by Ryan Meehan
As many of you know, George Lopez is a multi-talented entertainer whose career encompasses television, film, stand-up comedy and late-night television. His ABC sitcom ran for six seasons, and his late night talk show “Lopez Tonight” was hugely popular on cable. On September 25th, Comedy Central Records will release the audio CD of Lopez’s third solo stand-up HBO special which aired live in July from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Lopez’s two prior CCR releases “America’s Mexican” and “Tall, Dark, and Chicano” were both nominated for Grammy awards. As evidenced by those titles, it’s easy to see that Lopez has a lot of pride in his Latino heritage.
Lopez has received the Manny Mota Foundation Community Spirit Award and was named honorary Mayor of Los Angeles for his extensive fundraising efforts benefiting earthquake victims in El Salvador and Guatemala. Other honors include am Imagen Vision Award, the Latino Spirit Award, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Award. His foundation, appropriately titled “The Lopez Foundation” was established to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children and adults confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease, organ donation and the military. He takes his work within the community very seriously and for that he should be commended heavily.
Since this originally began as a standup HBO special, technically this is not a 100% brand spanking new release. There are bits on the album that probably make a lot more sense from a visual standpoint because George is a great physical comedian when he needs to get a point across. So I’m just going to briefly take you through what you can expect to hear from the audio versions of this special…
FOH FIRST LISTEN: GEORGE LOPEZ – “IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU…” AVAILABLE 09/18/12
Lopez begins his set by sharing some jokes about the affinity Latinos have to be a part of the American workforce, and slowly moves into more Hispanic Pride material. “What kind of an American sells this many tickets to a show like this? I’ll tell you what kind of American motherfucker, a Mexican American!” He openly admits that “Latinos love to talk shit, that’s what we do…” George brings up the sad fact that if you’re between the ages of 30 and 55 your grandparents probably have some racist tendencies. He uses it to make this great bit about how his grandmother doesn’t write a shopping lists, she just mentions that she needs certain products when she sees people of certain ethnic backgrounds – (For example if she sees an Asian individual it reminds her she needs rice, or a person of Middle East descent “Better get some deodorant”)
The disc moves on towards the discussion of raising kids, trick-or treating, and how to teach you kids how to swim. (“Dad, I almost drowned” – “Yeah but you didn’t did you? That’s how you learn!”) I get the feeling that in the Hispanic community there is a lot of tough love when it comes to raising kids, and that would certainly explain why men and women of that ethnicity have such tough skin. Lopez moves into a few bits about how difficult it is to get minority families together for an intervention without drugs and alcohol, how drunk folks behave at weddings, and how tolerance for snoring can lead to tolerance for queefing. There is a little bit of political material on Track twelve that was informative to me – I had no idea that Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico – and some general discussion and jokes about how politicians attempt to corner the market when it comes to the Hispanic vote.
To wrap up the album, he tells a story of how he was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama and got to have dinner at the first family’s house. I won’t give away the whole story, but it involves a placemat and he ties the album up with a callback that ends the record in an uproar of a laugh. It’s also the longest track on the CD and definitely the most well crafted.
Throughout the whole program, George has the audience right where he wants them. His ability to bilingually transition from one language to another is second only to his ability to make people laugh. One thing that I did notice is due to George having over two decades in the comedy game, his microphone manipulation skills are awesome. He does this gurgling sound during the “Almost Swimming” bit that mimics drowning and is damn near perfect. The accuracy of some of the sounds that he was able to make throughout this CD is very impressive – that’s the sign of a well practiced comedian that isn’t new to the game. Altogether George Lopez has put together a high quality third standup record.
Simply put, Lopez is a Latino comedian that for the most part plays to a very Latino audience. There are several portions of this CD where he will say something in Spanish and the crowd will go wild, but as a listener who doesn’t understand that language, it’s frustrating at times. However I will always have respect for the guy because he was able to do the family sitcom thing, and he never bought into the fact that his standup had to be family friendly, which a lot of comedians do.
At the risk of sounding predictable myself, if you like George Lopez you will probably dig this album. If you’re not a big fan of his work, you may feel a little left out here or if you aren’t Latino you might not pick up on a lot of the jokes. Now in no way am I implying that the material on the record isn’t killer, I’m sure it’s funny because George knows his shit. But if you can’t understand it because you don’t speak Spanish it can leave a lot to be desired. Lopez makes a point towards the end of this record regarding how diversity makes America great, and I can’t help but wish that there was a tad bit more diversity on this CD.
Overall, Lopez knows what works and stays true to what he believes in. His comedy shows are gatherings that feature comedic entertainment and celebrations of heritage, so it should be no shock that a lot of people who share the same ethnicity as he does are such big fans.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
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