Wanda Sykes on matchmaking, being an out spokeswoman and Adam Carolla


Wanda Sykes has her trademark voice all over your TV lately, whether it’s in ads for the upcoming Ice Age: Continental Drift or for her new campaign for GAIN. It’s not just her voice she’s lending to the latter, though: She’s the new spokeswoman for the company’s new line of scented detergents. She serves as Gain’s scent matchmaker, helping you to figure out what new product would be best for your laundry in a new YouTube series launching July 1.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty

We talked with Wanda about her matchmaking skills, being an out spokeswoman and how she feels about Adam Carolla‘s controversial statements this past week.

AfterEllen.com: How did you get involved with Gain?
Wanda Sykes: Gain approached me with this campaign and I just thought it was really funny. That’s my passion — making people laugh. A comedian, that’s what I’ve always done so when I looked at the campaign, I was like “This is going to make people laugh” so that’s how I got involved with it.

AE: What’s your experience as a matchmaker?
WS: To be honest with you, I’m an awful matchmaker. [Laughs] When I try to hook people up, it never works out. My friends will get offended like, “What makes you think I would like that person?” I’m like “Oh, OK!” But as far as a scent matchmaker, I’m pretty darn good at this. I’m having fun doing it. If you go to YouTube.com/gain July 1, you will find me there and I will walk you through an experience that is interactive. I’ll ask you a bunch of questions about your personality, your likes, your dislikes, the type of music [you like], foods you enjoy. And from those answers, I will then determine a perfect scent match for you. That way, when you do find the person that you like at least you will smell like you. There you go!

AE: Do you have a different scent match than your wife has? Do you have similar ones?
WS: Well my scent is Apple Mango Tango and because I pay the bills my scent trumps everyone’s scent. [Laughs] No, I’m joking. Laundry is a mundane thing but we all have to do it. Actually I end up doing most of the laundry in the house because I like to separate my clothes, you know. My wife, she likes to separate by clean and dirty. That’s pretty much how she does it. It’s just fun to take something as mundane as laundry and have fun with it and personalize it.

Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty

AE: What do you think Gain wanted from you as a spokeswoman, aside from you being hilarious?
WS: I like to have fun, I like to have a good time. I celebrate people’s quirks and differences and uniqueness. This is what this is about. It’s saying “Hey, we all are different but there is — I’ll find a scent, whether you’re a quirky personality or whoever are, I’ll find a scent for you.

AE: People used to think that if you were an out gay celebrity, you wouldn’t be hired to represent a brand. It seems like that’s not an issue not with Jane Lynch, Ellen and yourself all faces of brands. Have you ever felt that coming out has hurt your career or has it only helped it?
WS: Not at all. I don’t think coming out has hurt me in any way at all. Actually I think it’s helped. I know me, as a performer and a comedian, it’s helped because when you’re yourself and authentic, it gives you freedom. I just feel so liberated. I can say what I want to say, do what I want to do, and I think it’s very cool, like you said, that Ellen, Jane — we all are sponsors for different companies and projects. And Gain, you know, they realize that and are celebrating who we are. I’m having a blast doing it.

AE: Do you think that someone like me, who identifies as a lesbian, sees that Gain chooses Wanda Sykes, an out lesbian, to represent them and could think “Maybe next time I go to the store, I’ll try Gain”?
WS: I hope so. I mean it’s nice to show support. It’s also a good product and, like I said, we all have laundry to do. It’s just a fun way to spice it up, make it exciting, have fun with it.

AE: Do you also do your twins’ laundry?
WS: Once you have kids, man, the laundry really piles up. Kids are nothing but stains, that’s it. I actually have gotten the kids dressed and as soon as I turn around it’s like “Where did that come from? How did you get a stain — I just put that shirt on you! What are you doing?” It’s ridiculous how it just piles up.

AE: How can you translate what a scent will be through the internet? It’s gotta be kind of hard to imagine a scent through a computer. Was that difficult for you?
WS: It’s fun but it’s also about your personality. I’ll ask you what’s your choice of music and the type of mate you’re looking for and it’s a lot of personal questions and, from that, we take your personality traits we can determine the perfect scent match for you. If you get that scent and you think “Hmm, that scent isn’t for me” then obviously you lied! You lied during the exercise. You were not honest and open with me! So just try it again. People are just cracking up when they go through the YouTube thing. I think it’s funny and everybody’s going to get a kick out of it.

AE: Did you happen to hear or read about any of Adam Carolla’s statements over the last couple of days, where he said women weren’t funny?
WS: Honestly, I heard about it. I have not read the article about it or anything and I’m like this: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Honestly I really don’t care what Adam says. All due respect, I think this is the most anyone has ever talked about Adam Carolla so good for him.

AE: On The Talk Sara Gilbert was asking him about making homophobic jokes on stage and he says it’s all a part of being a comedian. Do you agree with that?
WS: I don’t think homophobic jokes — I don’t find them funny. But if by comedian you get on stage and you’re allowed to say whatever you want to say, and if people laugh then, hey, good for you. If not, maybe it’s not funny. And that’s the rule I go by.

Photo by NBC

AE: Do you have anything you won’t make jokes about on stage?
WS: You know, I’m not mean-spirited. So anything, if it makes me feel bad, I’m not gonna do it. I have my standards and that’s what I go by.

Make sure to visit Youtube.com/Gain on July 1 to have Wanda help you pick your perfect scent.

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