Alonzo Bodden pulls up a chair to the Comedy Roundtable to answer questions about topics Mountain Gurus and Plains, Trains and Automobiles. Tune in to hear about his love for motorcycles and his great dane, Hulk.
Alonzo has been making audiences laugh around the world for the past twenty years. He is a regular panel member on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Catch his latest comedy special Alonzo Bodden: Stupid Don’t Get Tired, available on YouTube from Helium Comedy Studios. Also check out his fourth stand-up special, Alonzo Bodden: Heavy Lightweight, which premiered exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
You may have seen him win season three of NBCʼs Last Comic Standing, on which Alonzo was first introduced to America. He has also appeared 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 a repeat guest on The Joe Rogan Experience.
A car and motorcycle aficionado, Alonzo hosted Speed Channel’s 101 Cars You Must Drive and has joined Jay Leno for several off-road trips on his CNBC series Jay Leno’s Garage. Alonzo was a field correspondent on Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson and a contributor on the Science Channel’s How to Build Everything.
Alonzo currently hosts the podcast Who’s Paying Attention? (part of All Things Comedy) where he gives his unique take on what’s going on in the world.
Be sure to follow Alonzo on Twitter and Instagram.
Alonzo Bowden, welcome. I just want everyone to know it literally is a round table. Indeed. We're sitting at a room comedy roundtable. We are adjacent to the punch line comedy club in Atlanta. You are about to go on stage for a second show this evening. Yes, first show seemed like it was a good audience. Good show was great fun. It's good to be back. This is one of those shows that with the pandemic and everything was rescheduled at least four times over the past two years. So many, so it's good, like, okay, it's finally actually happening. Quick, easy format, we select three topics you choose, and then we roll right through them. So your topics to choose from this evening, our planes, trains and automobiles, mountain gurus, or old school, new school. I'm going to choose the one I know nothing about. Let's go with mountain gurus, right mountain guru, starting with Jamie. All right. So Alonzo, something has been weighing very heavily on your heart and you need some guidance. And so you ascend to the top of the local mountain, where you've heard the world's most renowned guru lives. When you get to the guru Lodge and you pay your admission fee. You discover there are two gurus, comedian John Heffron, and comedian Tammy piscatella. But you can only get advice from one first question is do you ask for your money back? Absolutely, absolutely. Because of Gary Goldman's up not up there then there's no wisdom on the mouth. The smartest guy in comedy, the point of the smartest people I've ever met, so if he's not up there, well he actually runs the mountain behind the gurus and then second question, which guru do you choose to give you advice? I'm gonna choose half because it's going to be horrible advice, but we will get to laugh about it. We will he will somehow involve the takeover of a small village and and a Plan F always has a plan. There is always a scale is a plan is it we're gonna sell vitamins. We're gonna write right now he's doing children's book. Yeah, but he is actually doing it. But yeah, there's always a plan. What have I love that guy? I love Tammy and Tammy is going to give me the emotional side. Tammy is going to care and everything which is beautiful, but heavy is going to be like how can we hustle this? All right, Adam, when you got all right, well, I'm gonna save you the trip from going up the mountain and talking to the guru because I know what the Guru is gonna say he's gonna say, you want to find happiness. Look within yourself. And so my question to you is what makes you happy? Two things make me happy. My dog. What kind of dog is I have a great day named Hulk. Awesome. He is I described him as the Greatest Therapist I've ever had. So him and then riding my motorcycle being alone in my helmet is the most meditative place in the world. That's awesome. So those are the two things that make me happy. And there are a lot of women upset with both of those answers, because I've disappointed them. And it's okay, but it's in the bike. That's great. How often are you right? How often a week do you ride? I ride all the time. Everywhere. Like it's the question would be how often do I drive? Yeah, because I only drive when I have to like if I'm taking him somewhere like right now we're in an impossible heatwave. In La it's like triple digits every day. So I honestly have to drive him to the park to walk him because the black tops to hot dog to walk on this whole kind of a sidecar? No, no. You know, people ask about that. And there's a guy in Vegas who has a sidecar with his Great Dane. But LA traffic is crazier than your traffic. I'm not going to have my dog killed. Right