A regular panel member on NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me, Alonzo Bodden has been making audiences around the country laugh for more than 20 years. In his stand-up special, Heavy Lightweight, which streams on Amazon Prime Video this summer, he goes from heavy topics like slavery, politics, and the #MeToo movement, to lightweight topics such as millennials, yoga pants and Taco Bell. some topics you cant categorize like Kanye West. As he says, “he likes to mix it up and hopes that audiences will join him for a laugh and a think, or two.”
His first big comedy break came when he was on the “New Faces of Comedy” showcase at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, but it was as the season three winner of NBCʼs Last Comic Standing, where Alonzo was first introduced to America. Since then, he has starred in two comedy specials for Showtime: Historically Incorrect and Who’s Paying Attention. He’s also made appearances on ABC’s Dr. Ken and Fresh Off the Boat, Dr. Phil, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and Californication.
He’s also hosted the live touring version of Family Fued, the Just For Laughs comedy awards show along with numerous charity fundraisers
A car and motorcycle aficionado, Bodden hosted Speed Channel’s 101 Cars You Must Drive and America’s Worst Driver on the Travel Channel, and has joined Jay Leno for several trips on his CNBC series Leno’s Garage. He was also a field correspondent on Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson, and a contributor on the Science Channel’s How to Build Everything.
Last year, Alonzo released his fifth comedy CD titled Man Overboard, and currently hosts the podcast Who’s Paying Attention? where he gives his unique take on what’s going on in the world.
Q. If you are in recovery, what was your Drug of Choice? and when did you stop using? A. Mainly Cocaine, but I drank and smoked weed. I never turned down a drink because I wanted some coke.
Q. Have you ever been arrested and if so, for what? A. Once for possession of crack cocaine. It was my bottom.
Q. Do you think addiction is an illness, disease, a choice or a wicked twist of fate. A. I’d say disease or illness but as the book says I don’t think science has figured it out yet. I don’t think it’s a choice, I guess having the addict gene could be a wicked twist of fate if you believe in wicked twists and such.
Q. Do you log on to ZOOM 12-step meetings? How often? Do you share? A. Yes, I do Zoom meetings and lead them quite often at least once a week
Q. Have you added anything to your tool-kit to help keep you sober during the pandemic? A. Sober, social distance, walk with a friend of mine
Q. Where did you grow up? A. Queens, NY
Q. From what school or teacher did you learn the most? A. I can’t remember one in particular.
Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to? A. Something related to children and books.
Q. Do you have any children? A. No
Q. Have you started any new projects because of the quarantine? A. I’ve learned to jump rope as part of my workout. Haven’t started the autobiography just yet.
Q. If you ever retire would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, mountaintop or penthouse? A. Mountain or Penthouse.
Q. What is your favorite hotel or resort? A. I’m a comic I’ve probably stayed in a few hundred hotels overthe last 20 years. Can’t pick one as a favorite. Marriotts are my favorite chain.
Q. What is your biggest or littlest pet peeve? A. Loud, rude people.
Q . Who has had the biggest influence on you throughout your life? A. My mother.
Q. If you were giving a dinner party for your 3 favorite authors, living or dead, who would they be? (choose 4 if you think one might be too drunk or stoned to attend.) A. Tim Dorsey, Jeffrey Deaver, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Q. What books are you reading now? A. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, Spider Man by Miles Morales Omnibus.
Q. What is your FAVORITE Radio show, news show, podcast? A. Marcus Miller Jazz on Sirius XM.
Q. What is your FAVORITE APP? A. Instagram
Q. Are you bingeing on any TV series? If so which ones.? A. Justified, Animal Kingdom, Fargo.
Q. Which film have you watched the most? A. Probably the Star Wars movies.
Q. Who is your FAVORITE Director? A. Steven Spielberg
Q. What is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist? A. It changes — it depends on what day you catch : Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, Stanley Clarke, The Weather Report.
Q. What is your FAVORITE Broadwaymusical/play? A. Hamilton
Q. What is your FAVORITE City? A. Montreal
Q. What is your FAVORITE restaurant? A. I eat out all the time. No one favorite, but I love Italian food.
Q. What is the best piece of adviceyou’ve been given? A. Don’t take myself too seriously. That and never miss an opportunity to shut up.
Q. What is the best piece of advice YOU’VE given? A. Learn to forgive yourself.
Q. What is the greatest risk you have ever taken? A. Giving up aircraft career for stand up comedy.
Q. What is your biggest regret? A. Not learning to love, never trusting that.
Q. What is the proudest moment in your life? A. New Faces of Comedy at Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal; That night I became a pro comic.
Q. What is your favorite Weekly News Bulletin? A. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.
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