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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Comedian Alonzo Bodden to come to UMass Boston

Comedian Alonzo Bodden to come to UMass Boston

Comedian Alonzo Bodden of Last Comic Standing fame is coming to UMass Boston on Thursday, September 6 to perform as part of the university’s “Colossal Comedy” series hosted by the Students Arts and Events Council.

Bodden, a two-time contestant and season five judge of the NBC talent contest, has also appeared in numerous film and television roles and has performed on countless talk shows. Bodden didn’t always make his living as a stand-up comic however; he is a former jet mechanic for Lockheed and McDonnel Douglas, and once worked on the uber-secret Stealth Bomber. Bodden then made the transition to comedy and began doing USO tours where he went from fixing broken bombers to entertaining the men who flew them.

These days Bodden is keeping busy shuttling from one stop to the next on a long comedy tour that has taken him from California to our very own UMB.

Mass Media: How long have you been doing stand-up comedy?

Alonzo Bodden: I’ve been doing comedy for fourteen years.

MM: Do you come from a comedic family? Are you known as the funny one?

AB: I come from a regular working family. I think my mother is the funniest one. My mom is kind of a natural smart ass.

MM: Is there a specific message that you try to impart to the audience in your comedy?

AB: No I don’t know that I’m trying to get across a specific message. If there had to be a message it would be WAKE UP!

MM: How does stand-up comedy compare to the work you’ve done on TV and in films?

AB: Comedy is the core of what I do. Everything else I’ve done has come from comedy… although movies pay a lot better. Other people move on and do other things and stop doing stand-up, but I can’t imagine not doing stand-up.

MM: How has your life changed since Last Comic Standing?

AB: The biggest thing that a TV show like that does for you is it gives you job security. You start getting recognized, and on occasion getting celebrity treatment, but I can’t go into a store and buy porn anymore. Everyone knows me. There’s no privacy. I have to download everything.

MM: You returned this season as a judge on LCS. How does being a judge compare to a contestant? Do you enjoy not having to fight for your job every week or would you rather be up on stage competing?

AB: The obvious difference is knowing I have the job. You see it from a different point of view. When I was competing my whole thing was survive until the next week. Now I sit back and start looking for originality. I realize a lot of people are doing the same thing.

MM: Excluding yourself. Who do you think is the funniest person in comedy today?

AB: My favorite right now is Lewis Black. I joke with Lew that I’d love to have his job. But it’s hard to pick. Jeremy Hotz is another guy I think is great. Comedy is subjective, for example Lewis Black, he’s rich, but so is Larry the Cable guy. So you can’t say one person is the funniest.

MM: Who was or is the biggest influence in your life as a comedian?

AB: Hard to say, I couldn’t say any one person. When I started I gave a lot to Cosby. I think Cosby is the funniest person who’s ever done it. Then I started to get more topical and [George] Carlin became a big influence.

MM: What is the most satisfying or rewarding experience that has come out of your work as a comedian?

AB: Having something to say and getting to say it. That to me is the most rewarding thing. Making people laugh always feels good, but the most satisfying bit is the bit that actually says something. I try to be topical, but stupid things can be funny too. We all have an arsenal of dick jokes.

MM: What else do you enjoy doing other than stand-up?

AB: The other thing I love doing is improv, I love making up stuff in the moment. Something that is going to be funny in that moment.

MM: What is something that most people don’t know about you?

AB: I can’t fight. I’m just big.

MM: Is there anything else that you would like to accomplish, either as a comedian or personally?

AB: I’ve got so much more to accomplish as a comic. There’s still ten levels that I want to learn. I want to be one of the great ones, up there with Chapel and Chris Rock and I still haven’t figured out how to make that mark.

MM: Do you have anything in the works that you would like to let your fans know about?

AB: I’m on the road every week. I’m doing more writing, blogs and stuff that like that, that people seem to be responding to.

So, why should you stop by the show this Thursday? Well first of all it’s free and perhaps Alonzo Bodden says it best; “live comedy is so much better than TV.”

Tickets for the show are free with a UMB student ID and $5 for others, and can be purchased at the door. The show will be held in the Campus Center Ballroom September 6th beginning at 7pm.