right. La Uber driver who you know has to make a left turn from the right lane now. Yeah, so that's why I wouldn't do it. If he if it was more you know, rural or something. It'd be funny and it'd be a goof and I've seen it he's the guy's videos are always funny with his dog. But now LA traffic new. So ideally, you would be riding your motorcycle up the mountain and hope would be the one at the top of the mountain. Not John has to tell it. Yeah. How could be like, let me drop some knowledge on you. You want to know what makes you happy? How could just be Did you bring a ball? Yeah, you bring a ball. Okay, we're good. Let's spend some time. Good advice. Zen of the tennis ball. Happiness is in the ball. Find the ball. I don't think humans are ever as happy as a dog with a tennis ball. Right? You know, and it's specifically tennis balls. Like there is something about tennis balls that dogs like yeah, love them. Tennis balls only work because they're too small for him to chew through. Because Great Danes they're, they're super nice, which is good. His jaws are so powerful. And I've been on the forums and stuff and we left any toy marked indestructible. It's like it was destructible give it to a day. Yes. I see your challenge. It is hilarious. How fast like the big rope like a one inch diameter rope tied into a knot. Nothing. 30 minutes tops for us to throw at him. He bites through. I get cow knuckle bones, which is basically like the knee joint. Because it's like, bigger than a softball solid bone. He'll bite through it. I'm like, if you were mean. Yeah, no big deal. Oh yeah, they're super gentle giants. Maybe a bowling ball. Yeah, yeah. struct rolling pass. My question as it relates to mountain gurus is what is the career achievement that is still out there. That's a mountain you'd like to climb, and use it as an opportunity to kind of bring us up to speed with what are the projects you're working on right now? What are the things you're looking forward to this year? You know, Gina Brito, who is a brilliant comic and actress is is here for this show. She's here shooting a movie. And we were talking about acting. I've never done a lot of acting. The thing I would like to do, I would love to play a funny bad guy. And early in my career, I had a chance to do that. And I was bumped by some guy named Terry Crews. The Yeah, it came down to me or him and for some reason, the he got the role. And I'm friends with him. Now we laugh about it. But big audience, the arena crowds would be something to, you know, I've never done and I would be curious what that's like. I mean, now it's gotten so insane, right that Gabe and Burr are doing baseball stadiums, which is unthinkable, right? But but good for them lends itself to crowd work the day you're well. They're doing something but yeah, I would. I would love to do an arena show. That would be fun. But most of the things that I've done, I've even they're even like their dreams. I didn't have like, I didn't think about it. And then I got to do it. And I was like, wow, that was really cool. Yeah, you know. So, working with musicians, that's been the one I got a big jazz fan. And now I get to work with a ton of jazz musicians. So I love that I have coming up October 26 and 27th. I'm opening for Robert Glasper. At the blue note. Oh, wow. In New York. Glasser is the most creative, awesome, jazz keyboard player. Laila Hathaway is going to be there singing, she's phenomenal. And you know, the blue note, it's a jazz club, doing comedy in a jazz club has such a cool vibe to it now, but I look forward to that. So that would be the part of my career that I didn't expect because I was you know your fan. But you never expect to worship this. And now I work with a ton of jazz musicians. I didn't kind of the stand up kind of work originally in that kind of setting. It was the comedian was the transition between artists, the old pro like we you can't talk about Cosby anymore. I mean, he ruined his legacy. Right. But he opened for like Miles Davis. Yeah, way back when and Dick Gregory used to work with a ton of jazz musicians. Yeah, back in those days in the 50s and 60s, there weren't comedy clubs, right. And jazz clubs were the one place that was open to stand up because it was this is like this creative art form, whatever. So yeah, going back to those days, a lot of comics. worked with a lot of jazz musicians. Yeah. Just short little acts between acts. Right. Yeah. Kept the show moving. Yeah. A lot of times people will think that they can stick comedians anyplace. They like, why don't why don't we just use comedians, right. There's plenty of comedians that early in their careers. We're working in strip clubs between dancers. And you know, I've done strip clubs. I've done bachelor parties at strip clubs. I'm like, this is a horrible idea. It's a bad idea. And I will take your money. I am for hire. So I will take the money. But it's this is how paying I will do worse. The worst idea and I wasn't around for it. But I guess in the 80s they had this idea of putting comedians on planes on Oh, dear guy likes. Yeah, too. Can you imagine how annoying and what a hell gig to entertain these poor people were trapped on a plane and forced to listen to. Right? Yes, someone leaves that club. It's really bad. Now. I have a buddy who's a pilot. And I have been trying to write more humorous announcements for him in a way that won't cause him to also lose his job. Right? Because I would just be curious, could you punch up your announcements? Yeah, right. No, punch up the announcement. Southwest tried that. But people were annoyed because they're like, No, I want to go where I'm going. I don't need you to be funny right now. Just let's go. Let's clever more. Go. Go. