprised at how boldly partisan Sykes' monologue was; if any conservative FOX News aficionados happened to be watching, they probably weren't for long. In a world of late night TV monologues where the hosts usually try to strike a balance between jokes about the GOP and the Dems, Sykes is unabashedly liberal. That might turn some people off, but I found it rather refreshing to see such a strong point of view. Wishy-washy she's not.

Then there was a pretaped comedy bit which might just have been the raunchiest thing I have ever seen on network television, in which Sykes tried to recycle a box of old sex toys and promote environmentally friendly new ones, such as a solar-powered vibrator and reusable condoms. I'm amazed that one got OK'd by the censors.

A segment in which Sykes and sidekick Keith Robinson riffed about a girl at an Obama rally did not elicit any chuckles, but I did laugh at her remarks about Nicolas Cage's recent money troubles -- his bad financial decisions included buying a mansion made up of hundreds of smaller mansions.

The best part of the show, I thought, was actually the panel discussion, where Mary Lynn Rajskub, Daryl "Chill" Mitchell and Phil Keoghan, cocktails in hand, chatted about a few lightweight news stories, such as a hotel in space that will cater to people willing to pay $4.5 million for the privilege of visiting. Of course, I'm a total sucker for Keoghan, the charming "Amazing Race" host (that space hotel would make a killer pit stop), but the discussion was fast-paced and funny.

In short, if you were already a Wanda fan, you'll probably like the show; I don't think she'll be making any new converts. Reviews of the program were mostly mixed to negative, with Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker calling the show "awkward," and USA Today's Robert Bianco panning it as a "strained, strident hour that seemed underfunded and, despite all the time put into it, underrehearsed." The St. Petersburg Times' Eric Deggans was a little friendlier, saying the debut was "distinguished mostly by the fact that it didn't suck out loud," and that her "unerring standup comedy style... saved a lot of borderline moments."


  1. Anonymous said...

    Wanda Sykes seems like a total riot when shes a guest on the shows I watch, (or I should say THE one show I watch, since I dont watch Conan anymore) and I would try watching her show if I could just to see whats up.

    She is great in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and I find her hilarious, but that doesnt necessarily mean Id like her as a host.