Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes (Roger Erickson via Strathmore)

From politics to family, comedienne Wanda Sykes delivered a funny take on life to a packed audience at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, on Saturday.

Sykes riffed about life with her French wife and their two children, particularly the vast cultural divide. For instance, Americans may consider Vicks VapoRub a comforting salve used to open nasal passages, while an unsuspecting French person may think they are being burned.

After referencing the “Me Too” and the “Time’s Up” movements, Sykes questioned why a woman would debase herself through a competition like “The Bachelorette.” Sykes painted an alternative selection scenario the ladies could go through with the prized bachelor that was a bit graphic but delivered the comic goods. Yes, she reinforced to the audience, “‘The Bachelorette’ was stupid.”

Sykes also shared how being Black informs practically her entire perspective on life. In her youth, she said, the phrase “I’m not playing with you” had a threatening connotation — which she had to keep in mind when one of her children gleefully kept kicking a balloon toward her. The revelation was a funny “ah-ha” moment.

Sykes even touched on her own health and aging struggles, espousing how happy she was not to be experiencing hot flashes during her performance as she is going through menopause at age 54. On a personal note, she spoke of how she cannot do hormone replacement therapy because she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

Because of estrogen loss, hormone replacement is often used for women going through menopause, but that wasn’t an option for Sykes, since adding estrogen can stimulate growth in cancerous cells. She entertained the audience with her menopausal challenges, as she relayed being told hot flashes can continue for up to 15 years while humorously lamenting her weight gain and facial hair growth.

With the estrogen loss, Sykes realized her thinking process had changed, and some things she no longer cared about as much, which she quipped was the result of the small amount of testosterone that women have overtaking her lack of estrogen. Many women in the audience could relate, while men got a few facts.

Sykes, who grew up in the area in Anne Arundel County, unsurprisingly homed in on the current White House administration, telling the Trump voters in the audience that attending her show was their second mistake.

The lead-in to her piercing commentary was surprise guest Dave Chappelle, who hit the campaign trail for his longtime family friend and Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous. Chappelle, Sykes and Jealous used the opportunity to encourage people to vote. On top of the laughs, it was a bonus message for the appreciative audience.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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