The Last Laugh with Laz Alonso
We caught up with Laz Alonso, who stars on NBC’s new dramedy The Mysteries of Laura opposite Debra Messing, and he couldn’t be more amped. “This role was made for me. The network knew it as much as I did,” he says. We chat with the 40-year-old actor during some coveted down time about being unabashedly opportunistic—and pretty damn proud of his people.
With ever-increasing success, what thoughts keep you going when you look in the mirror?
I see opportunity. I see opportunity because so many people, from family and friends to cyber-fans believe in me, and it gives me indescribable feelings that encompass love, gratitude and thanks. It’s been very moving to have people in my corner during both good and not-so-good times. That’s the kind of energy that keeps me going. My career is my opportunity to give them what they love from me. There’s actually so much more for me to give, and I’m excited about it.
How do you strike a balance between your personal convictions as an artist and the demands of Hollywood and your fans?
I’ve always had an idea of what I wanted to do. That’s mostly been playing very heavy and action-packed roles, but people also love me in comedic situations. Though Mysteries of Laura is a bit dramatic,
there’s definitely a really great balance of comedy that we throw around as well.
What is your character like?
I play an NYC homicide detective. I help to solve crime. I have a partner and we’re from two different sides of New York. The story shows the beauty of the city and all its diversity.
How did the role come about?
NBC has shown a great amount of loyalty to my career. After Deception was cancelled, they were scrambling to find another opportunity to keep me in the network family. I appreciated that, so I opened myself to see what they had in mind. I knew this new show would somewhat keep the Deception fan base, and I was able to play a type of character that I would really enjoy.
How does it feel to be a leading man again on network TV?
It’s a great time in television for African-American leads, both male and female. We’re bringing in ratings and we’re carrying shows on our shoulders. It’s a renaissance in a sense, and I’m hoping that it carries over into film more. We have box office potential as much as we have in ratings. When speaking with my peers and colleagues, I realize that everyone is appreciative and humble that strides are being made. We’ve not rejoicing like “we’ve arrived” per se, but we are hopeful in the work that is still to be done. We’re encouraged and happy that our audience speaks loud—louder then we do—and we’re glad the world is listening.