Q: Alonzo, you are an amazing writer. When I took a comedy writing class last year, the instructor specified that what separates good comedy from bad comedy is not the writing, but the re-writing process. Do you agree with that statement? If so, why?
A: Well, writing it the first time gets the idea on paper which is good because truthfully, I’ve forgotten some funny stuff. Once you start performing it you see how it works then you rewrite it. Sometimes adding or changing a word makes it work. Sometimes an idea won’t work and I get back to it months later.
New comics usually talk too much without getting to the point so re-writing teaches them to edit. After a while the edits become automatic.
Q: How much time do you spend per week on your ‘act’? What is your writing process like?
A: I don’t have a set amount of time. Depends on what I’m doing. Right now I work on it a lot because I keep needing new material for Last Comic Standing. TV burns material pretty fast. The writing process starts in a notebook or on a napkin. Eventually it makes the computer but I like writing things out by hand.
Q: I knew you looked familiar (besides LCS, people!). I’ve seen you act on Grounded for Life. What sort of role will acting play in your future career aspirations? What kinds of roles would you like to get?
A: My dream role is a bad guy with a sense of humor. I like acting and it pays great but right now I’m doing the show and touring so there’s no time to audition. My acting coach says the mindset for acting and standup are completely different so stand up is it until next year when there’s time to audition. I hope I never become one of those actors that takes himself too seriously.
Q: You are no stranger to Reality TV talent competitions, Mr. Bodden. You won the comedy competition on PAX TV’s Next Big Star. What was that experience like? What sorts of differences do you see between that show and Last Comic Standing?
A: Last Comic Standing has better comics and a much bigger audience. I’m tired of competitions but the experience makes me better at it. The trick is getting the most material in the least amount of time.
Q: You’re currently on tour with both Gary Gulman and Jay London. You all have appeared on Season 2 and Season 3 of Last Comic Standing. However, that’s where the similarities seem to end. How do three comics with such different styles tour together?
A: It gives the audience what they want, 3 different styles. We also probably sell more tickets because there’s something for everyone. We get along OK, too.
Q: How does one go from being a jet mechanic to a stand-up comedian? Tell me a little bit about how you came by your career as a comic.
A: This is the question people ask most so forgive me if the answer seems canned. I was teaching new mechanics and had more fun making them laugh. I started talking about becoming a comic and a friend showed me an ad for a class. I took it because I didn’t want to be the only one onstage for the first time. From my first show I loved it and then I just started doing open mikes and working my way up.
I did get laid off from McDonnell Douglas and went to work as a driver for power rangers that supported me until I went to the Montreal Comedy festival. After the festival I became a comic full time.
Q: What sorts of advice do you have for young or aspiring comedians?
A: Stage time. Get as much stage time wherever you can
Q: Who are your three favorite comics of all time and why?
A: Cosby is simply the best ever. Great stories about ordinary life or using his imagination to change stories, like his “Noah’s Ark bit”.
Richard Pryor. He’s raw and real.
George Carlin – makes you laugh and think. I love that and think that’s the true test of a good joke
Q: Why do you think Last Comic Standing has become so popular?
A: I think people love stand up, good stand up. It’s not formulated like sitcom comedy. Reality fans like us because we bring a talent to the show. We’re not just 10 people at random fighting and having sex.
Q: Your website, like yourself, Mr. Bodden, is awfully cool. Would you mind telling my readers about http://www.alonzobodden.com?
A: My brother’s a computer guy. He helped with the site. It’s got pictures and you can order my CD there too! The best thing is the buzzboard. Fans can chat with me and each other. Check it out. there are some updates being done to make the calendar easier to understand. There could be even more stuff if I could type. [ha,ha]
(NOTE TO READERS: The CD is called It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time! Alonzo’s being modest too. He actually is very responsive to his fans and checks his ‘buzzboard’ often!)
Q: Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about you?
A: Well, I love shopping and clothes. Motorcycles are my true passion. I love the comedy above all. I mean the money and fame are great but it’s making the people laugh, especially with something new or improved at the moment that really works. One day I’ll be doing a comedy jazz piece. Total improv with a musical background.
Also, I’m a nice guy, don’t let the exterior fool you.
Don’t forget to check Alonzo out on this season of Last Comic Standing or at a comedy club near you. His website is great. Visit it at http://www.alonzobodden.com!
Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos, over and out. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Alonzo via his web site. Show him your love.