Wanda Sykes (born March 7, 1964) is an American Emmy Award winning stand-up comedian and actress. She is known for her blunt comedic observations on current events, the differences between the sexes and races, and the human condition. As an actress she is known for her role as Barb on The New Adventures of Old Christine, on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm as herself and numerous cameo appearances. In 2004 Entertainment Weekly named her as one of the 25 funniest people in America.
Sykes was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. Her father served as a US Army colonel employed at the Pentagon, and her mother worked as a banker. She attended Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, and went on to graduate from Hampton University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. After college, her first job was as a procurement officer with the National Security Agency (NSA), where she worked for five years.
Not completely satisfied with her role with the NSA, Sykes began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC, where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience. She continued to hone her talents at