Radio & TV Talk

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George Lopez expresses empathy for Kathy Griffin

This was posted Saturday, June 10, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

George Lopez is a vehement foe of Donald Trump and has said so loudly and proudly over the past couple of years.

But recently, he decided to back off on the direct attacks on the president - at least on the stage. Instead, he focuses more on policy issues, which fans will see at Infinite Energy Center in Duluth when he co-headlines with Cedric the Entertainer on Friday, June 16. (Buy tickets here.)

"I understand there are people in my audience who are Trump supporters," Lopez said in an interview Friday. "I've evolved. I make it clear this is a country of immigrants. It's built by immigrants who work hard every day. I'm more inclusive than attacking him personally."

He is also empathetic toward fellow stand-up comic Kathy Griffin, who created a massive bi-partisan backlash over her recent photos and video of her holding a bloodied, decapitated  Trump.

"She's a comedian," Lopez said. "And clearly, it would be a decision I wouldn't have made. The decision lies in the hands of the comedian. I texted her and told her I supported any comedian. If comics who deal in the make believe had to worry about being politically correct all the time, nobody would be able to talk."

RELATED: CNN drops ties with Kathy Griffin after tasteless decapitated Trump photo/video 

Lopez is best known for his five-year stint starring on the ABC sitcom "The George Lopez Show" from 2002 to 2007 playing a version of himself, a family man at the time who also took care of the woman who raised him - his exasperating, insulting mom. He was just the third Latino to helm a U.S. broadcast TV show following Desi Arnaz and Freddie Prinze.

He later spent two years at TBS as a talk show host and tried to revive his comedy brand with FX's "Saint George" in 2014 depicting his life now as a divorced dad with working-class roots using the traditional sitcom set up. It lasted only 10 episodes.

So last year, he decided to take a different route, landing a single-camera comedy on TV Land, this one dubbed "Lopez." It's designed more like a more mainstream "Louie" or less caustic version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Lopez plays a semi-fictional version of himself as a successful stand-up comic with a teen-age daughter and a coterie of friends. His on-air version of himself is sometimes selfish and petty but ultimately a nice guy.

It's currently airing its second season, with the finale set for June 21. TV Land has not yet committed to a third season.

Lopez said he collects stories from his life and feeds them to the "Lopez" writers to turn into episodes. One time, for instance, a Latino group at a college invited him to perform, then got upset over his material. This became grist for an episode that aired last month.

On "Lopez," the comic spent the latter of part of season one seeking a cushy Las Vegas casino residency. But once his character actually lived the experience, he hated it. He said when he did do shows in Vegas in the late 1980s, he recalled the utter monotony and the lack of flexibility. While opening for Sheena Easton once, he recalled getting castigated by a casino executive for finishing his 30 minute set a whopping three minutes early.

Fans who attend his Infinite Energy show Friday night will get a full 55 minutes of Lopez. This is his third trip to Atlanta in three years, the past two with multiple black comics in what was known as the "Comedy Get Down."

Lopez is appreciative of the experience, expanding his audience and making him a better comic. "Sometimes I speak a little Spanish in my act," he said. "I can't do that here. And I'm not as blue as I would be with my own show."

(I only had 15 minutes with Lopez and there were plenty of subjects left on the table but there's always next time...)


George Lopez & Cedric the Entertainer Live

7 p.m., Friday, June 16


Infinite Energy Arena

6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth

Buy tickets here



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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.