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Yeah, I Said It
ISBN: 0-7434-8269-7
By Wanda Sykes
Review by: Michelle Humphrey

06/06/05

There is a book waiting to be written – "Great Moments of Women in Comedy" – which will tell a history from Fanny Brice to Lucille Ball to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. And this book will include Wanda Sykes. Sykes has already achieved what feels like legendary humor with a scene from her short-lived television series "Wanda at Large:” she’s allowed to play on the golf course of an all-male country club when she shows up with a naked woman. Later, when Wanda and the nude return, both fully dressed, no one lets them in. They stand outside a locked iron gate until Wanda figures out another way to get inside – this time, as a maid.

Yeah, I Said It, Sykes’ first humor collection, is filled with her trademark nervy observations on all the newsworthy topics: gay marriage, reality shows, metrosexuals, Native American mascots and how to ruin porn for your man. This is usual territory, and the jokes are delivered with the usual crudeness. But there are transcendent moments. Sykes’ rage is controlled in terse, rhythmic punch lines, her images are the right kind of surreal (balloon animals and Mr. Potato Heads appear in brilliant places), and the sketches are sharp and undiluted. When Saddam and bin Laden smoke weed while watching the Iraqi war on TV, it’s a gag that probably reads funnier as written by Sykes than if it were staged on MAD TV.

Her wittiest vignettes focus on women, whether it’s marriage advice from her mother (“He was wrong. I shot him. We move on") or breast implants for teenage girls ("Maybe breasts were cheaper than braces. Maybe her parents had a plan…. ‘We’ll spring for [breasts] and hopefully you’ll meet a nice man and he’ll fix your teeth’”). And her thoughts on male fantasies should be read with her high-pitched, punctuating voice in mind: "The number one fantasy for most guys is a threesome. They want to have two women at the same time. I think that’s a bit lofty. If you can’t satisfy that one woman, why do you want to piss off another one? Why have two angry women in the bedroom with you at the same time?"

Sykes told Jet magazine she enjoyed writing the book because it forced her to sort out her opinions on a variety of subjects, and in those sections about American politics, her tone is more of liberal outspokenness than wild humor. Still, the bits entertain in sequences that are not just comedy but conversation – especially for smart, outraged women looking for camaraderie along with some delectable laughs.

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