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Sassy Wanda Sykes takes the stage for a stand-up show at the Keswick Theatre

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STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN 
bbingaman@thereporteronline.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

In a phone call from the West Coast, Wanda Sykes shared some great news for those that follow her work.
She will have a guest star role in the fifth season of Showtime’s comedy series “House of Lies.” “I’m (actor Glynn Turman’s character) Jeremiah’s new flame,” she said, noting that the show’s lead actor, Don Cheadle, was directing the new episode she was in. It was being shot the same week she gave this phone interview.
Also, look for Sykes to appear soon on ABC’s sitcom “Blackish.”
She said there will be another “Ice Age” animated feature film next year, and that her recognizable voice will be in it, reprising the role of Granny.

Wanday Sykes Photo by Roger Erickson

Wanday Sykes
Photo by Roger Erickson

A parent of 6-year-old twins, Sykes chuckles when she thinks about them trying to understand that it really is her voice in “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” and the one episode of Nick Jr.’s “Bubble Guppies” where she plays The Witch. “They couldn’t wrap their minds around it. ‘Nah, that’s not her’,” she said. “They love it when I read them bedtime stories.”
Although Sykes has voiced characters in other family-friendly fare, such as the movies “Over the Hedge,” “Rio” and “Barnyard,” as well as the spin-off TV series “Back at the Barnyard,” her upcoming stand-up show at the Keswick Theatre — like her HBO specials — is for mature audiences.
“I talk about everything that’s going on in my life and what’s going on in the world,” said Sykes, mentioning gun control, GMOs, fracking and “the Republican clown-i-dates.”
Although Sykes has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights — even emceeing this year’s ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. gay rights demonstrations in Philadelphia — she will spare Caitlyn Jenner no mercy. “I’m not a fan,” Sykes said. “She’s an (expletive), to me. I never liked Bruce Jenner either.”
There hasn’t been a new episode of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” since 2011, yet Sykes is frequently asked if she’ll return, as a fictionalized version of herself, to the Larry David-created mock-umentary comedy series. “I loved doing that show,” she said. However, she has no updates to offer, and said its up-in-the-air future is up to David. “I don’t know what he’s up to now,” Sykes said.
When asked about her run as a writer for “The Chris Rock Show” — which included winning an Emmy Award — she said that comedians, such as Rock and herself, tend to come across as aloof when they’re offstage. “I love Chris. He gave me my first big break. Like most comics, he’s shy and smart,” Sykes said.
Fun stuff you probably didn’t know about Wanda Sykes
•She has a production company called Push It Productions, which revived “Last Comic Standing” for television last year.
•When she appeared on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” she hoped the genealogy research would reveal that she was part Native American. Because there were “free Negroes” in her family tree, Sykes’ descendents could be traced as far back to the 1650s. “Oh my god, that was crazy,” she remarked.
•Her first job out of college was a procurement contractor for the National Security Agency. While “not a high level spy, or something like that,” she was still strictly forbidden to talk about her work for the intelligence organization.
•She played Miss Hannigan in a production of “Annie” at the Media Theater. “I tried it out and had a great time. We had a nice little run,” she commented.

IF YOU GO

What: Wanda Sykes live.
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 18.
Where: The Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside.
Tickets: $48-$98.
Info.: Call (215) 572-7650 or visit www.keswicktheatre.com.

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