Alonzo Bodden is another one of the veteran comics who should have graduated from the clubs a while ago. He might not be able to fill arenas a la Kevin Hart or Ricky Gervais, but he could certainly do small theaters that seat a thousand. His being a semi-regular on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” has to help — and he probably brings that many fans into comedy clubs when he does a whole weekend.
Nevertheless, he recorded this special at the Helium comedy club in Philadelphia earlier this year, released clips of it via social media, and now the whole thing is on YouTube for free. It’s a shame Netflix or HBO hasn’t given him his own streaming deal. Not only does he deserve the payday, but he’s much funnier than a lot of comics on those platforms.
In this show, Alonzo talks about sports, vaccines, cancel culture, pandemic dogs, and how Black women tell him things that always turn out to be right. I really like what he has to say about Black Lives Matter: “That doesn’t mean white lives don’t matter. If I say Save The Whales, it’s not like I want to kill dolphins!”
I do have two minor complaints. One is the unnecessary cutaways for audience reaction shots. It’s usually done for editing purposes, but when you have a multi-camera setup, you shouldn’t use them. We already hear the crowd laughing; we don’t need visual proof.
The other is the use of interstitial stuff with Alonzo backstage talking to the camera. That practice should be banned from all comedy specials. When you’re producing for online-only distribution, you have no time restrictions (e.g. make it fit into a one hour slot), so there’s no reason to pad with more content. If you have confidence in the performance — as Alonzo should — just show us the act.
Anyway, I find Alonzo insightful, clever, and really funny. See if you agree. This runs about 45 minutes.