Wait Wait Naked and Ashamed: Alonzo Bodden and Roxanne Roberts
Support for this podcast and the following message. Come from Rosetta Stone once get something that could last a lifetime. Give one of twenty four languages this season and help your loved one thrive in real world conversations. Visit Rosetta Stone dot com slash NPR for their best offers of the year. Funny thing faith by first time going to wait, wait, no idea, what it was mechanic turned comedian Alonzo Bodden is the kind of guy who can walk into a comedy news show. He's never heard of and stay awhile. Welcome to wait. Wait naked and ashamed. I'm faith Sailly. All my agent told me was it's a comedy news quiz show. And I was like, okay. I got it. And I just rode my comic instincts, and at the end of the show Peter with like that was fantastic. And it was like, oh, great White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is coming back to Chicago to run for mayor. There are some obstacles to that goal. I as a relatively young man, Mr. manual doesn't know enough dead people and important demographic. The name is wrong. Is that short for some rougher? Well, I was waiting to see his birth certificate. Yeah. Yeah. Jacobo people who like, I don't know. He was born in Iowa. I'm pretty sure of it. Silly Chicago ready for this like belly dancing? I don't know. He's a little bit fancy. He's little bit fancy. Don't you think is a little fan? I think it's time Chicago upgraded their criminals. In general. It's not a big deal to you to prepare for wait, wait. And you went on the show without ever having heard it or really heard of it do you Alonzo? Do you ever get nervous about anything? Yeah. Yeah. I do. Generally, the first time, I do something. I'm nervous until I get I laugh, and then it's like, okay. But again, I've done other panel type shows, and you just figure out how to work with the other panelists. I don't like the panel shows where everyone's competing for airtime. Trying to yell over each other. But on wait, wait, it's great because everyone respects everyone else in you Quinn. Let you do your joke. And then I'll do mine tell me tell me about being a jet mechanic did that prepare you in any way for being a comic. I don't think so other than. At the end of my career as a mechanic. I became an instructor. I started training new mechanics. And that's when I found out I was comfortable in front of a group of people. You know that that's a big fear. Many people have in I had zero fear of talking in front of a group. So that would be the only I think that was the only talent that transferred over. I mean, I loved airplanes well while I worked on airplanes. But when I was done I was done Alonzo true or false over the last two weeks. Donald Trump repeatedly told crowds that the US air force has an invisible airplane shoot. Yes. He said the F thirty five quote, you can't see it. Can I comment on them you mail on that when I worked for Lockheed built the F one seventeen original stealth fighter and the biggest problem? We had was finding the invisible parts. Together. And then you like maggot attach it to the wing where the wing go with. I'm not so great way to lie about how much work you've done. Fourteen of them. Would you think about it? It's the most brilliant government contract ever. Yes. Give me a hundred billion. We'll give you fifty invisible planes. I mean short you fly a ton because you tour you tour is a comedian. I mean is it different flying? When you know exactly how the plan works. Well, it's it's actually I guess I don't worry about it. I have a friend a comic friend, Pete Corelli. He's in New York guy. Anyway, Pete had a big fear of flying. And then I explained it to him I explained to him how planes fly I explained to him the redundancy of safety systems, and he said, you know, ever since then I haven't been afraid. So I guess that was a thing. I wasn't one of those kids that grew up looking up into sky loving airplanes. My motorcycles at a love, I have like that to be airplanes where a job, you know, motorcycles as a mother. I just think I I hope no one in my beloved family ever gets on one while it is such that the best way. I can explain it. When I was a kid. I was about seven years old. I think and my grandparents had a farm in South Carolina, and they rented land out to another family and their son had a motorcycle. And he would put us on the back and ride up and down this dirt road. And it still feels like that. If that makes sense it's still that amazing that much fun there. There's a freedom to it. And it's meditative to me. Do you put ladies on the back? Of your motorcycle. You know, I had I had one girlfriend who we wrote together all the time. And my speed governor was a smack to the side of my helmet. That's how I knew I was going to fast. It's like, oh, okay. Slow down. I got do you ever want to settle down with do you