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. All right. That's a good place to kind of bring this segment to an end. And we'll be more more clever. Let's go go. We'll be back with Alonzo bone right after this here on the comedy roundtable. All right. Here's my question for you. Let's go. At what age did you start being willing to being the passenger on a motorcycle? Whoo. That's a really good question. I think for me, it was puberty. Are we talking sidecar or backseat backseat? Yeah. Oh, no. Thank you riding behind our arms around. That's a child you wouldn't ride on a motorcycle with someone? No. Oh, I think that would be the coolest thing in the world for me, but I think after puberty I was out. Okay, so right now if I came over to the house, I was like, come on. We're gonna go grab a burger. And I showed up on a motorcycle you would not climb on the back of the motorcycle if you insisted I'd be okay with it. But I would be like really? And then he like yeah, let's just ride the bike and I'd be like, Okay, I wouldn't want to be on the back. I feel more comfortable. I could face backwards but I want to be in front of you. So I'm kind of like off guard man. We're talking about like, we're facing each other. We're facing each other. You're facing the road looking around me. I'm facing back clutching on for a lot of stuff that has to go on you to be comfortable with that. Oh, I thought we were talking you said backseat I would ride front seat not driving. No, no, I'm saying you are the passenger in the backseat. Passenger. don't embrace. don't embrace. Yeah. You're thinking about it, Adam, I think only in the case of life saving markets. Oh, that's a good call. I think that would be the only time but otherwise I'm out. Even when as a kid you wouldn't want to ride it as a little kid you would want to ride on the huggin on to your uncle's life saving emergency isn't mine or yours? Yours I'll bet you and you need me I bet you I can get you to drive me with me in the front facing the back. Oh my god, we're not playing the game probably. We're playing Yeah, so I so no, I would not even as a kid. No. Oh my God as a kid. I couldn't wait to get on a motorcycle. Yeah, so I'm not a motorcycle festival. I would have a hard time being a motorcycle but I wouldn't want to be sewing. Alright, so car all day. I'd like to Hatton the goggles and all that logos. sidecar all day. I just think it would be a bad motorcycle passenger. I don't know that the motorcyclist if they're not used to sidecar we just have me in the next lane the whole time. Like can we scoot over a little dangerous by the way to be a passenger? Oh, I think it's deadly as a patent. Did she hit with as a passenger? Yeah, she put her leg in the wrong spot. And I tailpipe burn verderflex Right. that have happened and she was sitting in front seat facing backwards. I'm done with them. Let's just go back to the guest. That sounds fair. comedy roundtable continues our guest a comedian Alonzo Bowden. We have two remaining topics playing trains and automobiles old school, new school of those two, which do you prefer? Let's do old school, new school for 100 out old school, new school starting with Jamie. I'm sad that we're not doing the planes, trains and automobiles, because there was a way of doing it. So you're not to ask that question. We don't want to give that question. But I'm sorry I just mentioned now he's worked hard on a question. He's trying to figure away. Give me the question. Please change. Oh, really? Oh, yeah. No, that was 1925 a program was established as part of the central buildings trade school in Manhattan. And then it changed his name to the Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades, which would eventually become known as Aviation High School. Yes. whose most famous alumni is one Alonza. Boat. Wow. Am I I'm not sure. I have declared you we have so yeah. Jamie says I believe no, you read nice. I think Tony Orlando went to aviation ever heard of them? Who was that? Lando ever heard of Toria? Landau, but I'll take the most famous aviation. So the first question is, do you get discounts on airfare? Absolutely not. Gonna get buddy passes? No. So when I worked as a mechanic for an airline, I worked continental for a while. You get all those benefits, you get flight benefits and buddy passes. You never get to use