Alonzo Bodden: Makes you laugh (when he's not donating kidneys)
As big and intimidating as Alonzo Bodden is, he could be an ex-football star, a bodyguard or a hitman, but instead he uses his talents as a comedian.
Bodden was working in Los Angeles, teaching aircraft mechanics when he took a joke-writing class. To graduate, he had to do a showcase. From that first set, Bodden says, “I was hooked.” Then he started doing all the Los Angeles open mics and eventually worked as a doorman at the Laugh Factory, where he would fill in for empty slots or comedians who didn't show.
Bodden used that stage time wisely and went on to become the Season 3 winner of NBC's “Last Comic Standing” in a finale that never aired. “I still got the money, so me and NBC are cool,” Bodden says.
He released a comedy special through Comedy Central, and is busy on the acting front, playing a writer on the upcoming season of “Californication.” When he isn't acting as a writer, he is busy writing his new one-hour special he will release through the new Comedy Epix Channel.
But his biggest gig this year was on March 26, when he was in a hospital bed donating a kidney to his brother. Bodden recovered remarkably fast, and was back on stage quickly trying all his new kidney-donor jokes. Bodden will be bringing those kidney-donor jokes and many others to Latitude 40 on June 22 for one show only, at 9 p.m.
Question: So, how hard was it to donate a kidney to your brother and how are you now?
Answer: It was surprisingly easy. I went into the hospital on Tuesday the 26th, was out that Friday and on stage April 4. I was happy to help my brother. I feel great.
Q: How is your brother now?
A: He needed more recovery than me. But he's doing great.
Q: I like the fact that even though you could be a larger-than-life act, you are a true monologist. Is that intentional?
A: Yes, I guess I'm classic or old school. I learned standup at the Comedy Store watching George Wallace, Damon Wayans and Robin Harris (who died in 1990). Robin Harris seemed to speak right to me.
Q: You started off in Los Angeles; did that help you or hurt you?
A: I don't know if it helped or hurt. L.A. just happened to be where I started. One thing, I was able to watch all the comedy greats and how they did it. So I guess, in that regard, it helped me.
Q: What's next for Alonzo Bodden?
A: I don't know. I'm kind of in the middle. When I started comedy, I missed the great comedy boom of the 1980s and the YouTube comedy of today. I'm glad to have consistent work.
Q: What are your goals?
A: There are three goals for any comedian: To make a living (as a comedian); I've been fortunate to do that. To make a name for yourself and to be famous would be great — because it would give me that freedom.
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.