This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
by Mitchell Terpstra | COMEDY

At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000

The Joke Mechanic I

N 1992 Alonzo Bodden risked an unconventional career change and went from tweaking Stealth Bombers as an aircraft mechanic to tweaking punch lines as a comedian. “My favorite part of the job was making new employees laugh during the training sessions I had to conduct,” Bodden said. “So

when I got laid off, I thought it would be more fun to be an unemployed comedian than an unemployed aircraft mechanic.” And it has. Originally from Queens, NY, Bodden has taken his jokes

on the open road and open water – last month he spent two weeks in the Caribbean as part of the entertainment onboard the Smooth Jazz

RYAN HAMILTON February 3 - 5

ALONZO BODDEN February 10 - 12

Cruise – since leaving Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas, the two premier aeronautics manufacturers he used to work for. He’s also headlined at top comedy clubs from New York to L.A.;

yukked it up on Late Shows with Leno, Conan and Craig Kilborn; he’s starred in movies such as The Girl Next Door, Bringing Down the House and Scream 4; and he’s finished second place in the second season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and first place in the third season – though NBC dropped the show one episode before he was declared the winner. In contrast with his complaint-box stand-up routine, Bodden doesn’t do much complaining offstage. “There was one time I was stand-

ing outside The Improv in Hollywood, Cali., joking around with Dave Chapelle and Damon Wayans, and I remember thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here? This is so surreal,’” he said. Surreal or not, Bodden’s spot on the

sidewalk among comedians as great as Chapelle and Wayans is more deserved than he’ll admit. Standing more than six feet tall, muscular and shaven-headed, Bodden strikes a commanding presence on stage that he pairs with what has been called “a frightening wit.” He takes it up as his own personal mission to rail against the stupidity out there with a humor he describes as “cynically good natured, in an angry, suburban Negro kind of way.” Bodden cites Lewis Black and Chris Rock – two other pessimistic

ALONZO BODDEN Dr. Grins Comedy Club, Grand Rapids Feb. 10-12, show times at 8, 9 and 10:30 p.m. $15-20, (616) 356-2000

prophets of common sense – as icons he wouldn’t mind emulating onstage and has been pinned as one of the “Spawn of [George] Carlin,” along with Carlos Mencia, Sarah Silverman and other comedians of hilarious moral outrage. Next on Bodden’s to-do list: apply his discerning eye to a television

project called, “Who’s Paying Attention?” in which former foci of the media’s short attention span get revisited to see what’s become of them. “We live in a society with a three-second attention span,” Bodden

DARREN CARTER February 17 - 19

Ryan Hamilton Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids

Feb 3-5, show times at 8, 9 and 10:30 p.m. $10-$15;, (616) 356-2000

STEVE RANNAZZISI February 26 - 28


Idaho native-turned New York City transplant Ryan Hamilton is an-up-and coming comedian. Moving to New York City to further pursue his comedy career, it is clear through his routine that he experienced a major culture shock. His act focuses on how people react to him being from Idaho, by explaining that he may as well be from Narnia, and insisting that there is no reason to shovel potatoes. He has a friendly, enthusiastic, upbeat style. His delivery is a bit on the goofy side, without being too aggressive or slapstick. Hamilton has been a finalist in

Other Comedy Events | by Emily Midling ALONZO BODDEN

several national comedy contests, and was the winner of Sierra Mist’s America’s Next Great Comic competition.

Lewis Black State Theatre, Kalamazoo

Feb 17, 8 p.m.; $45 advance, $50 at the door, (269) 345-6500

Lewis Black is angry at the absurdity of life. A self- described “Pissed off optimist,” Black’s comedy is characterized by his loud, indignant ranting, simulated mental breakdowns and social commentary on everything from politics, to religion, to life in general. Black has hi- larious rants on everything from nuclear war to milk. Black is known for his “Back in Black” segment on “The Daily Show,” as well as his stand-up specials and numerous

said. “Every story has to be the greatest story ever. This new show is going to trace some of those previous ‘great stories’ and ask, ‘Where has swine flu gone?’ and ‘Have we fixed the brakes on the Prius yet?’” n

appearances on late-night TV. Black also just released a new book, I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas.

Steve Rannazzisi Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids

Feb 24-26 Show times at 8, 9 and 10:30 p.m. $10-$20;, (616) 356-2000

Known for his role as Kevin, the commissioner on FX’s “The League,” as well as being in several recent hit movies, Steve Rannazzisi is also a stand-up comedian. Rannazzisi worked the door at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard, watching modern comedy greats from which he was able to learn. Rannazzisi’s style includes a sharp, quick-paced delivery, and a quick wit, along with visual demonstra- tions and gestures.



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