George Lopez Talks Success, Obama and 'Jersey Shore' Bathing
By Kara Warner Posted Dec 22nd 2009 04:47PM
which is available on DVD, just in time for the holidays) Lopez launched a successful late night talk show on TBS. PopEater got a chance to chat with the funnyman recently about the HBO special, why President Obama likes being made fun of, his tips for a Tiger Woods comeback and why he won't get in a hot tub with the 'Jersey Shore' kids.
You've been all over the place this year, in a good way. When do you sleep?
I come from hardworking genes, man. Every year I do something I keep thinking that you can't exceed the next year. One thing I've done, every year since I quit my day job which was in '87, every year that I've done stand-up has been better than the year before. There are some years when you think it can't be better than the year before and it is. I'm not sure why that happens but I do know that I work really really hard. And I'm one of those people, this is the best analogy I've used. 'Slumdog Millionaire,' that guy knew all the answers, but he knew the answers in a hard life so for me when my grandparents were getting up at 5 a.m. -- they didn't care that I was sleeping, they'd make noise and play the radio at 5:30. Now I get up at 6 in the morning and I'm not drowsy at all. I jump in the shower, I get out, I go, and I believe it's because when they got up, they could care less about me sleeping.
In talking about your HBO special, what is the prep like for something that big?
First of all, I know I'm going to do them live. The first one, 'America's Mexican,' got nominated for a Grammy. This one is also nominated for a Grammy. So what I've done is, I believe the only way to make stand-up harder is to not use an introduction and to not use a chair and to not use water and a towel, and to do it live. Live you can't take back and to have reward, the risk is to do something live. When I did the first one it was like 7,000 people and the second, I thought, 'How can I make this more dangerous?' So I increased it to 14,000 and 85 minutes. Then you have to say, 'Okay, that's the standard for any comedian who wants to do a live special.' They can do 'em in front of 3,000 people, but if you want to supersede what's been done, do the biggest one. I think it's the biggest one.
Do you like how the HBO shows come out?
It's been great, they've all been great experiences. I've always wanted to do comedy from the time I was 11 years old, and to be able to have done it -- and then even to have the talk show and do that, because I was really insecure as a kid, I wasn't very confident and didn't come from the best family. To grind through all that and turn out pretty good at 48, it's amazing. I don't think people realize what I went through in my life, I don't even know if I realize, but it's turned out pretty good.
You project a positive outlook, I think people see that first.
The material is a little difficult but it's all based in truth. It's what Chris Rock would have done. I'm influenced by Chris Rock and Richard Pryor -- it's the same path that those guys would have been on, just through my perspective.
The talk show is great and you have some amazing guests week after week. Were you ever worried about that or having to call in favors of friends?
One of the things I'm happiest about is that I never really called any of my friends to come on, they just got booked through the show. I never picked up the phone and said, 'You gotta come on,' but when they come through, I'm really comfortable with them. I believe the show has a way of making people who you seen a certain way, be a little different. I thought 50 Cent was charming and funny, I thought Mariah Carey told stories about her mixed race I don't think I've seen her talk about.
Sandra Bullock, I saw her in a crazy outfit...
Oh yeah, we made Sandra Bullock into a gangster. It's fun. The intention of it is to have fun and to be a party. I didn't want to do gags, I reject a lot of gags. Like my guys will say 'Will you get in a hot tub with the guys from 'Jersey Shore,?' and I'm like 'Hell no.' I just said 'Bring 'em on and we'll talk.' I don't go for gags, I'm a comedian so if something that I feel it's corny, I'm not doing it.
How do you prepare for guests like the cast from 'Jersey Shore?' Because I would think as a comedian, they would be perfect for parody.
I let them talk. I said, 'What do you put in your hair, bro?' He said, 'Striker' or 'Spikes' or something. I said, 'Where do you get that? You have a tanning bed in your house man?' So it comes from a place of ridiculousness, instead of targeting them. I think the humor comes out of that. But those dudes are real dudes, I don't want to get my ass kicked by anyone from the 'Jersey Shore.'
How would you sum up the year for you as a comedian? It seems like the shenanigans have been particularly good this year.
It's always good, somebody always does something. The people sneaking into the White House was great, unfortunately for Tiger that's a wealth of material. I even told Obama, I said 'What's up with the security here at the White House?' He goes, 'You, you've been here twice in the last two months. You're like the house guest that won't leave.' They're aware. The President especially, he loves when you make fun of him. He doesn't like when you talk about health care, but you can talk about him all day.
Regarding Tiger, you're a big golf person -- has it been as big a shock within the golf community as it's been for everyone else?
Yeah I think everybody has been shocked by that. I know him a little bit but in late night, you have to talk about what you have to talk about. They're just jokes but it comes with the territory. I'm sure if anything happened to me the jokes would start that day.
What would be your tips for Tiger to repair some of the damage?
I think you have to come out and make a statement on something other than his Web site. Then you have to determine what's the situation going to be with his wife. Eventually you just try to pick up where you left off and let your clubs do the talking. There's situations where athletes have been booed until they help a team win a World Series and then all is forgotten.
Yeah, everyone loves a comeback.
They love a comeback - and they'll allow you to comeback if you show some humility. Humility is a tough thing to get these days.
I noticed that a lot of your fans compliment you for being a great role model in the Latino community. Do you feel any pressure there to be a certain way?
Nah, it's a tough thing. I work really hard. I think if people work hard, good things happen. I don't think of myself as carrying the flag, but I do understand the impact that I have. I don't understand how wide it is because I don't pay attention or read that stuff. I know I've done things that no one else has done and that means a lot to me.
Looking ahead to 2010, it looks like you've got a lot on your plate again. A couple movies, the talk show...
Yeah there are a couple movies that have been done. 'Valentine's Day' with Garry Marshall -- and everyone in Hollywood is in that one. That one I hear is very funny and great. It would be nice for me to have a movie that is that big that I'm good in. I understand that I'm good in 'Valentine's Day.' That would be great for that movie to do well. I've done movies, I did 'Henry Poole' with Luke Wilson but that was more of an indie, and I did 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' but I was a voice actor, so actually I'd like to be an actor in it and have the movie do well. There are some other projects, but I'll focus on the talk show in 2010.
I see that you're on Twitter. How do you like it so far?
I am on Twitter. Somebody was me before and then we took the account away from them and I decided I would be me. What I don't like about Twitter, I don't mind criticism but I don't like personal attacks, that to me is like, 'Come on.' But also it's great to make people aware of how appreciative you are of their support. That's what Twitter is good for. It's nice to see what fans like and what they're not happy with. It can turn ugly too, there's a lot of that. The one thing about communication is that it's a breeding ground for hate and bias, that's the bad part about it.
George Lopez Snapshots
George Lopez is seen here hamming it up with pal Eva Longoria Parker. Click for More Pics of George >>>
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