Wanda Sykes lays it all out for any supporters of the president who might be in her audience.
“If you voted for Donald Trump and you came to see me …,” she says at the start of “Not Normal,” her new stand-up special on Netflix, “you [messed] up again.”
During her recent visit to the Los Angeles Times video studio, Sykes said the joke was inspired by occasionally seeing a few audience members walk out when she would tear into the chief executive.
“You’re Trump supporters, why are you here? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know what I do? What about this says, ‘Yaaay Trump?’,” she asked, indicating her blackness, her femaleness and, presumably, her open gayness (she and her wife have two kids who are also major sources of material for her show). “We are polar opposites.’
“That’s how I got to the joke: You guys are bad decision makers.”
The outspoken comic actor and writer, who won a 2015 Triumph Award for activism in the arts, devotes the entire opening segment of “Not Normal” to criticizing Trump. She said that in earlier shows on her comedy tour, she felt audiences had been impatiently waiting through her material about her family for it.
“My fans, they were sitting there like, ‘OK, come on, when are you getting to the Trump stuff? Come on, Wanda, you know what’s going on, you have to talk about this!’ ... It felt like I was ignoring the orange elephant in the room.”
In the special, the Emmy winner (and nine-time nominee) nails a physical impression of the president, her arms, hands and frown becoming more eerily Trump-like than some of his most famous impersonators have managed. If that seems weird, it’s only fitting for a special called “Not Normal.”
Sykes said she had initially been using “Oh Well” as the motto/title, as in, “That seems like … our acceptance, I guess, of what’s happening. We would hear something crazy, well, you know porn stars, whatever, and everybody’s like, ‘Oh well, let’s see what happens tomorrow.’ … All of this seems not normal, but we’ve accepted it as par for the course. And I’m not accepting it. We’re better than this.”
“No one told him that he looked ridiculous? No, it’s like, ‘No, let him go, let him go, let him go!’ Come on, everyone has a friend that would go, ‘Mmmmm, I’ve seen you in better things. Let’s see you in something else.’ ”
Among other subjects she takes on in the special is the existence of a show like “The Bachelor” in 2019: “The only time you hear #MeToo on ‘The Bachelor’ is if someone says, ‘I have chlamydia.’ ”
“I have one friend, she’s out there, on the Women’s March and all, and I’m like, ‘And now you’re watching “The Bachelor?” I don’t understand it. How does this show not make your skin crawl?’ And she’s like, ‘It’s just entertainment.’ ‘Yeah, but imagine — just picture how many millions of people are watching this show, and what it’s saying.’ ”
She also confesses to parenting hiccups too petty to be made up, as when she almost lost her cool over being hit in the face by a balloon her young son kicked at her.
“I have no problem putting out there or admitting when I screw up. Because that’s what we do, parents. It’s the most important job that they just let you do with no training. And you’re gonna mess up. You’re gonna screw up. The secret is not letting your kids know you have no idea what you’re doing.”
To see the entire interview, click on the video below.