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October 20, 2014

Get a taste of the Wanda Sykes show through her writer's packet

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 24th 2009 3:05PM
Wanda SykesIf Wanda Sykes' appearance at the White House TV Correspondent's Dinner was a taste of her new FOX late night show, then get ready for the appetizer.

Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily scored a copy of the audition packet the show's producers sent out to prospective comedy writers that included a few choice bits that would make David Letterman's Sarah Palin punchline squad blush.

These are not bits that have been confirmed as part of Sykes' first show. They are just examples designed to guide the prospective writer towards the kind of work they are looking to produce when the show hits the air next fall. But even for random examples, they make my diseased mind wonder what could actually get on the air and how many strokes it will cause for elderly housewives across the nation.

The pitch says the show aims to reflect Sykes' unique and hard hitting comedic personality "to joke, riff and laugh about things others frankly can't." So does that mean Sarah Palin's kids are back on the table?

The packet then breaks down each show by the types of jokes they are looking to fit into each piece. Since Wanda is on Saturdays and only once a week, she'll have more time to really tackle the stories rather than just do a rapid fire of one-liners on the bigger and weirder stories. That should make for some interesting television. Late night monologues have started to feel more like cue-card reads than serious comedy performances, and the joke depends more on the writing than the performer for it to work. Craig Ferguson did a great job when he decided to tell stories instead of just do jokes, and the two have melded together for a unique comedic mix.

The rest of the packet, however, really goes for the throat. "Field pieces" aim to do more than just typical "man-on-the-street" jobs. They want situations that really challenge Wanda to dig deep for truly unique humor such as "trying to get Congressman Peter King to attend a Jackson tribute at a local VFW hall and getting King to admit on camera, yeah, he cried a little when he first heard Ben," "getting a walkthrough of a gay exorcisms (sic)," or "going out to buy a new pet with Michael Vick."

I hope they aren't banking on scoring Petco as a sponsor.

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