Sykes, 58, is set to MC the 2022 Academy Awards alongside Regina Hall and Amy Schumer on Sunday, March 27, and Kimmel, 54, wasn’t afraid to discuss how little he was paid for hosting by himself in 2017 and 2018. The Upshaws star, however, said she didn’t realize that taking the hosting position would be so low-paid.
“I was like, ‘Uh, I guess, I gotta say yeah, right?’ You gotta say yes,” Sykes said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday, March 21. “I was real excited about that, but then I realized, out of all the jobs that I have, this one is actually gonna cost me money.”
The late-night personality confirmed that the gig isn’t known for paying well. “It is going to cost you money. Will you say how much you get paid for this?” Kimmel asked.
“I don’t even know it’s, like, scale probably,” Sykes claimed. The term applies to those in the union, SAG-AFTRA. Scale for a low-budget film in 2022 is $686 per day or $2,382 per week.
“It’s less than that,” the former host assured her. “I got paid $15,000 to host the Oscars. And there’s one of me! You guys will probably have to split that.”
The comics noted that the planning process starts long before the red carpet is rolled out. “It sounds like a lot for one night, but it’s months of work leading up to it,” Kimmel emphasized.
The Brooklyn born comedian joked that she should renegotiate now that it’s too late to replace her. “You’re getting robbed. You know what? Hold out right now because they need hosts, you know?” he said.
The New Adventures of Old Christine alum, however, has a different plan. “Well, I’ve already decided I’m just going to steal an Oscar,” she teased.
Sykes went on to preview a few of her plans for Sunday’s big show and how sharing hosting duties with Schumer, 40, and Hall, 51, will allow them to collaborate and take individual moments to shine between awards.
“We’re going to share a monologue at the top of the show, and then you’ll see us in different [set ups],” she explained. “Either we’ll be together, it might be two of us, it might be one of us, who knows?”
It all came back to her paycheck, though. “To be honest, it’s like whoever gets drunk is gonna be the one that’s backstage,” the Virginia native laughed. “So if you see Amy and Regina out, you can just go, ‘Wanda’s drunk, she’s backstage — drunk.'”
Sykes told Kimmel she’ll have a drink after the first act. “I’m here to have fun, it’s not like I’m getting paid,” the comedian quipped. “Get what you pay for. You want sober Wanda, you gotta add some more zeroes and move that comma. You’re getting Free Wanda.”
The Oscars air live on ABC Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET.