Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Susan Cross: Which do you enjoy most, standup, TV or movies?
Wanda Sykes: My first love is standup because that’s where everything started. TV, movies came along as being known for doing standup. But I do have to say that I love the paycheck of TV and the New Adventures of Old Christine is the best show I’ve had in TV. I absolutely love it over there. The writers are great but I do still love the excitement of doing standup.
Susan Cross: Since you and Julia [Louis-Dreyfus] have backgrounds as writers do you contribute or stick to the script?
Wanda Sykes: I am scripted. They do a great job so I’m not going to do something to change what works fine. The character of Barb is pretty defined so it makes it a lot easier to follow the script.
Susan Cross: Is there something that you would like to do that you haven’t done?
Wanda Sykes: I have a show coming up and that will probably be the top rung for me – doing the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on May 9th . I’m very excited about doing that. Actually that wasn’t even on my radar when I thought of different things I want to do so when it came up it was like WOW! Before the President? It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I’m one bad joke away from getting deported or something. I made sure all my taxes are up to date; everything is good; staying out of any scandals or anything; I don’t have any dealings with Bernie Madoff, so that’s all good.
Susan Cross: Do you think that aging is different for men and women?
Wanda Sykes: For men it seems like they don’t talk about it as much as we do. It doesn’t seem like it’s as much of a concern for them. Men, they get older, they just date younger. We have all kinds of things going on – body issues and all kinds of stuff. With men, a little Viagra and that’s pretty much they’re chore – date younger.
Susan Cross: If you were going to be reincarnated what would you like to come back as?
Wanda Sykes: Oprah!
Susan Cross: In your personal life have you gotten green?
Wanda Sykes: Yes, but the doctor gave me an ointment and he said it should clear up. Oh, you mean GREEN. Oh yeah, I recycle; I drive a hybrid; I do the light bulb thing. You try.
Susan Cross: Is there anyone you’ve worked with that you’d like to work with again?
Wanda Sykes: I’d like to work with Jane Fonda again but hopefully I can get her to lift that restraining order. And Chris Rock but I would have to lift my restraining order against him. Steve Carell is great.
Susan Cross: Have you seen a change in your fan base over the years?
Wanda Sykes: Yeah, people are getting fat. I got to play bigger venues but it’s not because there’s more people it’s because the people are just more! We’re all at the age where we’re spreading. Even me, I need a bigger stage. I’m getting more of a cross section of people now and that’s good.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
This is an excerpt from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me back in 2007. The material is copyrighted by Susan Cross and cannot be copied, published or duplicated without permission.
Copyright Charles Wells Photography
If the title doesn't show at first, refresh the page to listen.
Leroy Cooper had a wonderful life. His musical accomplishments include about 20 years as baritone sax player and bandleader for Ray Charles.
In addition, he was a great story teller. I had the great honor of sitting wth him and listening to him recount his tales. Here is a little clip about how his interest in music first developed.
To see Leroy back in 1975 leading the Ray Charles Orchestra, click here:
You can hear Joe Adams introduce him. The man with the very large Afro hairstyle playing keyboards when Ray comes out is the magnificent Ernest Vantrease, a.k.a. The Deacon. Ernest was with Ray for about 30 years and now plays keyboards for B.B. King.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thank you to Tony Noland for providing the audio for this to help wish my husband a happy birthday. Visit Tony Noland at his own site to hear more audio recordings and read his fabulous writing!