want to get married? You know, I I don't think about getting married. I'm open to getting married. I almost did it once, but you, you know, something about being a road comic. I'm just used to be in a loan and doing stuff alone. And then as you become an old bachelor. I think you just you know, you get kind of set in your ways, I think that has something to do it. Then there's, you know, heavy duty emotional problems. Of of being single. You mean? No, no, I've always it's always been difficult for me to fully connect with somebody. And it's just something. I've never I don't know. I don't know. With your mom. Yeah. Yeah. I'm very close with my mom. My mom's who I get my sense of humor from. But it's a matter of trusting. It's a matter of you know, they say you have to love yourself to be in love with somebody or to let someone love you or whatever. And I've never mastered loving myself. I I live in not good enough Alonzo boat in really absolutely I mean, first of all everyone can hear the voice, you're six foot four hands. I mean, your I don't know how much yet issue speak, dude. But you're a mockery. And not. That is I do not know what that big. I heard Mench while you're. Well, you're Mench too. But like, you're you're handsome successful funny. What thanking you and that's probably on the outside. But on the inside. It's like not not quite they're having quite made. It my gosh Alonzo. Can I remind you of something you can't your kidney to your brother? Yeah. Yeah. But that see to me that that's one of those like who wouldn't even though I have found out since that. I guess a lot of people wouldn't but my brother, and I we've always been good friends besides being brothers. And when he when his kidneys started failing, and he got down to where he needed dialysis. I didn't even think about it. I was like yes, you can use mine. I'll give you one. Like, it was never even a an issue. Do you have a favorite, wait? Wait, don't tell me memory. I love listening to mow think out loud, hit is the most roundabout thought process mo- this week, scientists at Texas State university. The observed dear doing something they had never seen a deer do before. What? Multi. I don't know. What what what something at deers? Don't do. Well, it's not something we associate with years. Really? Okay. They crossing their leg can reading no. Again, just office. This is this is this is one of those moments where I'm competent wanting to give you a hint just wanting to hear you go on. In a hair salon within those old style. Gossiping gossiping getting a pedicure dear to show many things that I don't do. Could be weeks. That's your main getting doing its taxes. We said dear not president. Yeah. And the show. We did the the all black show with me, and Brian and Phoebe Phoebe Robinson. Yes. Yeah. That was fun because Brian was just having too much fun. Do you think I mean I like pound for pound? Do you feel like these guys are like the super villains from a John Hughes movie from the eighties, but like up? Yeah. This was definitely I mean when you look at Paul Ryan. Hey, hold on a kid that got beat up. Yeah. Lonzo actually the first string bullies wouldn't even beat him. They let the trainees work. Get gonna beat on Paul awhile with move. Yup. And again. Listening to Peter interview, George Clinton, oh, I was on that show. Remember that that my husband? That was. It was out of this world, wasn't it. It was fantastic. Because because I don't think Peter realized that like parliament and p funk that's a whole world. That's a whole reality that they created. I mean, the lines of a saying h at the whole point of the music was to get people to dance is that right? I mean because he asked me who were sir knows devoid of funk and that tried to explain to him the whole story and how sir nose was the bad guy in flashlight. He finally broke down. And that has to be the biggest party song ever written. Right. I mean when flashlight chick. You're you're. In the flex plate. Your booty would betray you. How do you not understand that? Are there are there? Panelists whom you look up to. Well. I mean, I love working with you. Because of the notes. Thanks a lot. No, really. It's it's because it's like, wow. She does homework. She's been to no answers. That's fun. And of course, Paula what you know what I love about policy. And this is the comparison. I give everybody Paula to me is like a singles hitter, right? Paul is always swinging for the joke every you know, just slapping jokes all over the field. I'm I'm more like a home run guy. I'm waiting for that pitch where I could swing in hit one out of the park. So I love working with Paula because I think our styles of humor there's a big contrast, but they worked together. And and the other thing I love about Paula is, you know, when Paula Zahn like it's paula's world. We're just living. In Paula breakfast. Is