Back from reality, comic resumes life on the road.

Standing Up Guy 

Back from reality, comic resumes life on the road.

"Welcome to the black portion of the show," says comedian Alonzo Bodden at the start of his stand-up act. "Yes, I am in fact black. I am not African American. I don't make that kind of money yet." Not yet. But as runner-up on NBC's Last Comic Standing 2, Bodden's stock certainly has risen over the past couple months.

"There's a big difference between doing 5 minutes on TV and 45 minutes in a club," he says. The pressure to perform is that much more intense. "You learn to work fast [on television]."

Bodden was one of 10 comedians (whittled down from a playing field of 40) chosen for the second season of the hit reality television program, which places contestants, Big Brother-style, in a house and eliminates them weekly through a series of challenges, like performing at a laundromat.

"That's the thing with the show: It burns material," says Bodden. "You have to write new stuff. You have to be ready to go with something new. Initially, it's daunting, but then it becomes fun. It's a great challenge." (Bodden and two of his Last Comic castmates, Gary Gulman and Jay London, are part of the I'm Still Standing Tour, which comes to town Wednesday.)

The L.A.-based Bodden spent nine years as a jet mechanic. While training other guys in aircraft repair, he realized that he was more inspired by their laughs than by the planes' flaps and slats. He enrolled in a comedy class and hit the clubs soon afterward. "My stuff is [usually] a little edgier, but I went middle of the road" on the show, he admits.

Last Comic Standing has made life a little bit easier, Bodden says. The gigs come more readily and frequently, and the series' sink-or-swim format has made him a sharper and faster comic. "You have to judge [the material] yourself," he says. "I'm cynically good-natured. I'm just an angry suburban Negro."

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