I find reading books by comedians like Wanda Sykes a cross-media experience. One rarely reads a book by a comedian before having seen — or heard — them live, on television, on the internet, on DVD, or on an album. And that is a good thing, because comedians tend to write like they deliver their jokes. Wanda Sykes certainly seems to in Yeah, I Said It. Superimposing the sound and cadence of her voice inside one’s head while reading adds her particular comedic flavor to her written offering.
(If you need any help, you can catch her on her talk show on Fox Television or on CBS’ “The New Adventures Of Old Christine” or any of her stand-up specials that are constantly playing on Comedy Central.)
Wanda Sykes, if nothing else, is an honest comedian. From her stand-up routines to her various acting roles to her talk show, Wanda Sykes engages a pragmatism seen only in the best humorists. Like Bill Cosby and Jeff Foxworthy, she delivers her version of the story, stripping it of any pretense. There is nothing contrived and her humor isn’t anything that requires deep thinking, even though sometimes, strangely enough, it can make you think. Coated with just the right amount of tenacious skepticism and biting sarcasm, Wanda Sykes can dissect a topic with the best of them.
In Yeah, I Said It, Wanda Sykes is at her incisive best, cutting to the heart of matters as far-ranging as George W. Bush’s policies (the book was published in 2004) to racial stereotyping, from matters of marriage (before she outed herself as gay and got married again) to Black History Month. Incorporated in every page is that honest voice, that they-should-know-better-than-that-but-since-they-done-did-it-I’m-calling-the-dumbasses-out-on-it tone she has. In fact, reading Wanda Sykes is like listening to a smart-ass teacher scolding her pupils with cautionary tales and criticisms. She’s like the stand-offish aunt telling you what’s good for you — only Wanda Sykes is funnier than the aunt — then disappearing until the next family reunion.
As is her custom, Yeah, I Said It is irreverent, politically incorrect, controversial, and — most of all — hilarious. Like all really good humor, you step away from Yeah, I Said It feeling like you have been given a fresh perspective on things.
Yeah, I Said It contains some of the material that Wanda Sykes fans have become familiar with — especially if they’ve followed her career and watched her do stand-up on talk shows and comedy specials. But whether it is new to the reader or familiar, you know one thing while reading the book — yeah, she said it alright. And if you have that cross-media thing going on inside your head, you understand that no one says it quite like Wanda Sykes.