GEORGE LOPEZ: Much obliged.
KEVIN VLK: All righty.
Hello, everyone, welcome to Talks at Google, I'm Kevin Vlk,
and today we're welcoming George Lopez.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Thank you, everybody.
KEVIN VLK: I don't know what that means.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Like, oh my god, I'm so happy to be here.
KEVIN VLK: And I want to thank our HOLA, Hispanic Googler
Network for also helping us put this on today, so--
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
KEVIN VLK: Especially [? Juani, ?] thank you.
And George, you can currently see him
on his tour, which is the Black and Brown Comedy Get Down Tour.
And you're touring with some amazing people,
Cedric 'The Entertainer,' Mike Epps, D.L. Hughley,
Eddie Griffin, anyone else in this?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Charlie Murphy.
KEVIN VLK: Charlie Murphy.
GEORGE LOPEZ: D.L. Hughley.
Yeah, let's see.
Yeah, Mike Epps, Cedric, D.L. Hughley,
Eddie Griffin, Charlie, and myself.
And then it's called the Black and Brown Comedy Get Down.
And then they said, well, you're the only brown in the get down.
And I said, yeah, but when you hire one brown,
they do the work of five people.
I'm the only brown they need.
And I organized it all myself.
They said, hey, I think George Lopez put the stage together,
Mike Epps, oh he can put the stage together.
KEVIN VLK: That's amazing.
So you grew up in Mission Hills, just outside of LA.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yes.
KEVIN VLK: Raised by your grandmother.
And I read that you wanted to comedy since you
were about 11 years old.
So what sparked that for you?
Did you grow up in a comedic household?
Or where you just a goofball?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what, there was humor in the, house
but from a negative point.
You know, I think sometimes the negative is-- like, you know,
in the tour right now, if you see a kid now,
you have to congratulate him on everything that they do.
Like waking up.
Hey, hi, Ryan.
You woke up.
I was at Coffee Bean-- this is true,
this is where the thing came from.
So I was at Coffee Bean, and the father says,
can you go get me some Sugar In The Raw?
And the kid walks across Coffee Bean, and the dad's
complimenting, you're walking great.
You're walking great.
You're walking great.
I'm like, what the?
So then, with me and my, you know, negative positive.
The joke I say is, our parents only congratulated us
when we did something bad.
Like if you crashed the car, your whole family
was out front going, beautiful.
Look what you did.
I don't know how you did it, but you scratched
both sides of the car.
And I'm so proud.
I'm prouder that I cosigned.
But you know, it's an easy-- you know,
like the formula for the comedy came from the tough place
where I grew up.
But also because everything was-- sometimes
when things are kind of like, not going well,
it's the funniest.
You know, my grandmother, who I miss, like every day.
And I never thought I would miss her that much.
She told me, when I'm gone, you're gonna miss me.
But you know what?
She was right.
So the one time, you know, she had cancer,
so I was taking her to radiation, you know.
And we get to the place, and I said, OK Grandma, you
gotta go in there.
She goes, I don't wanna go in there.
I said, Grandma, you have to go in there.
The doctor's waiting for you.
And she goes, I'm not going to go in.
I said, Grandma, you have to go get radiation.
And she said, maybe I don't want to be radiated.
So I thought all that was funny.
Me and her used to have a great time.
So you know, not until, I think, when my show started,
that "Time" magazine, they wrote an article about me.
And then the guy in the article said,
I think George Lopez should thank
his grandmother for his success, because it
seems to all come from her.
And it's true.
It's true, everything came from her.
KEVIN VLK: That's amazing.
So I kind of want to talk about getting your rise into comedy.
Because stand-up comedy was huge in, like,
the '70s and the '80s, with like, Pryor, Cosby, Seinfeld.
And then, kind of in the late '80s and '90s
it started to kind of just sink.
And in the '90s, mid '90s, it really hit low.
But that's kind of when you were going through it.
