George Lopez has made a name for himself on television. Literally — his past three TV shows have all bore his name: George Lopez on ABC, Lopez Tonight on TBS, and Saint George on FX. He’s back at this year with Lopez. The single-camera sitcom riffs on the Curb Your Enthusiasm model and gives us a look into the life of a slightly-fictionalized George Lopez, a divorced stand-up comedian living in California navigating the dating world, looking for ways to up his social media game, and trying to find a way to nab that sweet job he’s been angling for.
He’s dealing with what you might call #WhitePeopleProblems. Thankfully, they’re all filtered through Lopez’s characteristic wit. When he’s hounded by water-conscious Angelenos who find his overuse of sprinklers on his lawn to be intolerable, he hopes to diffuse the situation by asking his Mexican gardeners to just let the lawn die. He obviously assures them he’d still cover his wages. Their response? “You want me to take money for not working? I’m not white.”
We sat down to talk to with Lopez about mining his life yet again for the small screen, the roster of guest stars we can expect in the show’s first season, and that “Fuck That Puto” catchphrase that’s taken on a life of its own.
On Pushing The Limits Of What He Shares On The Show
“Because you become a success… it doesn’t mean all your problems go away. It means that your problems are just starting.”
You know, things that I think are private to either my life when I was married would be off limits. But the divorce and the kidney thing was public. I don’t think my ex-wife is ever happy that I talk about it — I don’t blame her. But to me, I want to accept the responsibility for a relationship that went bad. Looking at myself it just seemed that if I tried to do something other than be truthful with the show, because all my stuff has had that thread connected to it, that it would be for sure be something that I wouldn’t be comfortable with. Or that I would like to do. But in this show, because you become a success and have something other people don’t have — it doesn’t mean all your problems go away. It means that your problems are just starting. So in the run of the series of 12 you get to see things that are gonna work out and they all sort of unravel. And they’re all based my reality.
On Shooting a Single-Camera Show
In the multi-camera, everything is bigger. In a sitcom with a live audience everything is a little more exaggerated. There’s more jokes per page, like I think we used to have six jokes per page. In this one you can see the wheels turning, which no one’s really seen my wheels turning. And then you can listen to what somebody’s said. And not everything’s a joke. Sometime it’s just a reaction to something absurd. Like, for example, it’s very difficult to date somebody. If she doesn’t know you, you say why doesn’t she know me? And if she does know you, you wonder if she only wants you for who you are. And there is a little bit of a grey area there that I haven’t been able to connect with, because you know, I’m out for a living. I’m out on the circuit, out on the road. That’s not fun for someone to just be waiting for me, to have the show be done. And when I get home, I want to stay home. And normal people who have healthy lives they want to go out. So I thought that was a great area for comedy as well.
On His Catchphrase FTP Popping Up Everywhere
“It’s taken on its own life. It was not meant as a homophobic slur.”
It’s taken on its own life. It was not meant as a homophobic slur. “Puto” has a lot of connotations too. But we’ve turned it into a greeting almost: “Hey, how you been puto?” “Oh, I was just dropping my mom off.” I did not invent or create it to be hurtful to people who were of another lifestyle. It’s not even really used as that. It’s more used as an attack to somebody like Donald Trump who’s outside of the lines. I wouldn’t want it to be used to be a slur to somebody. But #FTP is a great hashtag. I say sometimes it stands for “Forgive The People,” too.
On Whether We’ll See His Ex-Wife Pop Up
It would be very difficult to go up and ask! But it would be quite a stunt! I mean, I got Snoop and I got Babyface. I got Kathy Griffin. Ed Begley Jr. who’s great! But I would not rule out asking her. That would be quite a show!
Lopez airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on TV Land.