Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine) made a surprise visit to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday night, filling in for another guest (Charlie Sheen) who had canceled at the last minute.
The timing couldn’t have been better, as it gave her an opportunity to weigh in on President Obama‘s inauguration and the celebrations that followed.
Before she got into all of that, she teased Leno about how her last-minute fill-in for Sheen was part of a larger cultural phenomenon. "You might as well get used to it, because that’s what we do now. Charlie Sheen, white guy, let you down. Black people show up to the rescue! That’s what we do now, we save your white ass, Jay."
She even suggested a sort of Bat-Signal that Leno could use if he found himself in trouble again.
In the short clip below, Sykes talks about her own response to watching Obama’s inauguration, and provides some jokes that Rev. Joseph E. Lowery could have added to his benediction.
Unfortunately, that’s the only stand-alone clip of Sykes’s appearance on the show available at this time. So if you want to see her appearance in its entirety, you’ll have to watch the full-length episode at NBC.com.
I recommend taking the time to watch her whole appearance (she’s the first guest on the show), as Sykes is in typically great form. She describes in hilarious detail Shakira‘s awkwardly contained performance at the inaugural concert ("Shake something, girl. Shake it!") and how it threw off fellow performer Stevie Wonder ("Why is Stevie Wonder air-humping this lady?")
My favorite part, though, was when Leno tried to praise the outgoing George W. Bush for his "graciousness" towards the Obama family. Sykes asks for an example of the alleged "graciousness," and when Leno lamely replies that Bush rode in the limousine with Obama, Sykes snaps, "Did you think he was gonna tell him to get out and push?"
Sykes takes a few more closing jabs at Bush, including how the Obamas’ farewell to the Bush family was like waving goodbye to bad houseguests, and talks briefly about her show, The New Adventures of Old Christine. Though she didn’t mention any specifically gay or lesbian topics, it was great to see her back on The Tonight Show again.
In the interview, Sykes said of the Bush family’s departure, " Yay, they gone! Damn…there’s half my act!" It’s true, Bush was an easy target. Do you think Sykes will be able to cull as much humor from Obama’s presidency as she did from that of his predecessor?