Wanda Sykes, the Emmy Award–winning writer and stand-up comedian who costarred for five years on The Chris Rock Show, is now doing her own thing with her Fox sitcom, Wanda at Large.

Sykes plays Wanda Hawkins, a struggling stand-up comedian hired as an on-air correspondent by a Washington, D.C., political talk show. Like her real-life alter ego, Hawkins has a brash, bawdy style, spewing out eyebrow-raising barbs. Sykes recently took a break from taping the show (she also writes for and produces it) and from her work as a field correspondent for HBO’s Inside the NFL, to chat with us. Her wicked sense of humor took center stage.

I’m really getting into the whole spa thing these days. When I need to unwind, I do my best to squeeze in a massage. Letting somebody touch me is something new I’m trying out.

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The words I live by are Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck.” That says it all.

The hardest thing about being a comedian is resisting making a joke at an inappropriate time. Comedians look for the humor in every situation. The other day my mom called to tell me about a cousin who had just died. She said he was at the phone company paying his bill when he suddenly had a heart attack. I said to her, “Wow, was the bill that high?” I think she was a little pissed with me about that.

What’s the first thing I think God will say to me when I get to heaven? “Surprise!”