So what kind of kept you through, and kind of
finding your voice, and saying that I could actually do this?
GEORGE LOPEZ: First of all, I was afraid of everything,
So I would quit if it got scary to me.
Or if it got tough, I would stop.
And when I was playing baseball-- I loved baseball,
I still do-- but when I was playing,
I got kicked off the team for not being as disciplined
as somebody else.
And then the coach said to me, you know your problem?
When it gets tough, you quit.
And it wasn't until, like three years out of high school,
that I realized that he was right.
Like, he had nailed it.
So I went back to the school one day,
and I waited 'till after baseball practice,
and I walked up to him, and I apologized for the way
that I had treated him.
And that he had taught me an incredible lesson, of when
things get tough, things get better.
And that everything that I wanted to quit,
I didn't after that.
And everything changed.
And then I met Arsenio Hall in February of 1989,
his show had just started.
And that was a night that I wasn't going to go.
It was a Wednesday, and I said, nah, I'm not going to go.
And then I end up convincing myself to go,
and then I met him.
And it really did change the direction of my life.
Because not only did I get an opportunity
to be on TV, on an incredible show,
but I also made a friend that, we're still very close.
We just went to a basketball game, and we talk all the time.
And I met somebody that kind of understands
what I was going through.
And it's a valuable friendship.
KEVIN VLK: So your first time onstage,
was it good, or did you bomb?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Man.
So the first time I go onstage, I'm scared to death.
And I had my friend Ernie with me.
You know I did the show, that guy Ernie,
there was a real Ernie.
And we went to-- it was in Westwood--
and we bought-- I was 18, I was still in high school.
And we paid a wino to go into the liquor store,
and buy us a bottle of wine.
And then he gave us a little bottle, and we're like,
don't they have bigger bottles?
He bought himself a bigger bottle,
and gave us the little one.
We didn't give him money to buy his wine,
but he used our money to buy it.
So I took a little bit of a drink
to kind of sooth the nerves.
But it is frightening.
You know, anything new, any job, any place you move, any school,
education, people that you meet, it's all-- initially,
your initial reaction is fear.
You know, you're a little bit nervous,
you're a little bit afraid.
But then when you get past that, and convince yourself
that you're in the right place, you really
are in the right place.
KEVIN VLK: So what got you back up on the stage?
If the first time was scary and nerve-racking,
and stuff, or was it just, hey, I can't quit?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know, I always felt
like I was little bit different than everybody
that I had grown up around.
And even people in my family.
That I just felt a little different.
It wasn't through intelligence, no.
But I just felt a little different in the way
that I thought, you know.
And I started to write notes when I was 11 years old.
I still have some notebooks from when I was 11.
And, yeah, I always thought that I could be different.
Like I felt different.
Even when things weren't going good,
I always felt that I was different.
KEVIN VLK: So did you have a mentor?
Kind of going through the comedy circuit, someone who kind
of took you under their wing?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, you know, I don't think I did.
You know, of the things that I think I'm proudest of,
is that Freddie Prinze, Sr., from "Chico and the Man,"
was really the first person that I saw that I said,
you know, I think I could do this.
I think he had an album.
And he was Puerto Rican and Hungarian,
and he was playing Mexican.
And then I said, you know, I think this is a possibility.
So I started to focus on him, and then
he committed suicide in 1977, and I was in 10th grade.
It affected me a lot, because I had been in love with him.
And then the first real loss that I ever felt in my life,
that somebody that I'd admired was gone.
And then Richard Pryor, you know,
was somebody that I watched.
And my grandmother was-- my grandmother
was not a fan of the African American culture.
So I say the only black person that my grandmother allowed
into the house was Richard Pryor, on a VHS tape.
That was it.
All my friends would have to stay outside,
even though when she left to work, I brought them inside.
But she was very backwards in her thinking.
But then also, I think I told this story.
This is a true story.
