If you watched Miley Cyrus perform at MTV’s Video Music Awards and were as scarred as Wanda Sykes, the comedian promises you her show in Long Beach on Saturday will be twerking-free.
As a mother of a 4-year-old girl, Sykes said the performance scared her and left her wanting to put her daughter in a bubble until she’s 40.
“You know, maybe it’s me. Maybe I am too old now to watch the VMAs,” Sykes said during a recent phone interview. “I think that’s it because everybody on that show got on my nerves, really, to be honest with you, other than Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga was good. ... I was like what the f---, what the hell is this? So, maybe it’s me. But Miley Cyrus, that stayed with me for days. I was like, man I wish I knew a vampire so he could glamor me and I could forget about that.”
Obviously, not much will be off limits when the outspoken comedian takes the stage at the Terrace Theater for what she describes as “an evening with Wanda.”
Sykes, 49, used to get much of her material from politics, reading and watching the news. But now that she’s a mother, she says she doesn’t have the time so she draws more from her personal life.
Her performances mix new material with her tried and true jokes to create a fun show for everyone — well, almost.
“It is an adult show so I would say you’d have to be at least 18 or older,” Sykes said. “My audience is very diverse, there’s young people, old people, black, white, Asian, Hispanic. I look out and there’s just a little bit of everyone — gay, straight. It’s exactly how I would like to have my audience, so it’s for everyone.”
Sykes learned she enjoyed making people laugh at a young age. Born into a funny family, she decided to out do her relatives by becoming a professional.
In addition to being a veteran stand-up comedian, she’s also an actress, having starred in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Monster-In-Law” and “Evan Almighty.” She’s voiced animated characters in films like “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “Rio,” and “Over the Hedge.”
She now has a recurring guest role in Amazon’s comedy “Alpha House” about four male Republican senators who live in a house next door to Sykes’ character, a senator from the other side of the aisle.
But becoming a respected comedian hasn’t been easy as a woman.
“I mean, it is hard for females. It is because of the simple fact they say ‘a female comic.’ I mean, they never say ‘a male comic,’” Sykes explains. “A comic is just a comic, but for us we have to have that title ‘female comic’ because it’s abnormal I guess.”
Though it may have taken work to become successful, it’s paid off. Sykes has won four Primetime Emmy Awards, with three additional nominations. She’s won the American Comedy Award for Outstanding Female Stand Up Comic and competed in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the Long Beach Grand Prix earlier this year.
The funny lady is excited to return to Long Beach because not only is it a beautiful city, but Sykes says the residents know how to have a good time.
“They just want to have fun, you know,” Sykes said of her past Long Beach audiences. “It’s fun and they’re partying, they’re into it, maybe a little drunk when they get there but that’s OK, I am too. They know how to party.”
And don’t expect Miley Cyrus to be the only celebrity on the chopping block when it comes to jokes.
“It’s the celebrity du jour, whoever is goofy that day,” Sykes said. “And they say Lamar Odom may be on crack and I’m just like, I can’t believe that because I didn’t know they still made crack. I thought crack had been discontinued. But then they said on TMZ they had pictures of him at Taco Bell so I’m like OK, thank God, it’s not crack. It’s probably weed if he’s at Taco Bell, so I feel better about that.”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14
Where: Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
Information: 562-436-3636, www.wandasykes.com