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Alonzo Bodden on Comedy and Recovery in the Age of Trump

Published date : October 14, 2018

"Although my life may seem good, meetings remind me that I'm still an addict and an alcoholic. It only remains great by maintaining my resurrection." Image via Troy Conrad In accordance with his website,"Alonzo's material is'cynically good-natured.' Well, the older he gets, the good-natured it i-

An in-depth interview with comedian Alonzo Bodden. Image via Troy Conrad

ly remains great by maintaining my resurrection." Image via Troy Conrad In accordance with his website,"Alonzo's material is'cynically good-natured.' Well, the older he gets, the good-natured it is gont be. 'What can I say? The stupid out there's sporting down the man '" Though it might be wearing the man, it is not wearing out his sobriety. Closing in on 30 years at healing and 25 years as a comedian, Bodden is a paragon of everything it means to be both sober and creative. and "Comedy Congress." He's also amused American troops out of Iraq into Greenland while traveling around the world using the USO. The Repair was delighted to sit down with Alonzo and talk about retrieval, humor, injury, and more. Sponsored ad The Repair: Can you tell us about your recovery and your route ? Alonzo: Well, it is definitely going to be sort of hard to sum up 29 plus years in a few minutes, but let us see. My story isn't that odd. I started getting loaded when I was about 13 since the older men did this, and they had been cool, and that I wished to be like these. I took right into it, and it turns out that I enjoy getting loaded independently. I was never a partier or a social guy. I missed out on most of the mad sex in the eighties since I never saw a woman that seemed better than a rock. Therefore, I retained my cocaine to myself. This was the development. I moved into L.A. in 1980, and I began my career in aerospace. If you were around back then, you might recall that they told me that cocaine was not addictive. So I figured I would give it a try. Cocaine proven to be disregarded -- surprise, surprise -- and it improved into crack in the mid-eighties. I hit my first bottom in 1987, then it was a year of dwelling 20 at a time, somehow working different jobs in the aerospace market. I wound up working back in Lockheed, the company I started with when I had moved out west. In December of'87, '' I went into rehabilitation through the employee assistance program. I continued for 2 weeks since I was not there to get sober. I went outside and started using again. I had gone into recovery to spare my job, however I did not get fired. I got laid off, which has been always good from the view of an addict because the album has been clean. Afterward, however, I got busted. I'd never been detained. After it happened, I had been at the back of the police vehicle, wearing handcuffs. The only thing I remembered from 12-Step apps at the instant was the term"powerlessness" since, at the instant, I knew what it meant. I moved back to rehabilitation after that happened, and I've been sober ever since. I totally attribute it to the willingness attained from that single night in jail. Can it be tougher to stay sober in the aerospace industry or in the amusement market? Sponsored ad From the aerospace industry, there are always a lot of layoffs. I started in Lockheed, and we had been constructing Stealth Fighters. They finish that contract, and they lay off a thousand people. Now, however, Northrop has a contract to create a little more bombers so you migrate over there. I had been bouncing around from company to company since that's the nature of the business. You bounce around until you build enough seniority to stay with a single company, which I did. But, I didn't head that bouncing around because it worked with my addiction. I was bouncing around the nation for some time, doing contract work, fixing planes and smoking crack. It turned out to be a great work design for the addict because I did not want any responsibility. I just wished to work, get paid, and be left alone to do something. All I have ta do is fix an airplane in market for a resort, a per diem to pay for my drugs, along with my own privacy. This was a manifestation of my own life from 1984 before I got sober in 1988. I imagine the entertainment industry would be harder, however I was never using in that business. I didn't become a comic until five years into my resurrection. My principal spot for salvation was a place called Studio 12, also I met a lot of entertainment professionals and old-timers there. That is where I have this thing. They stated sit down, shut up, and listen. I will always thank God for those guys because they removed any backdoor I had and some bullshit I had been trying to sell. They explained,"It is ain't about talking, it's all about doing." The celebrities went into Betty Ford, along with the team went into Studio 12. I was all around the grips, the electricians, the cameramen, the makeup artists, the apparel artists, and so forth and so on. I've had two patrons in my salvation, both of these are Emmy-winning dresses designers, also I have no clue what that is about. My first sponsor took me through the steps, and he showed me the way to do that particular thing. I developed a healthy fear of utilizing, and that I thought that if I didn't follow his suggestions, I was planning to get loaded again. I didn't want this to occur. In terms of the area of entertainment, the things I did discover was that in the eighties, cocaine was also a portion of their production budget. Everyone was getting large. I met some of those men that began Cocaine Anonymous, plus they explained that they needed to start CA since cocaine addicts were dying because they were too cool to attend an AA meeting. It definitely was more prevalent and stays more prevalent in show business. There is no drug testing in show business. As soon as I started in aviation, there was no drug testing, but it quickly became the norm. I really don't know if I would have made it if I was in show business from the eighties. I might have ended up like so many comic geniuses such as John Belushi and Richard Pryor. The decade of the eighties was a comic boom so