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Fame & Fortune: Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes Wanda Sykes has long been one of the funniest people in comedy. But this year, she's also become one of the hardest-working people in all of show business. In addition to her roles on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Sykes just had her own HBO comedy special, was the headliner at this year's White House Correspondents' dinner, and throughout all this prepared the newest weekly entry into late-night television, "The Wanda Sykes Show," which premiered Nov. 7.

But the most shocking thing about her schedule is that none of these things -- or even all of them combined -- is the thing keeping this veteran funny lady up nights. That would be the twins -- Lucas Claude and Olivia Lou -- that her wife gave birth to this past April. Bankrate spoke recently to Sykes about comedy, performing and her very busy year.

Bankrate: When you perform, do you find that your comedic style is set or is there still an evolution after all these years?

Wanda Sykes: We keep evolving as comics. You hit a style in your voice, but to say "this is how I do things" doesn't allow any room for growth. I like to be open to new things. Who knows, there might be some areas where I go, "I didn't think I would ever go there." But I have new experiences and things that happened where I go, "OK, I think I can talk about this."

Bankrate: Can you give me an example of how your style has grown?

Wanda Sykes: Before, it was harder. Now, there's a little more finesse to it. Before it was: "This is the point I'm gonna make and it's in your face." Now it's more: "Let's think about it this way." But then again, we were so angry during the Bush administration that anger was the tone.

Bankrate: How did you prepare for the White House Correspondents' dinner?

Wanda Sykes: It was pretty funny because at the time, my wife was seven months pregnant, so I was really preoccupied with that. I was going out to the clubs, but also staying close to home and keeping an eye on her. It made me have to really rely on writing sometimes instead of going to the clubs and trying things out.

Bankrate: What kind of jokes were you striving for?

Wanda Sykes: I wanted to stick it to (Obama) and the administration a little bit, because that's what you're supposed to do. But I also wanted to be fair, to give it to Rush Limbaugh and those guys, too.


Bankrate: What did President Obama say to you?

Wanda Sykes: Before the show, he saw me and he said, "Hey, you're one of my favorites. You gonna go easy on me?" And I said, "No, sir." He laughed.

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