She started her career as a procurement officer at the ‘National Security Agency’ (NSA) after her graduation. She held this government post for five years. However, this job did not provide her much satisfaction.
She participated in the ‘Coors Light Super Talent Showcase’ in 1987 where she performed stand-up comedy for the first time in front of a live audience. It was during this performance that she realized her love for comedy.
She spent the next few years honing her skills. She moved to New York City in 1992 in order to pursue a career in comedy.
She met comedian Chris Rock and opened for him at the ‘Caroline’s Comedy Club.’ Subequently, she joined the writing team of ‘The Chris Rock Show’ in 1997. Her collaboration with Chris Rock proved to be very productive and she also got the opportunity to make several appearances on his show.
Starting from 2001, she made several appearances on various episodes of the improvised comedy television series ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’
She played ‘Biggie Shorty’ in the 2001 comedy film ‘Pootie Tang’ which also starred Chris Rock. The movie was adapted from a comedy sketch that was first performed on ‘The Chris Rock Show.’
She starred as ‘Wanda Hawkins’ in the sitcom ‘Wanda at Large’ which ran on the Fox network for two seasons in 2003. She was also the creator of the show. She portrayed an outspoken stand-up comedian who is chosen as a correspondent for a political talk show.
In 2004, she appeared as herself in the television show ‘Wanda Does It’ which depicted a day in the life of the comedian.
She authored a humorous book titled ‘Yeah, I said It’ in 2004. The book featured a collection of jokes and rants about diverse subjects like sex, politics, family, crime, war, race, etc.
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She made several appearances as ‘Barb Baran’ in the sitcom television series ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine,’ first in a recurring role and then as main cast member from 2006 to 2010.
She voiced ‘Bessy the Cow’ in the animated show ‘Back at the Barnyard’ in 36 episodes from 2007 to 2011.
She hosted a talk show titled ‘The Wanda Sykes Show’ on Fox Channel from November 2009 to May 2010.
She voiced the character of a school therapist in ‘What Animated Women Want,’ one of the episodes of ‘The Simpsons,’ in 2013.
Meanwhile in 2012, she voiced the character of ‘Granny’ in the computer animated adventure film ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift.’ She then reprised the role in the film’s 2016 sequel ‘Ice Age: Collision Course.’
From 2013 to 2019, she has had recurring roles in series, such as ‘Alpha House,’ ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Broad City,’ ‘Harley Quinn,’ and ‘The Other Two.’
From 2015, Sykes has been part of many comedy movies, such as ‘Bad Moms’ (2016), ‘Snatched’ (2017), ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (2017), and ‘Ugly Dolls’ (2019).
Meanwhile in 2017, she started voicing ‘Gregoria the Gargoyle’ in the Disney animated Halloween fantasy musical TV series ‘Vampirina.’
In 2019, she was seen playing ‘Janet’ in Robert Luketic's romantic comedy film ‘The Wedding Year.’ The same year, she was also part of ‘Jexi’ in which she played ‘Denice.’ Her upcoming films include ‘Friendsgiving’ and ‘Breaking News in Yuba County.’
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