I might have made a ton of money, however that I might not be living today. Who are the comic precursors? The comic George Wallace was a friend and mentor for several years. When I started doing stand-up, the way I got into it was by teaching and coaching people in the aerospace market. From the time that I became an instructor at McDonnell Douglas, I was already sober. The huge discovery for me was that I was very comfortable talking before a bunch. It was a latent talent that I didn't know about. I had always been able to make people laugh, but that I never understood just how easy it was for me to talk in front of big groups of people. I am telling stories of working on airplanes, making my pupils laugh, and I realized I wanted to be a comic. I took a class and did a five-minute set at graduation. After that set, I knew without a doubt this is what I wished to perform. A buddy of mine stated,"Man, it seems like we finally discovered what God meant for you to perform." I've been doing it ever since. My first job in comedy was as a doorman at the Laugh Factory. They would give me stains when people did not appear. I learned from people like George Wallace, Damon Wayans, and George Lopez, and I'd observe them do their thing. These were a few of the guys that I heard out of watching what they did. Additionally, I saw as a lot of the legends that I could see on video. The greatest compliment I've ever received was called a spawn of George Carlin by Playboy magazine. That was huge since I love performing social comment, and he is the biggest ever in societal comment. In 2010you high-sided your motorcycle when riding on the trail at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. The wreck smashed your wrist, requiring surgeries along with a bone graft to fix. How did you figure out how to stay sober during this traumatic period? Were pain pills that a problem? No, never a problem. The first time I encountered real pain was playing basketball. I received a tooth knocked out. When I took it, then I felt out of it. I used ton't like that feeling so I talked to my sponsor. My host laughed,"Only take the Tylenol from now on. You will be OK." And I was. If they did the operation after the accident, once I got from the hospital, then I did the identical thing. This moment, howeverthey gave me Valium too. I pulled them out. Ever since that time, regardless of what has happened, Tylenol has been more than sufficient pain relief for me personally. In March of 2013you contributed a kidney for your own brother, who is three years older. Do you feel this choice was associated with your restoration? Could you have made the identical choice if you'd been using? Listen, it would not have been up to me. They don't take crack claws. If I am smoking crack on a regular basis, they'll say,"Yeah, then you may want to maintain that kidney into yourself." When I donated my gut, I'd 25 decades of sobriety. That is why I had healthy souls. As my brother's kidneys were failing, but perhaps not cancerous or destroyed, they didn't take his kidneys out. They simply added mine. From a plumbing viewpoint concerning the blood circulation, it goes through my kidney they transplanted, into his uterus, then right into his physique. The doctor, who place my kidney in himsaid,"Man, you are likely to be nice. This was a major bum kidney" I suppose one of the side benefits of sobriety is that you get large ass kidneys. But sobriety definitely made that occur. My brother can be sober, and we were close friends before sobriety, but being sober led to another level of psychological openness between us. There wasn't a matter of whether to perform it, and it has worked out so well. Even if I had been willing to do it before sobriety, I would not happen to be in any condition to take action. When you are an addict, considering other people and carrying on such a responsibility does not happen. I've become a major advocate of organ donation, and I've done some work together with the Kidney Foundation. After all, it's a gift to be able to provide the gift of life to anybody, particularly a loved one. It was a present for me to be able to do this for him. You decked with Don Rickles before he died, and he gave you shit in his traditional style. What was this like and what did that mean to you? Are you kidding me? It was among the highest benefits you could get as a comicbook. To possess Don Rickles talk shit for you from the green area: What more would you need as a comic? He was saying,"Yeah, so it is possible to see Alonzo this weekend at the prison in downtown L.A. He'll say he didn't take action, and you're able to laugh with him at him. The best of both worlds. Plus he even took a white man's title, hence if the cops stop himhe can claim to be innocent." It was timeless Rickles shit who had me laughing the entire time. To be insulted by a legend is quite an honour. It was great. I loved that moment, and that I was blessed to experience this while he was still around. You frequently spend weeks at one time doing shows on cruise ships. Considering that the party-first air of the majority of cruise ships, how do you find this to be hard? When there isn't any escape, how can you locate the serenity needed to maintain your balance and your sobriety? It isn't an issue in any way. For one thing, I work on charter cruises such as jazz plantations where the whole boat is chartered. It's a different vibe than you'd get moving on one of those Carnival drinking ordeal. It is not like a booze cruise in which everybody else is drinking all of the time. When I started doing them, I was closing in about 20 decades. I was at the stage in my sobriety where drinking is just not an alternative or a solution. I'm not saying I am immune to it and also that I get the notion that we all only have 24 hours, however if I watch somebody beverage, it is not appealing to me. I'm not missing anything since I've been there and done that. I don't reminisce because I know that it doesn't work for me. Drinking might work for you. If that's the case, have a great time, however, it doesn't change the fact it doesn't work for me. I also don't waste time talking to drunk individuals. It is among the occupational hazards of my occupation. Drunks constantly