George Lopez has paired with TBS for a new late-night show called Lopez Tonight. I was able to speak with Lopez about this new venture, although I’m not sure how he fits all of this promotion into his schedule. He’s been super-insane-busy promoting Lopez Tonight, and the stress of this situation did come across while we talked. For such a funny guy, he was all business.
When George Lopez first arrives on the phone, he’s immediately apologizing for being late. He makes a joke, and I’m surprised when I realize it’ll be the last joke of our call. Life is a mish-mash of activities for Lopez right now, and it’s clear he’s focused on getting things done. And while he’ll apologize for keeping someone waiting, he won’t apologize for the new approach he’s bringing to late night TV. He makes a point to emphasize that his show will be different than others because he cares about making it different (kind of like a politician who doesn’t just want change but actually tries to make change happen).
He especially wants to be inclusive of new bands, and different types of bands that don’t get coverage on other shows. He said, “I don’t want to be Carson Daly, but I admire (what he does).” That’s kind of how I feel about Daly, myself. Except with a little less admiration. Dude needs to gain some weight back!
Who can go party with George on his show? Who will be his guests? Anyone cool. (Another late night show on the air doesn’t mean they’ll be scraping for guests. There are always people in a waiting line ready to promote their newest perfume/show/cd – make no mistake about that. ) In terms of guests George announced, “We’d like to keep it more legitimate with real celebrities and just a more eclectic mix of color than what you might necessarily see on late night TV currently.” Being inclusive of different races is a huge point of important to Lopez, and he does not seem to think it’s being done properly anywhere else currently. He’s actually right.
When I asked him about what the most stressful part of hosting a late night show will be, George said, “Well, I think the most stressful part of the show (is that) there is no incubation period. I mean, you have to hit the ground running.” People are already judging him and the show, when they haven’t even seen it. And there’s no way he is immune to the negative energy. I have no idea if he reads things on Twitter but he did tell me that he has a a Twitter account that he maintains personally about 90% of the time. He’s interested in interacting with people – which always a plus when it comes to well-known people that sometimes shut themselves off. But no one wants to interact with people who use different anonymous Internet platforms like Twitter just to be hurtful and rude. (And not even clever or witty when they do it.)
“There is such an intolerance and such a divisive nature of humanity already, and something that sounds as sweet as Twitter… “ George trailed off here, lost in thought. I think the point is clear that Twitter can be used in a bad way. I mean, even lil ol’ Miley Cyrus felt it was detrimental to her life and deleted her account. Though he’s probably not thinking about Cyrus a whole lot, Lopez added, “There’s a lot of defeat and there’s a lot of hatred… And it’s unnecessary at a time when it’s expected.” He’s not telling us to feel free to dislike his show if we don’t like it. But at least wait until you’ve seen it to judge. (Or rely on TV reviewers like moi to clue you in!) Which…if anything, is fair. It’s how it should be. But in this fast paced environment where we change our Facebook account status while we’re in the shower and Twitter away our road rage while we’re still driving, people are less patient.
I asked Lopez how he will battle these sorts of stressors and he declared, “In my approach for this show, the challenging thing is to get people to hate less and give an opportunity for something that is about something good and not about something bad. And hate’s a way overused term. I don’t particularly like it. And I think it’s way overused. So, you know, just let me have an opportunity to succeed and fail as anyone else would have. And be as impatient with me as you are with them.”
I could sense by the end of the call that Lopez was feeling a bit forcibly defensive about his project, which is disheartening. But that’s the reality. People don’t naturally like change – I, myself, don’t like most change (even changing shampoo can be a traumatic experience!). Will Lopez let it get to him? I think he’s too strong. He vocalized that he knows the show might not work, but he doesn’t sound defeatist about that fact. He’s going to do his best. “I’m not used to having somebody tell me (what to do) – well I am actually used to it. It hasn’t happened since my childhood. But I’m not really used to having somebody tell me I’m going to fail before the show has even been on.”
Despite all of this, what is the best way to summarize George Lopez’s take on his new show? “I’m ready to bring my A game.” Let’s give it a chance.
I made a fact sheet for you guys about some common questions about Lopez Tonight:
When is Lopez Tonight on? The show will air Mondays through Thursdays at 11 pm et/pt. Only on TBS.
When does George Lopez’s new show start? On November 9th!
Who will be the band for Lopez Tonight? Michael Bearden will be the band leader for the show, he’s a musical director, keyboardist and composer.
Will George Lopez be naked on the show? I didn’t ask him this… and all signs point to ‘no’. Even for cable, that’d be risky. Or ‘risque’. Probably not happening.
What makes this late-night show different than the others? George Lopez says he’s been inspired by Arsenio Hall and how that show was always fun. “It’s time to get back to the kind of show that is fun for everyone to watch. There are enough heavy things going on every day that you should be able to sit down late at night, have a drink, relax and enjoy a party on television. We don’t want to do anything but make the show fun for everybody to watch.” So I doubt he’ll be mean-spirited like other shows. There will also be a focus on audience participation, as well as a format that will not include monologues at the beginning all of the time.
Is this a bad time to have yet another late-night show? This is my personal opinion, but no! There are always a lot of people who’d like to plug their projects, and Lopez is going to do it in a fun way. He doesn’t see it as a competition he has to win. The reason this show will succeed is because George is just doing what he’s always done. In fact, he said, “I don’t feel any pressure to do anything other than what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years, which is making people laugh and entertaining them.”