Like, when my grandmother started
to get dementia and a little bit of Alzheimer's, I
didn't put her in a home.
I kept her in the house.
But then I needed to hire nurses.
And I said, you know, I think I'm gonna hire black nurses,
so that my grandmother would learn a lesson in race
before she goes.
So I called the place, and I said, I need some nurses.
And they said, what kind of nurses do you need?
And I said black.
And then lady goes, sir, we do not
give out our nurses by the color of their skin,
but their qualifications.
What kind of qualifications do you need?
I said, no, they have to be black.
And she was like, who is this?
And I said, it's George Lopez.
And you know what the lady said?
There's the money.
I swear it, too.
And I said, now we're talking.
And then I had some-- and you know,
the greatest thing is, my grandmother,
they would sit next to each other, and watch TV,
and say, this is my best friend.
And then I would be like, she never
told me I was her best friend.
But you know, it worked out.
It worked out, yeah.
And then, it was years, and she wouldn't go.
So I told her one time, you know,
she had a hart thing at the hospital.
I said, Grandma, you know, can go.
She went like this.
She said, I'm not going anywhere.
KEVIN VLK: So every comedian kind of has, you
know, two stories from kind of like, their tours.
It's kind of like their biggest bomb, and also
just their weirdest, funnies story from being on tour.
So do you have one of those, kind
of when you were kind of rising up through the ranks?
The most memorable moment?
GEORGE LOPEZ: I got a gun pulled on me one time
in an alley in Indianapolis.
KEVIN VLK: That took a dark turn.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
KEVIN VLK: Terrible questions, interviewer.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I had a guy pull a gun on me.
He didn't like what I was saying,
and he says, get on your knees.
And I said, literally, I said, I'm not getting on my knees.
He goes, get on your knees.
I said, I'm not gonna get on my knees.
And then he said, I remember he said,
I'm not going to shoot you, because I
believe in apple pie and America, or something
Was that in the Chevy slogan?
So he says, get out of here.
Like, he says, get out of here.
And he says, run.
And I'm like, I'm not gonna run.
So I didn't get on my knees, because I'm not
going to do that, ever.
And then I didn't run, because, you know, I'm Chicano,
I don't run.
And then, the minute I turned the corner I took off.
I ran out of my jacket.
I was running, and my jacket came off.
I looked back, I just kept running.
I ran out of my jacket, I was running so crazy,
my arms were flying, my jacket came off.
And then I didn't go back to get it.
I never ran out of my jacket.
But he didn't see me run.
He came around looking for me, but I was gone.
KEVIN VLK: You know, hearing your stand-up,
it seems to be all new material.
I know a lot of comedians-- like Seinfeld,
he mixes kind of like his greatest hits with new stuff.
And Louis C.K. kind of starts fresh every time
he kinds of goes on tour.
So what's your process for coming up with material?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know, I kind of weave stuff in and out.
You know, there's things that are like synonymous with--
and I don't even know if they're really jokes, per se, you know.
KEVIN VLK: They're stories.
GEORGE LOPEZ: They're, yeah, kind of recollections.
You know, like, there's the Jack in the Box one.
The Jack in the Box one started because in Sacramento,
after we did the punchline, I went to Jack in the Box,
and I rolled up and the guy's like,
welcome to Jack in the Bok, can I hep you?
And I was like, what?
And the guy's like, welcome to Jack in the Bok, can I hel you?
I said, is this Jack in the Box?
He's like, say, Jack in the Bok, can I hel you?
And I said, yeah, can I have-- just the way I laid it out
in the joke.
Can I have a jumbo jack?
You want a yumbo yak?
And he goes, frem fry?
And then he's like, papas fritas, stupid!
But he did say, he said pexi, and esprite.
He said esprite.
So then the next night I did it, and boom.
One time I was outside of a club,
and these Latinos were there, you know,
they were trying to be, like, successful,
you know, they're sitting there.
And you know, and I'm sitting right there.