about to get a lot more boring cereal maker general mills announced this week. They're going to do what I think it's a mistake. They're gonna take the color out of tricks. They are they gonna remove all their artificial colors from serial. Yeah. I don't think. That's right. You know? No. I don't. You know? I mean, if you're going to have tricks with just call a spate of spayed, you know, what I mean? Just just go for it have have all the colors and their receives right? They have a rec- cereal. They do. They have a rhesus peanut butter crunch cereal. Yeah. They're going to change the color of that to to pretend that it was somehow. Once you're calling it receives peanut butter crunch cereal. You know, you've already put yourself in a particular category. And there's really no. With Paul is pointed. I mean, it's true. If you're that kind of parent that you're worried about that. And you're going to some natural food store. Are you suddenly going to say oh tricks? Well, I didn't know. I mean, I just don't see that, you know, the whole foods crowd suddenly rushing to the general. Yes, I'll say well now these are a dull and unattractive color actual feed them genuine their organic tricks. Yeah. I'm actually trying to eat a little bit healthier. And so now, I'm not buying captain crunch. I just go by the island. Thank him for his service. In queens. Did you go to comedy clubs when you were young post now? No, no. I went to a comedy club. Once before I became a comic. What? Yeah. Yeah. I I watched comics on TV in the movies. I had comedy records. You know? Remember, I come from a blue collar background, right? My dad was sanitation guy. My mom was an accounting clerk. I was I was raised with go to school get a job. It's what I did. I learned to build airplanes fix airplanes. I got a job doing that. So entertainment was this world that I never thought of you know, you know, you I never thought, oh, I'm gonna get in the show business. I didn't have that that dream or I wasn't. I was funny. I could always make people laugh, but I never thought of doing it for a living. Can you just tell me a little more about your mom? You said you said you got your money from her. Yeah. My mom is. Funny. It's that old southern, you know, black people in south just have this. I don't know kinda matter of fact, looking at life and breaking things down and making things simple or just saying something completely unexpected. And that's my mom. My mom just makes me laugh, and and she never stops laughing. You know, she's been battling cancer. So she had to do radiation and chemo, and she didn't get sick the nurse was like, I don't what what is how do you not get sick? And my mom just looked at her and said black women don't get sick days. You know it. It's just things like that. What does she think of what you're doing? Now, she loves it. She she absolutely loves it. You know, one of the great things about what I do is getting to share it with other people. So for her eightieth birthday, I took her on this Mediterranean cruise. I was doing so that she gets to see Europe because she was like I always wanted to see Europe. And my dad was like I've been Europe, and my mom, and she never misses a beat. There's never a paused that was World War Two. It's changed since then. And I got to take her to Europe that that's one of the highlights of my life. Getting, you know, getting a do that for my mom. So I mean, it must be kind of a big deal to your to your family as you put it you grew up in a blue collar family from from they they love it. They love again like my nieces and nephews love the fact that I know famous people, and I'm on TV periodically. You know, my brother is is my best critic, my most honest critic of what I do on stage. But he gets a kick out of it. I think he likes when his friends recognize be a when people recognize the name when I was on last comic standing he was a computer marketing guy at the time. So he's going out on sales calls doing whatever, they do, you know? And so I was like wow Boden. Do you know Alonzo Boden? My brothers used to beat him up. Alonzo. I'm so happy to talk with you. And to learn all this. I didn't know all this about you. This was fantastic. Thank you. This was really fun. After the break Roxanne Roberts. Looks back on twenty years of being a panelist. Support for this NPR podcast and the following message comes from WalMart, grocery pickup, WalMart, grocery pickup. You don't even have to get out of your car. What are your groceries online and let them do the shopping and loading for you get fresh groceries and save time. Visit WalMart dot com slash grocery today and get ten dollars off your first order with trial code don't wait there. More ways to WalMart. I order only fifty dollar minimum expires January thirty first twenty nineteen support for this podcast. Also, come from Bomba's Baba's has re