Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wanda Sykes at White House Correspondents' Dinner

In case you missed it, here's a clip from Wanda Sykes performance on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. It seems to be causing even more of a stir than Stephen Colbert in '06.

Why has greater offense been taken? Maybe Colbert got a few free passes by speaking in character. But I'm willing to guess that Sykes race, gender and sexual orientation add insult to injury for a predominantly white, male-dominated and anti-gay party.  The general criticism seems to be that Sykes' tone was too mean-spirited, a criticism surely influenced by the fact that making aggressive jokes falls outside of the acceptable realm of behavior for women.  

Here's what Feministing had to say.

1 comment:

  1. Wanda Sykes is generally funny. Most of the material she did at the White House Corespondents Dinner was generally funny. The jokes about Rush were over the top and mean spirited. They missed the mark.

    I’ve watch the Obama and Sykes routines several times. Obama killed. He has good timing. He knew his audience and he played to the crowd. He’s smart and funny. He’s the President and the audience wanted him to do well. Major advantages in getting laughts.

    Sykes’ timing was off that night. Why? I think she was playing to Obama too much. If you watch the video, she is constantly cheating to her right and back, checking out how the jokes are going over with the President. She was not giving 100% to the audience.

    Do I think Sykes needs to apologize to Rush for going TOO far? No. Rush has thicker skin than that.

    For comparison, I went back and watched Colbert’s Corespondents Dinner speech. He was braver than Sykes. He spoke more truthiness to power. But he wasn’t as funny. He didn’t get as many laughs. And Bush certainly wasn’t entertained. I’m not even sure Bush got it. I’m not sure who did a better “job.” I wish Colbert had gotten more laughs. I wish Sykes had brought more insight and edge and less blatant vitriol to the party.

    Why was Obama the one talking about the Gay Marriage debate? Other than “joking” about wishing torture and illness on her enemies, Sykes most edgy material was about not wanting to see the President’s nipples. It’s funny, but pretty safe stuff.

    This comment is mostly cribbed from a comment I made over at Michael Davis World. For another perspective on Wanda Sykes and the White House Correspondents Dinner, check out: http://michaeldavisworld.com/cgi/wp/?p=452