Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former aircraft mechanic is seeing his standup career soar

  • Print

Brad Oswald chatted with Alonzo Bodden at the News Café at noon today. Watch a replay below:

 

Watch live streaming video from winnipegfreepress1 at livestream.com

 

There are a few reasons Alonzo Bodden is glad to be bringing his comedy act back to Winnipeg, but this one's probably the simplest to explain:

"It's a summer gig."

Bodden, a New York-raised, Los Angeles-based comedian, has an indelible memory of his first visit to this city and Rumor's Comedy Club, which took place in the decidedly un-summer-like month of January.

"Actually, this is my Rumor's moment, my Rumor's memory: I was at Rumor's when I first got the call that I had been accepted to do Last Comic Standing," Bodden recalled. "It was January, it was 40 below, and my sinuses froze. I had never experienced that before. And when they asked if I wanted to come back to L.A. and do Last Comic Standing, I was like, 'Yes!'

Supplied photo
Alonzo Bodden

Enlarge Image

Supplied photo Alonzo Bodden

"So when they offered me the chance to come up in the summertime rather than the winter, I jumped at it."

Actually, despite his chilly introduction to our windswept Prairie town, Bodden -- who headlines at Rumor's this week from Wednesday to Saturday, as well as performing tonight at the 40th "Y" Sports Dinner -- has developed quite an affection for this place.

"I've had some great times at the club, and at the sports dinner," said Bodden, who has appeared at the annual Rady JCC fundraiser twice before. "I met Pete Rose there one year; I still see him sometimes at Caesar's Palace (in Las Vegas), and he remembers me, which is cool. And last year, I met Joe Montana, which was fantastic -- we had a flight at the same time the next morning, and we sat around at the airport talking about old aches and pains. How great is that?"

Bodden, who turned 50 earlier this month, added that his affection for Canada runs deep -- it was at Montreal's Just For Laughs festival in 1997 that his appearance at the New Faces show basically launched his professional comedy career.

"That's when I became a comic," he said. "That's when I gave up the day job and I was accepted by other comics -- the guys I looked up to (including the likes of standup veterans Dom Irrera and George Wallace) were suddenly talking to me like I was one of them. That was huge."

Bodden, who was working as an aircraft mechanic in L.A. when he first decided to try his hand at standup nearly 20 years ago, counts his appearances on NBC's Last Comic Standing as his other major career break. After a runner-up finish in the show's second season in the summer of 2004, Bodden took home the LCS title (and $250,000 top prize) in Season 3, which pitted the top comics from the first two seasons against one another.

"Last Comic Standing was my introduction to America," he explained. "When I was on the show, it was still a hit, and at its peak, we had anywhere from eight to 12 million viewers a week. So when you were walking through airports, people would recognize you -- I mean, they'd still strip your clothes off and search you before you boarded the plane, but at least they would call you by name while they did it.

"When you get a break like (Last Comic Standing), it's a matter of trying to maintain the momentum it creates."

Bodden said he had no problem with the reality/competition contrivances that were built into the NBC show -- essentially, the comics were forced to live under the same roof for a month during taping, and producers often tried to create feuds by pitting one comic against another, but the performers on the show all understood what was going on.

"We knew that was part of the game, so we didn't take it personally," he said. "The producers actually got mad at us, because by Season 3, we were all professional headliners who knew each other -- a lot of us had worked and travelled together -- so when they tried to make us fight, it didn't work.

"Comedy is competitive, but not in that way."

The rise of his comedy career has actually afforded Bodden the opportunity to pursue another of his life's passions -- fast motor vehicles. Since winning LCS, the comic has acted as host of the Speed TV series 101 Cars You Must Drive and the (U.S. cable) Travel Channel series America's Worst Driver.

"I've been a gearhead all my life -- I love cars and motorcycles -- and when people in the business found out, they called on me to host a couple of cool shows," he said. "The other thing that's nice is that they'll let me borrow stuff. And here's the difference between me and Jay Leno: They let Jay keep the stuff -- 'Hey, Jay, here's a new Harley'; with me, it's like, 'Hey, Alonzo, here's a brand new Audi; you can drive it for a week.'"

You can check out Alonzo Bodden's standup at www.alonzolive.com

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

COMEDY PREVIEW

Alonzo Bodden

Wednesday to Saturday

Rumor's Comedy Club

Tickets $17 (Wed./Thurs.) and $20 (Fri./Sat.), available at Rumor's

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2012 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google