Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wanda we hardly knew ye.

Wanda Sykes delivered the comedy portion at last night's Washington Correspondents' Dinner. Afterward she was criticized by MSNBC's panel of humorless morons. Pat Buchanan, who wakes up every day thinking it's still 1972 and Nixon is still president, said Sykes was disrespectful and crude. Buchanan is best known for being the choice of West Palm Beach Jews in the 2000 Presidential Election. He was also a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. How the fuck did that work? You write two speeches: 1. "I am not a crook." and 2. "I quit."

Sykes, whose full bit can be seen here, was, in my opinion, hilarious. The joke about telling her kids to get into a car with a stranger rather than get into a car with Dick Cheney was dead on. But what did Buchanan and company expect? It's Wanda Sykes. Anyone who has followed her career would know that she's going to be crude and caustic. I'm sure Buchanan never heard of her before she got a part on Julia Louis Dreyfus' vehicle, The New Adventures of Old Christine.

But Sykes has been around the block. I'm sure President Obama has heard of her. She achieved mainstream name recognition with Monster In Law, playing a perfect complement to Jane Fonda's insane mother act. She also appeared in Chris Rock's Down to Earth. Both roles required Sykes to indulge in scatological humor. I liked her best as Biggie Shorty in Pootie Tang, one of the funniest movies ever. The scene where she is mistaken by a couple old men for a prostitute is analogous to Buchanan's mistaken impression that Sykes was going to be a black Bill Engvall. It's like going to see Bob Saget expecting to hear "Full House" humor.

So Wanda Sykes will get skewered for a few days by the mainstream press. Then something important will happen, and everyone will forget about it. Then I can go back to enjoying Pootie Tang.

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