A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more.
Hosted by John Rabe

Alonzo Bodden on donating a kidney to his brother and finding humor in the process

Comedian and Comedy Congress regular Alonzo Bodden
Comedian and Comedy Congress regular Alonzo Bodden
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for The Midnight Mi

Listen to story

Download this story 5.0MB

On March 26th, comedian and Comedy Congress regular Alonzo Bodden underwent kidney surgery. Only his kidney was fine, he was donating one of his to his older brother.

Bodden talks about the misconceptions of transplant surgery and what he learned during the process.

Interview Highlights

Tell me a little bit about your brother:
"He's my older brother, three years older, and he used to beat me up, which I respected. That was his job. I reminded him that it's a good thing that he never hit me in the kidney. But we've always been close. His kidney problems started about 10 or 12 years ago. So, last summer he got down to about 15 percent kidney function and he told me he was going to have to go on dialysis. I told him, well, I'll give you a kidney. I had to undergo a whole battery of tests, which kind of bothered me because, obviously my kidney is better than his. The doctor was actually raving about how big my kidney was. He said we actually had to clear space inside your brother to fit it in."

What are the risks for family members donating kidneys?
"I think it's easier with family. The risk, of course, is rejection, and I think the rejection rate is much lower for a family member.  I've tried to come up with a word to describe it. The best I can say is that it's an inconvenience. I went into the hospital Tuesday morning, they took out my kidney. Tuesday afternoon I was able to get out of the hospital be and walk around. By Friday I was out of the hospital and on the following Thursday I was back on stage." 

Have you been able to use any of this in your material on stage?
"Oh, absolutely. I get a ton of material out of this. Fortunately I had a doctor with a sense of humor. He said that he and his partner have been together forever, they're like Jordan and Pippen, and I told him he better be Jordan."

What have you learned about kidney disease and transplants?
"There's a low donation rate compared to those who could donate. I know people are afraid, but once I spoke to the doctor and he explained what they were doing and how they do it, it's literally a few days in the hospital and then you're good to go. The other thing was that I didn't know about the causes of kidney disease. Hypertension and diabetes are two things that lead to kidney disease, and I just think that if you're diabetic watching your sugar is a pain, but watching your sugar when you're hooked up to a dialysis machine is a much bigger pain."