George Lopez is a big proponent of mixing music and comedy. He says he doesn’t want his audience to be laughed out by the time he takes the stage.
“When you usually see a headliner, you sit through six dudes and by the third guy you’re like, ‘Come on!’” he says, “I hire a band so people feel like they’ve had a full evening.”
Music isn’t just part of the evening’s program — it’s part of how Lopez himself is programmed.
“It’s a little bit like jazz,” he says of the way he structures his stand-up routine. “You know the notes, and you just decide how to play the notes for that night. ... Some of the best jazz is when they’re playing the song and they go off a little bit and then come back to the song.”
So what is Lopez riffing on these days?
“There’s a lot of entitlement as we live now,” he says. “There’s a lot of people who feel entitled.
There’s less patience than there used to be. It’s funny, because now that I’ve lived long enough to become patient, no one is patient. Yesterday I was at a light, and the instant it turned green, the person behind me honked. I had taken my foot off the brake to put it on the gas and then, ‘BAMMP!’”
Lopez says he has lately achieved a zen-like patience thanks to undergoing the Eastern therapy of reflexology.
“They rub your feet and they can tell you everything about what you’ve got going in your body,” he says. “It really has had a calming effect in my life.”
But don’t think that will make Lopez any less volatile onstage.
“With everything that’s happening as life goes, you kind of stay around the same kind of spine,” he says, “but everything changes around it. The spine of what I’ve always been is still there.”
Conan the barbarian?
After Conan O’Brien publicly complained about being asked to take a time slot that was a half an hour later to accommodate Jay Leno, O’Brien moved to TBS and ended up doing the very thing he was complaining about to George Lopez by bumping “Lopez Tonight” back an hour.
“It’s funny how that happens,” says Lopez, whose show took a hit in ratings with the move, and was eventually canceled five months ago.
But Lopez says he is not bitter, and he was actually the one to persuade O’Brien to make the move happen the way it did.
“It was something that was very different,” the comedian says wistfully of his show, “and I miss that day-to-day excitement.”