Wanda Sykes on Sarah Palin (and Other Political Stuff)

[Transcript below.]

Shaker rrp sent this to me [via Corrente] with the label: "How to be funny about Sarah Palin without being a sexist asshole." Now, I adore Wanda Sykes to itty bitty teensy weensy pieces anyway (her bit about how different the world would be for women if our vaginas were detachable is insanely brilliant and agonizingly funny), but I just want to give her eight thousand hugs for this. Let's break down the awesomeness:

1. Calls herself a feminist right on the freaking Tonight Show.

2. Flatly says it's sexist to talk about how many kids Sarah Palin has.

3. Never says a word about Palin's appearance, her daughter's pregnancy, or any other irrelevant shit.

4. While being funny, sticks totally to legitimate issues: Palin's relative lack of experience, her dubious foreign policy credentials, her being kept from the press, and her résumé's frightening similarity to Bush's when he took office.

5. And then, in the coup de grace, she turns utterly on its head both the sexist charge that Palin's got too many kids for the job and the diametrically sexist claim that she'll be a rightwing supermom who takes care of her kids on the job—and points out that neither one are true because Palin will, like anyone else in that position, hire help as required. She utterly mocks both stupid assumptions by affecting Palin on the phone with a foreign leader: "Hold on, Vladimir, my baby wants to say hi. Say hi to Vladimir! Hi, Vladimir! Say hi!" It isn't a sexist attack on Palin—it's a direct hit on the sexist presumptions about her.

It's extremely clever, classic Sykes, and spot-on. And, yeah, it is indeed how to be funny about Sarah Palin without being a sexist asshole. Thanks, Wanda.


Jay Leno: Welcome back—talking with Wanda Sykes. We got the presidential race there, McCain, Obama, whaddaya think? Where you at here?

Wanda Sykes: Well, you know, I watched the conventions, and, you know, watching the Democratic convention, it felt like America, you know? It looked like America. It was hopeful and it was positive and, you know, everybody holding hands. And then I watched the Republican convention—it was like watching a meeting at Dr. Evil's lair. It was like the old—it's like old, evil people got together and they were having their evil board meeting, and—

Leno: Really?

Sykes: —and each of 'em at the board meeting got up, and each one would tell their plan of how they're gonna, what they're gonna do with the evil.

Leno: Yeah.

Sykes: And it was just so tense and scary. 'Cuz you know those Dr. Evil board meetings, somebody gets it, you know—

Leno: Yeah, somebody presses the button—

Sykes: They press a button—

Leno: —go through the floor—

Sykes: —and you go through the floor to the pile of alligators or something.

Leno: Right, right.

Sykes: And I was tense, and I was—it's usually the weakest one, and I figured that's why Bush didn't show up. He knew.

Leno: Oh, I see, sure.

Sykes: Bush is like, "I'm doing this via satellite." 'Cuz, you know, he was scared. He was like—next thing you know, Giuliani runs up behind him with a baseball bat and [mimes swinging bat].

Leno: Wow. Wow.

Sykes: He walks out on the stage, and he's like, "Why is there plastic on the floor? What's going on?" Like the scene from Goodfellas, you know, he's like [mimes confused look].

Leno: Well, you seem to know all these movies. Now, what are you expecting of the debate Friday? You gonna watch? It should be interesting.

Sykes: I'm gonna watch. And please, everybody, please—Jay, this is the most important election, I know in my lifetime—

Leno: Yeah.

Sykes: —it's the most important—I'm not saying, I'm sure your lifetime, too, Jay, I'm not saying, you know, you old…

Leno: Well, to me, of course, Howard Taft—that was my president.

Sykes: But, it's very—and I can't believe there's still people who aren't registered.

Leno: Right.

Sykes: There's still people out there, and I'm like—I think that there should be a list of people who don't vote; we should make a big list, and anything that bad happens, they should get it first. You know? Years from now, when we driving around in our electric cars, we should still make them pay twelve dollars for gas.

Leno: Oh, I see. Yeah.

Sykes: They should get it, I mean, it's—it's very important. But, yeah, so I'm gonna watch the debates. Well, of course, you know, I'm for Obama, man, come on.

Leno: Really? Now I'm surprised.

Sykes: You're shocked?!

Leno: I'm shocked; I thought—

Sykes: You're shocked! You're shocked.

Leno: —I had you pegged for a Republican. I'm stunned.

Sykes: You pegged me for a Republican? Yeah, maybe it's all my conservative views.

Leno: Yeah, that could be it.

Sykes: [makes sarcastic face]

Leno: Now, of course, McCain is—

Sykes: Or my love for the elderly. Maybe that's it.

Leno: Yeah, that could be. Now, McCain has picked Sarah Palin. As a woman, I imagine you're beaming with pride, that she's, uh, this seems exactly like what you would want, so excited that a fellow member of your sex has now risen to this lofty— [looks at Sykes' grim expression and laughs]. Am I wrong?

Sykes: Jay, I'm a feminist, but, I'm sorry, that woman's crazy. That's a crazy, scary lady right there. Gun-totin', you know, and shooting caribou, and—she, I mean, I mean, come on, Jay—this, and, you ask me what do I think about her? There's really nothing to think about, I mean, she—we don't know anything about her. They don't let her talk. Today, they say, "Oh, she's meeting with the world leaders," but there's no reporters. I'm like, "Is she meeting with the world leaders, or did ya'll take her to the Epcot Center and let her 'drink around the world'?" You know, 'cuz I've done that!

Leno: Yeah.

Sykes: Maybe I should be Secretary of State! I have more foreign—you know, the woman, she just got a passport last year.

Leno: Right.

Sykes: She has been to Mexico. Does this ring a bell? George W. Bush? Come on. This is—he hadn't been anywhere! She like, "I can see Russia from my backyard." What what what what?! What—while you were delivering letters to Santy Claus at the North Pole? I mean, are we stupid? You know, and I hate when they say, "Well, you know"—and it is sexist to ask people, you know, "How can she be president or maybe vice president, vice president or maybe president, with five kids?" That is sexist. You would never ask a man that. But for ya'll who have these visions of, she's gonna be some mom and also V.P., get that outcha head; she's gonna do what every—what all the other people do: She will pay somebody to take care of those damn kids! She ain't gonna be in the White House changing diapers in the Oval Office! She better not be—I hope she never sees those kids when she's in office. If she—she got stuff to handle. She better not be on the phone talking about "Hold on, Vladimir, my baby wants to say hi. Say hi to Vladimir! Hi, Vladimir! Say hi!" Outta they damn minds. I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. She is—there's nothing there. Absolutely nothing there.

Leno: Well, you shouldn't hold back like this. I wanna know how you feel!

Sykes: [laughs]

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