engineered socks for alternate. Comfort by getting rid of that annoying seem adding arch support and using some of the world's softest cotton. And for every pair purchased Baba's. Donates a pair to someone in need today. They've sold and donated over ten million pairs to feel the Babas difference. Go to be O M B A, S dot com slash wait. For twenty percent off your first order. Roxanne Roberts has been a staple of wait wait since the beginning. But while the rest of the wait, wait panelists wanna win laughs Roxanne Roberts just wants to win. Okay. Roxanne we have to start with a very pressing question. Okay. Pressing question. I read in some bio of yours that you're gingerbread aficionado. I am a very serious gingerbread aficionado. I what I mean. Cookie decorator well decorated cookies where my gateway drug and at Christmas time, I would always make Christmas cookies, and they started to get more and more elaborate, and I'm essentially self taught and then about. Twelve years ago. I was like I want to try, you know, a gingerbread competition. And so I entered the national gingerbread house competition, which I have done now four times, I guess the ven diagram for me is reporter in the middle and cookie cake gingerbread person Martha Stewart ish and then poker player. So there's very few little overlapping and the people that know me as a reporter are shocked about the cookies and gingerbread in the cooking. Gingerbread people are sort of shocked about the poker and. Yeah. I find it all perfectly the the the thread between them all is competitiveness. Okay. Rocks here. Well, you just do you just assign the word to yourself competitive. Yes. Everyone on wait. Wait knows that you are competitive. And I kind of love that you're unapologetic about your competitive. I am I think you, and I are the only ones who either are competitive or cop to it. Carl did Roxanne do well enough to win she needed three time, but Roxanne had six correct, Mike. You needed seven to win outright. And she had seven. Seventeen. Kathy. Well, I think that when you say that I'm competitive with myself. I am not a comedian. I don't even try to be a comedian. That's not my role on the show role is on the show. I think well, it started out as the role of being female and to ask questions to sometimes bring things back to wait a minute. You know when when things start to go off the rails. I ask a lot of questions of the other panelists and our guests. I I do think that is all involved in your role in the show, but I will add there are those occasional moments such a gym where you say, you know, it's some political story or some DC bay story. And you kind of say, you know, I happen to have been at that party where such and such happened or I remember sitting next to that person. We are so excited 'cause Roxanne Roberts. You were there at the whole of Ed. So what happened is that? He said she looked hotter than her picture on the money. No. But I have to tell you funny story. There was a garden party at the British embassy you on the day of the state dinner. So I was at that. And I actually chatted with the prince briefly, but not the Queen. And she was walking up to me, and I sort of looked at her close up face on for semi done that and there was a soldier standing right next to me. And I said, you know, I said, I never realized that the Queen is really stacked. And he said to me she was very attractive when she was younger woman. I said, yes, she's really, you know. Radio audience Roxanne is gesturing toward the bosom. Some more of that fine. Washington Post political overboard. I've always believed that. Wait, wait is a show for smart people who love news. Because if you're not smart, you don't get the jokes. If you're not following the news Monday through Friday, you don't get the jokes. And it's a way for all of us to process everything that happens every week is that how the show was pitched to you twenty years ago because you were on the very first show on January third nineteen ninety eight. This is wait. Wait, don't tell me NPR's weekly news quiz, and here's your host NPR's in Iowa. Dan coffee. Thank you Carl castle. And welcome to our debut broadcast today. What I remember this could be revisionist history. As most history is the originally started with three or four Washington. Journalists talking about the news, and it was deadly because they were all busy being sort of talking heads. And then according to the tale that was told is that they went to. York, and sort of envision that they'd have the table and everybody was, you know, very supercilious. And and and so smug that it was impossible. And so then they basically said to anybody at any pair. Okay. Who do you know? That knows the news is in and is funny. You've been on the show for three hundred seventy appearances. Okay. You've been with wait wait since the very very beginning. I