I hadn't written much about Alonzo Bodden in a long while, but I hadn't forgotten about him. Neither had Bob Read and Ross Mark, the comedy bookers for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the show that it's called currently, who also put Bodden on the national scene as part of the second and third seasons of Last Comic Standing.
They brought Alonzo Bodden back to the show on Monday night, wherein he delivered a sharply focused set devoted to all of the contagious diseases we've been told would be pandemics, and how the media loves to scare us to death about it -- until something else comes along such as Michael Jackson. So sit back and take a nostalgic ride back through the swine flu, tomatoes, spinach, bird flu, SARS, Mad Cow and the killer bees. Did he mention Y2K? Because that was scary, too. Bodden also mentions the worries about illegal aliens, and he walks right up to the Mexican border wall joke but does not go for the hack punchline that has befallen other comedians. Thank goodness for the fresh take on that. As well as the local "carpool lane on the 405" reference for the Angelenos. Roll it!
A sixth Last Comic Standing will be named tonight on NBC (well, that's the plan, anyhow), so let's check my comedy club calendar and see what the first five winners are up to this weekend...
Dat Phan is at the Improv in Temecula, Calif., tonight through Saturday.
John Heffron is taping a new DVD at the OC Pavilion in Santa Ana, Calif., on Saturday.
Alonzo Bodden appears to have this weekend off, but will be performing later this month at the Ice House in Pasadena, Calif., and Hilarities in Cleveland.
Josh Blue is at the Funny Bone in Dayton, Friday through Sunday.
Jon Reep is at the Improv in Houston, Friday through Sunday.
In 2006, Alonzo Bodden was the unknown winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing, and here is what he had to say about the aftermath of that (this is all before he came back in 2007 to be a judge on the show).
Ant, who never came close to winning on the second or third editions of LCS, somehow seemed to get more TV work than Bodden. What's that about?
"I guess it's because Ant's more of a Hollywood guy. Ant will talk s--t. Ant will stir up trouble, whereas I won't. Ant will play the game. He used the show to play a bitchy gay guy, and then VH1 hired him to play a bitchy gay guy (for Celebrity Fit Club and other programs). Ant can change his level of gay. The most fascinating thing in the world. He can be less gay and more gay."
What should viewers make of LCS? "There's no way viewers know this, but how do I put it? Creative editing. What they'll do is take segments and put them together to make it look like an argument was going on, or they'll make someone look like they had an attitude. Like they made Tammy (Pescatelli) look like a bitch. She wasn't. They just caught her when she was mad." Also: "It's kind of like a regular election. It's about popularity."
I'd opened for Bodden and Gary Gulman when they were both competing in 2004. Here's Bodden's take on Gulman: "You know what's funny about Gary, and they don't show that on TV, but Gary is smart. He's like a scholar. We were talking about dick jokes and he quoted Shakespeare. This guy is too smart to be a comic! And he is tall."
Winning LCS also has privileges such as multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. What's that like? "I did my third one last month. You learn that the crowd is really hot. They're going to be with you right from the start so you just go out and rock it, right from the start. When I do a Tonight Show, I get, 'I can't believe they let you say that.'" In his first appearance, for instance, Bodden talked openly about ogling female gymnasts. "The most fun on the first show was making Tom Arnold near fall out of his seat laughing."
News flash...I'm proud to report that I'm hosting the shows this weekend at the Tempe Improv with Alonzo Bodden, Gary Gulman and Jay London of NBC's hit stand-up comedy show, Last Comic Standing. Last night's show was sold-out, two shows tonight, two shows Saturday, and now two shows Sunday. The crowd was electric last night. Good times. Good times. And yes, ladies, Gary really is dreamy, Alonzo really is nice and Jay really is shy. If you're in the area and can catch the show, be sure to say hello. Thank you.