them. Because you don't have that kind of time to travel because you're traveling on standby. My parents loved that benefit. My parents flew all over the place because it's for your family. Right? So because I'm not married. So what if so they got to fly all over the place, usually in the front of the plane. And they were like, keep this job. We go hang out the airport all day. Yes, yeah. By flight. What was the mascot? Oh, from aviation? Yeah, I'd have no way I would remember to be the follow up question. What is the mascot? I could not find it. It's got to be the buddy passes. I don't think we had won this. So aviation. We were not good in sports. Our school was pretty much landlocked, like we didn't have a field. We were in Long Island City before it was a cool place to be when it was all industrial. The only sport we were good at was soccer because we had so many kids who had grown up in other countries very well. So they grew up playing soccer. So we had randomly even though we didn't have a field, had a very good soccer team. Because we had a lot of South and Central American kids on in the school and they grew up playing it. Yeah. But yeah, our other teams, our baseball team wasn't good. We didn't have a football team. So I I'm sure we had a mascot. I honestly do not remember what it was a football team would have had the special play the buddy pass. Yeah. Right. So we're doing planes, trains, planes, trains. We're in it. So unfortunately, the planes trains automobiles, it takes away your motorcycle, which I don't love. But they don't get any respect. Yeah, we're used to it. Now. I'm going to ask you to make a choice. You can only travel by one for the rest of your life and you can't travel by anything else. You don't you either get planes exclusively. Trains exclusively, or automobiles exclusively. And you can't random clothes, cars, cars. Yeah, yeah. That's what I'm thinking. If you're on a plane or a train, you're just a passenger. You're just riding along. Yeah, with a car you're involved and you can get everywhere in a car whereas a plane gets you close but then you're walking forever. What if you're full flying the plane driving the train or driving the car. Car car is better because cars get you everywhere. Trains are very limited in that they need track. Yes, trains are the worst. Technically a trackless train is a car. You know what I've flown planes like I have friends who are flight instructors, I've been up twice where I they like hit take it. It's not exciting because you don't have the sense of motion you get in a fast car on a fast motorcycle, because there's nothing around you to compare to compare it. So you're moving it, you know, you're moving 100 100 These are small planes, probably 100 miles an hour or whatever. But you have no feeling of it. Right. You know, I've always thought flying a helicopter would be cool. That's something I would have. I'd like to learn to do. Who knows? Maybe I'll do it one day, but I've always thought they were like motorcycles of the sky. TC from Magnum P I was probably the coolest guy and HTV so yeah, Burr, is it? Yeah, he is. Yeah, I met the guy who was his instructor. And he was telling me Yeah, talk billbergia Fly birth. I think he has a helicopter does, right. Yeah. So helicopter. So I went to a wedding recently where the bride and groom. They were at the venue in this pond has a hell of Pat in it. And then plane or a helicopter comes in bride and groom. And they helicopter off. And I sent verzi a and Bill a text and said, I think I have an idea for Sofia's wedding. Yeah. A friend of mine. He did that in Vegas. You know, you can get the helicopter and go to the Grand Canyon. And yeah, so he did this whole thing. He's gonna fly her by helicopter to Grand Canyon when they land. They lay out a picnic, and he was going to propose to her. She got air sick when I think landed. That's great growing up, like violent. Oh, that's great. All right, man. I appreciate you being here with us at the punch line and continued success. I always like when I turn on the radio and I hear your voice so that we don't tell me and other things. And listen, I would love to continue answering questions. But you know, you got to get paid everybody. We got to work. All right. All right. That was Alonzo Bowden. We kept him right up until the last right up until as long as I think I think they we snuck them out of the showroom because normally they come and give us a quicker heads up. Convenience. But that's all right. Anyhow, great night. Great guests. terrific guest if you don't listen to wait, wait, don't tell me. It's a terrific quiz show that's on no car. It's on most local affiliates, but also check out all of his material that is online. And it is Great Dane heavy. I am a Great Dane fan which I like. And also if you're into motorcycles and things like that as well. His social media is ripped with motorcycle content. Awesome. Catch you next time here at The comedy round table. Don't forget to put away your chair will always say one for a year.