With such an imposingly large frame, Alonzo Bodden is a surprisingly soft-spoken comedian. He has made a name for himself with his outstanding comedic timing and style. As part of his national tour, Bodden entertained audience members this past weekend at the Ann Arbor Comedy Club.
As the winner of the third season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Bodden beat out other now well-known comedians to claim his title. Curiously, the finale was shown on Comedy Central instead of on NBC. Bodden commented on the switch as part of his act — “As soon as NBC found out the black guy had won, they shipped it to Comedy Central.”
Thanks to television appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Apollo,” Bodden has rapidly been gaining popularity. He also appeared in several films including the teen comedy “The Girl Next Door” and the family-friendly “Bringin’ Down the House,” and has gone on United States Officer’s tours to entertain troops around the world.
Bodden didn’t start out performing comedy. In fact, Alonzo spent over nine years as a jet mechanic working on DC-10s and the stealth fighters. However, Bodden found more enjoyment entertaining his coworkers than actually working with them and left to pursue a career in comedy.
As expected, Bodden’s live act was a bit edgier from what was seen on “Last Comic Standing.” “NBC wouldn’t let me tell this one joke because it involved kicking a midget. Fox would have let me kick a midget. In fact, they would have asked if I could light it on fire first and then kick it,” Bodden said. Despite his strong language, Bodden never broke his calm composure, or his cynical, laid-back appeal.
The best part of Bodden’s act was his interaction with the audience. During Thursday night’s performance, two engineering students received more than they had bargained for when he attempted to set them up with multiple women in the audience. While showcasing the students, Bodden joked “Come on, ladies, they are engineers. Take them home and they will build you a bookcase or something.” His act was enhanced by his quick wit and smooth ability to adapt to his audience.
Although Bodden’s material was a bit recycled, tapping overused topics such as the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show and President Bush, his cynical style and speedy delivery still made the performance worth seeing. He did, however, succeed with the ever-popular jokes about stereotypes. “With every stereotype comes the good and the bad. For instance, Asians have that whole bad driving thing, but they are also really smart. Then Mexicans always have like 30 people in their car, but they are all going to work, ” Bodden said.
Throughout his entire act, Bodden remained comfortably good-natured, making it easy for audience members to laugh at political correctness and race issues. The comedian stressed that it was important to laugh at ourselves instead of taking everything so seriously.