The Wanda Sykes Show



Late-night comedy has iffy humor, awkward moments.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In the pursuit of laughs, the show doesn't hold too much sacred; controversial topics (like rape) are mentioned in jokes, popular culture icons are mocked, different types of people are stereotyped, etc. Sykes' strong personal views about politics, race, and sexuality may put off some viewers.

Positive role models

Sykes speaks her mind, but does so using humor that some would consider racist and sexist. Much of her political humor is openly anti-conservative. On the plus side, she's one of the first women to join the usually male-dominated realm of late-night talk/comedy television.


Jokes have references to things like waterboarding and other violent acts, but none is shown. One guest dresses up as a thief (face mask/gloves) and joking states that he's going to rob people. One comedy set discusses rape.


Strong sexual innuendo, including subtle references to various sexual acts, as well as jokes about things like sex toys. Condoms, vibrators, and the word “dildo” are visible; the word “horny” is also used. Portia the Drag Queen (one of the show's regular characters/performers) makes references to her fake breasts.


Words like “damn," “hell," “ass,” and “piss” are audible; those like “d--k," “s--t," and “f--k” are bleeped. Words like “Jesus” (used as an exclamation) and “effing” are also heard.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Visible alcohol consumption (wine, martinis, and mixed drinks). Jokes sometimes reference drug-related topics like marijuana and being on acid.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy/variety/talk series includes sharp political commentary that reflects host Wanda Sykes’ strongly anti-conservative point of view. There's also some racially motivated humor (like references to “white folks” and Asian body parts) and subtle references to Sykes’ homosexuality. Expect plenty of salty language (though the strongest words, like “s--t” and “f--k,” are bleeped), strong sexual innuendo (including skits about sex toys and regular appearances by a drag queen), and references to violent acts like rape, stealing, and torture. Guests (all of age) are shown drinking during interviews; some jokes include references to drugs. 

What's the story?

In THE WANDA SYKES SHOW, actress/comedienne Wanda Sykes -- with the help of comedian Keith Richardson and Portia the Drag Queen -- offers her opinions about contemporary politics, racial issues, and popular culture. Each episode is a mix of stand-up comedy routines, satirical sketches, and interviews with celebrity guest panels seated at “Wanda’s Bar." Segments like “Wandarama” and “Inappropriate Games” are also part of the entertainment.

Is it any good?


The series creates an awkward tension as it attempts to combine political satire with an edited version of Sykes’ trademark off-color humor. While some of her stand-up routines and pre-recorded skits have a few funny moments, most of the show is uncomfortably slow as Sykes attempts to deliver jokes in a style that doesn’t match her personality.

Despite Sykes’ restraint, the show’s attempts at pushing network TV boundaries -- by featuring a transgendered personality and offering stereotypical racial commentary -- are obvious. Sykes' anti-conservative point of view is also pretty clear. It’s definitely edgy, but as far as late-night comedy goes, it somehow misses the mark.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about using a TV show to promote a specific political point of view. Do you think Sykes’ jokes about political figures and their beliefs are appropriate?

  • Where do you draw the line between funny and offensive? Are stereotypes ever appropriate, even when used jokingly? What if they're being used to make a larger point?

  • Do you think certain "target" audiences will view this show differently

  • than other viewers from other racial/ethnic groups? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Keith Richardson, Wanda Sykes
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 2 year old Written bydauzatb January 24, 2010

Not As Funny As Chelsea

I think she copied Chelsea Handler's Show! It's set up the same way, with 3 comedians, a side kick (i.e. Chewy)... Not as funny.
Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2010
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 14 year old Written byfranzic November 15, 2009

slanted way too left

no diversity in thought - slanted way too left.


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