appear to me following a set or before a set,"Oh man, I've got a really good joke for you" You hear it a tiny bit, you set up with it now and then, however I don't really care for this. Then again, it's part of the job. I am able to separate from it, and I also have my cabin on board. If I want a rest, I will duck into my cabin and hang out there now. Sobriety has given me an excellent tolerance for loving my own business. I also know sober people on the boat. You'd be stunned at how a lot of the other artists or team members are all sober. We can always check in with each other if needed. Overall, however, I am a comic by commerce, and that I take the reality of the profession. My office has a two-drink minimum. I'm around it all of the time. That is the nature of the video game. When being around alcohol has been a problem for mepersonally, I would not be able to operate at my job. But it holds no allure for me. Once more, I am not immune, however that I go to meetings to maintain perspective. Although my life may seem good, experiences remind me I'm still an addict and an alcoholic. It only stays great by maintaining my resurrection. You're a big sports fan. Is it challenging to love sports ? What exactly does sobriety add to this experience of being a fan? Well, I'm a Clipper fan so if I were going to drink, I would have done it by now. Can you look at a beer commercial? That bar doesn't exist. There are five girls for every three men, and they're all super hot. The game in the TV is your best video game ever. The support is out of this world. Yeah, that pub does not exist. Let me give you an example. I had a friend, and she used to operate about the Hooters organizational team. It's a series, and they're all linked. When they first open a Hooters anywhere in California, they have like ten waitresses which are just hot as could be. I'm talking model sexy plus they have skills when it comes to doing the job. They are quick, funny, and magnetic. They send them to whatever Hooters is opening, and they operate there for the very first couple of months or so. The idea is to suck the clientele and receive crap moving: Wow! You gotta go and check it out. As soon as they quit, there still might be some hot women, however a lasting buzz was created. It's all fantasy. I love watching sports! I get into the game, and it's a terrific escape for me. I really don't need to consider life or work, and that I will enjoy it at the present time. Prior to my knees gave out, I used to play a great deal of basketball. I adored it, and that I miss the competition and the camaraderie. In spirituality, I performed some NBA men, and that is if you understand that you're not really great. That is when you learn what it means to be a professional or simply a man that loves dribbling the ball. But the rivalry and also the adrenaline rush and the escape of playing or watching, that's why I enjoy sports. It has nothing to do with drinking and using. You've said that living in the time of Donald Trump is a lose-lose proposal. As a liberal humanist, is it hard to live at Trump's America? As an African-American man, is it harder? Look, I'm pretty lucky because I'm fairly insulated from the worst of this. I am not rich, but I make enough so when he proceeds to screw up taxation and hurt the working classes, meaning most the country and the vast majority of his fans, I will be fine. I will still be able to cover my bills since I am not raising a family of four. My health insurance went up, but I can afford it. I am blessed in that feeling. What they are doing to the country right now is unprecedented. It is frustrating because so many people aren't noticing it because they aren't paying attention. It's come to be the new normal. They are likely to decimate this economy. By way of instance, with these brand new steel tariffs, folks do not understand exactly how many jobs will be missing. After the price of steel goes up, companies which use steel put off workers to compensate for its prices. While I discuss this around the country, people accuse me of being a Hollywood liberal. I shake my head and explain I was used to work at Lockheed and in the aerospace market. I know what happens firsthand. I was in a manufacturing union. I know how this impacts individuals. It's horrible what is happening to this nation. As a comedian that travels much, I see that we've got two countries. Both coasts and then most of the middle are rather different. The coasts hate Trump, but then there are such unbelievably racist, anti-gay, along with gun-toting racists everywhere else which are using faith as a tool to market hatred and discrimination. It's all horrible. You visit the middle of the nation, you go to the Southern countries, and they are observing this ugliness. When Barack Obama was President and individuals in L.A. were watching diversity, I would tell them"Just as you enjoy Barack Obama, people in Alabama hate Barack Obama." I can't clarify this split, but it is there. Although Trump supporters will be quite disappointed if his policies take effect, they might be too blinded by their own red-tinged hate and anger to even make the connection. Why is America worse for me? That's not what is essential. What's important is that America is worse for all Americans. Personally, I hate seeing the systematic racism coming backagain. I despise seeing voting rights being assaulted, but it is so much tougher for the people in my own parents' generation. I lost my Dad, but my Mother is still living. They were also the black folks who fought for the civil rights movement. They lived through segregation and fought in the sixties. Now they are seeing all their hard work reversed. It's horrible. It is a horrible thing. I am not going to quit on life or beverage it over, but I hate seeing it. We have been divided for quite some time, but now there's an anger that is horrible. The anger at the branch of our nation is what really troubles me today. We are going to see how it performs. I have a friend called Jimmy Carr, who is a really funny British comedian . He jokes,"I'm glad Donald Trump was elected because I love America, and I wish to determine how it ends" We'll endure the Trump administration, but we'll be less of a state for it.