Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Alonzo Bodden (NBC's "Last Comic Standing")

RealityCheckByGina talks to Alonzo Bodden, the former winner of Last Comic Standing, and this season's judge.

RC: Where did your stand-up career begin and how old were you?
Alonzo: I started in L.A. and I didn't know you weren't supposed to start there. I did open mic nights anywhere I could - bowling alleys, coffee houses. I started late, I was 30. I used to fix airplanes ... before they started drug testing.

RC: What was the biggest struggle on your way to the top?
Alonzo: I don't know if there was a struggle because I always loved doing it but the hustle of it was trying to make a living. I was a truck driver for the Power Rangers, which was cool because I ended up doing monster voices. I installed televisions. I would take any gig.

RC: What was the experience like when you were a contestant on "Last Comic Standing"?
Alonzo: It's stressful. Imagine going to work and every Tuesday, someone's gettin' fired. I look back and see the enormity of it, though. I just focused on the room that night, otherwise you go crazy. I would just try to kill every time.

RC: What's the biggest perk of being the winner of season 3 & doing extremely well in season 2?
Alonzo: Besides the money? The money was great but I'd have to say becoming a household name. There's job security: the jobs come a lot easier. People recognize you, sometimes you get to go to the front of the line. Last week, I went to a motorcycle race in Monterey, CA and I got to sit in the Michael Jordan Hospitality Tent. That was pretty cool. I'm still waiting for my date with Halle Berry.

RC: What made you want to come back as a judge for season 5?
Alonzo: It was a great gig to be back on tv every week. We're all trying to make this season better than ours was. Working with Kathleen is great and Ant ... well, being Ant must be a 24 hour job. He cracks me up.

RC: You seem like the toughest judge to make laugh. What are you looking for in a good comic?
Alonzo: Well, I'm looking for someone who's funny, of course, and originality. I want someone who has a different take on things. It's hard to explain, some people just have it. Sometimes, there's good comics who choose the wrong material for auditions and it's such a mistake. I need someone who's sustainable, not the same jokes we've heard.

RC: This show is now on it's third host. What does Bill Bellamy offer that sets him apart?
Alonzo: Bill is phenomenal. He's so enthusiastic about the show. Jay Mohr was a smartass. I liked it but a lot of people didn't. Anthony Clark didn't seem too into it. The funniest thing Bill would do was tell the comics we cut, "I wanted you to make it!" Man, Bill, don't be blamin' it on us!

RC: Who are your comedic influences, past & present?
Alonzo: My all-time favorite is Bill Cosby. Now, I love Louis Black. The highest compliment I ever got was I got written up in Playboy as a modern George Carlin.

RC: You are someone who always gets out on the road. Where can your fans find you?
Alonzo: This month, I'll be in Ontario, Miami, and Omaha. My fans can always find my on my website & MySpace. My agent wears a furry hat & drives a Cadillac!

A new episode of Last Comic Standing airs tonight on NBC!

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