yeah. What have been the biggest changes since you started a part? Of course, from the fact that when it started. There was no live audience. Peter would say that it's a much better show over the years. And and I would say that's undoubtedly true. And I haven't heard the recordings from way back in the day. And I'm sure that it is a much better show. Our first question goes to Peter cycle. Peter listen to the following. Can you tell us where those sounds were recorded this week time square, the New Year's Eve party? I wish it we're that happy situation. Anybody else would that the United flight good rocks? The turbulence it's the turbulence the video recorded caught that board. United Airlines flight eight twenty six which was jolted by turbulence killing one person, injuring one sounded happy to me. Is there anyone among the panel you've grown especially close with? I was very close to Carl. When he was on the show, we spent a lot of time together from the very beginning. And so I had lots and lots of cab rides going back and forth to the airport with him. What would you in Carl castle talk about in cab rides? Marriage. We would talk about kids. We talk about grandkids. We would talk about dogs cats. I think that we are conditioned to think that, you know, life happens in these sort of pivotal big moments, and you can go back and say that that was that big moment that changed my life. The older I get the more. I'm convinced that life is about a thousand or million little small moments that sort of added up I want to ask you about when you and I happened to make history together because we are on the first all woman panel. Yes, Roxane, according to a new study who not only doesn't love you. But has in fact, never loved you. Oh. This break, my heart. Yes, we're bringing him out now. No, you're close your rough. You've course, your cat avid sakes, cats. Love me that think no. I know according to research from the university of Lincoln cats, use you for food and warmth, they feel no emotional connection to you. What so ever their methodology is fascinating. They tested this by just looking at every cat ever. It's obvious. This news though comes too late for the thousands of ladies were like still no affection better. Get a twelfth one. All right. As a cat lady. All right as a cat lady down. If if this study is cranked was this done by dog people, for example, like dog scientists to without actually if these scientists themselves were dogs. His. What what what we're studying? Do you? Remember anything particular about that show? Did it feel different to you know, outside of the fact that it was an achievement? I I don't think any of us on the show behaved differently because it's all women on the show. I do think that one thing that weight has done is make it normal for women to be smart and funny and accomplished and for every eleven year old girl that you know, or six year old girl that's in that backseat listening to the show. I think that's an important message. And I didn't realize that when I first did the show, and I've come to recognize that there are lots of young girls who grew up on us and that helped inform how they thought about themselves in what was possible. And I always said, you know, go for it you can wear high heels, and you can toss off a wicked one liner. I I have to ask you something you, and I if anyone's ever seen a live show, everyone knows that Roxanne, and I are the only people who come out on stage with notes now these are not notes for what we're going to say because these shows entirely unscripted, it's because we studied I write down headlines, I write down new stories inside AM every week on this show. Yeah. And makes fun of us. Exactly. But here's the difference. First of all, I forget who it was somebody told me have much better handwriting. So it's easier to cheat off of your sheets. True, very neatly. Here's the difference between you, and maybe sides legibility is I've seen you do this. You actually during the show cross off your sheets any headline. That's been mentioned your that organized all week. I'll keep an eye on the news. But on the day of the show, I'll sit and go over all the news headlines, and it irritates the hell out when I miss a news. Where exactly the same as you probably don't need as much chocolate as I do on a day of a show. I always prepared because I think that's what I'm supposed to do. If someone said Roxanne, you can go on wait wait, but you're not allowed to look at a newspaper for the week. I would be like panicked. It'd be like. To study. To offer people. That's rock San Roberts next time on wait. Wait naked and ashamed. We'll go behind the scenes to find the most shameful of them all the staff of wait. Wait, don't tell me disappointment despair. Despairs good child. That's next time on wait. Wait naked and ashamed. I'm faith. Sailly? See you next time.