You never know which stars will be generous with their time and which ones will watch the clock like a hawk.
Prince once asked me to join him at a rehearsal, then he gave me an hour-and-a-half interview and showed me his lyrics-in-progress journal.
Two Mondays ago, Chazz Palminteri invited me to Piero's for a dinner with friends, and it lasted the length of the Patriots-Dolphins game, which we watched.
I asked Wanda Sykes for an interview, and she gave me seven minutes on the phone. It had to be a phoner because she wasn't in town. But seven minutes? Seriously, Wanda?
I could fill this page by telling you why I love Wanda, but since she couldn't find an eighth minute for me, I can't find the motivation to talk up her shows today and Saturday at Planet Hollywood Resort. Here's her phoner.
Publicist: I have Wanda for you. This is going to be about 10 minutes. I'll chime in when time's up. Wanda, you're on with Doug from Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Me: How's it going?
Wanda: I'm OK, yeah. Thank you. Baby slept until 7:30 (a.m.), so that's a good day for us.
Me: How's mommyhood going?
Wanda: Good. They do baby stuff. It's good.
Me: Do you have nannies to help you sleep in?
Wanda: We do, but there's no sleeping in. We get up when they (the babies) get up. She (the nanny) pretty much takes over for a few hours during the day. But with twins, you're always involved.
Me: I thought you celebrities have nannies that raise your kids so you never have to see them.
Wanda (laughing): No, no, no. Can't do that. That's how your babies will end up trying to kill you in your sleep someday. You know, we happen to like our babies. We like spending time with them. It's weird. Maybe it's a sign I'm not successful enough.
(See, that answer is funny, which is why I love Wanda.)
Me: I'm happy for you.
Wanda: So you're not up for baby-sitting. Gotcha.
Me: You're gonna think this is crazy, but if I could build a woman from scratch, I'd either give her big curly red hair or your hair. I love your hair.
Wanda: Well, thank you. I will try to continue that.
Me: Have you ever seen Chris Rock's documentary, "Good Hair"? (It's about the dangerous, chemically enhanced "creamy crack" hair goo that black women put in their hair to straighten it.)
Wanda: I thought he did a great job. I loved it. It was really funny. It was poignant. It was truthful, too. That's why I left the "creamy crack" alone. I said, "You know what? I'm tired of going every other month to get this cream-perm that burns your scalp. I'm going to go natural. It's so much easier." It is just nuts how much time and money African-American women put into their hair.
Me: So that's your real hair? It's not a wig?
Wanda: Yeah, it's my hair.
Me: Your hair is beautiful. Why would any (black) woman mess with their hair?
Wanda: I guess it's been taught. The image has been passed down that curly hair scared white people. I think straight hair -- white people can relax (around it) a little more. When you think of a big bush, you think of Angela Davis and radicals. So you know, that's really my intention -- to try to scare white people. Clearly it's not working, because you find it beautiful. (Laughs.)
Me: So you're coming to Vegas. Tell me about your stand-up right now.
Wanda: I'm covering a lot of bases in this (show) -- age, relationships. A lot of it boils down to: At the end of the day, we all have the same problems.
Me: I know you joke about things that make you angry about people who criticize Obama. What makes you the angriest?
Wanda: I don't mind criticism of the president. It's all the lies that annoy me. People are dumb. A lot of people believe (the lies): "He wasn't born here. He's a Muslim." That's just nuts. It makes me mad. (I hear one of Wanda's babies crying in the background.)
Publicist: Doug, last question please?
Me: What lie upsets you the most?
Wanda: It's the "birthers," the people saying he's not really the president. If we can't even get to the place where we say he's the president, how do we move forward?
Me: If you were president, what would you do?
Wanda: What would I do? Oh man! Where do you start? Oh boy. Um. Yeah. I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. Yeah.
Publicist: All righty, Doug, you're all set?
And, my seven minutes are up.
Doug Elfman's column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@ reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.