So they're going, remember that time?
And they're going, remember that time we
went over to that place?
And they said, which place?
Member the place?
They go, member?
And they said, I don't member.
Yeah, you don't member?
And then it was all negative.
Member your mom fe-- oh, yeah, that.
Yeah, it was all around a negative.
Member your mom fell that time?
Oh, yeah, I member.
And that I did that one, and then
that one became huge, as well.
So all of the-- I've got a pain in my chest, I can't breathe.
That was one.
I know ha, was one.
I know ha.
And they say they it all the time.
I hear it all the time.
So you know, I kind of had-- you know,
I thought our culture was funny enough to kind of--
and it's funny, because it's not-- you know,
people say, aw, it's making fun of it.
But you know, Bill Cosby, or Seinfeld, or those guys,
they all had a thing.
And it's funny, Bill Cosby, what you know?
Hey, the thing--
KEVIN VLK: Next question.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I say it almost like
in "The Silence of the Lambs."
It puts the lotion in the basket.
KEVIN VLK: So Sandra Bullock, and her production company,
they gave you your big break on TV.
One of her scouts.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Sandra Bullock did, yes.
KEVIN VLK: And I did not know that.
That's really, really cool.
So she kind of noticed that there wasn't really
a true, just Hispanic, television show.
GEORGE LOPEZ: She lives in Austin,
and she fell in love with the culture.
And she started to say, how come there's not-- I
think she had done "Miss Congeniality,"
and then I think her mom was not well,
she had kind of become kind of distant from acting, you know,
because she was taking care of her family.
So then she actually had a show idea that was about teenagers,
like Latino teenagers.
And they wanted me to be the father of these teenagers.
But the father, he wasn't in the lead of the show,
the kids were.
So then I got her to come and see me do stand up.
And after, she came back in, and she goes, forget my idea.
I want to do what's in your act, because that's the better
And then I did the grandmother.
My Grandma's name was Bennie.
They lady on the show was named Bennie.
My best friend was named Ernie.
The guy was named Ernie.
I was married, my wife was named Ann, it was Angie.
Max was my grandmother's dog's name.
I named him Max.
And Carmen was Cheech's daughter's name.
I thought that that would be a good one, Carmen.
And then the Powers Aviation, I worked
at a place called Powers.
I shipped books, like back end.
You know, how to play blackjack, how to read minds,
you know, those how to books, like how to grow a garden.
I shipped books.
Like, I shipped.
Like I got the thing, I put the box in there.
And the guy's name was Melvin Powers.
And I remember one day, he came and he had some guys,
he was taking a tour, and he goes, hey, George,
And I said, great, Melvin.
And then he looked at me like, did you just call me Melvin?
And I got fired that day for calling him
Melvin, instead of Mr. Powers, in front of guests.
So when I did my TV show, I named
one of the guys Melvin Powers.
One of the brothers that owned the place.
So I used all kind of real life names and situations.
KEVIN VLK: And it ran for six seasons,
and was successful on ABC, but then it got canceled,
and then it found a whole new life,
and was even more successful in syndication.
So do you just think it was ahead of its time,
or what attributes it to the success that it had afterwards?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, you know I think that, you know,
ABC moved it around a little bit,
and then it struggled to find, like, a main spot.
But people liked it when I was on,
although it wasn't a big thing.
But I thought the fact that people
could see it at the same time, and see back to back episodes,
because we had 120 of them, that it became--
and it hasn't been off the air since 2002.
Professionally, I think it's the thing I'm proudest of.
Because I took some painful things in my life,
and I put them in that show.
And when I was younger man, I'd gotten arrested,
and I was in jail in Van Nuys.
And I'm sitting kind of like this.
And then somebody sits next to me,
and they're wearing toenail polish.
And I look down, and I look up, it's
a guy in an orange jumpsuit, with toenail polish,
and blond hair.
Big guy, sitting next to me.
So the guard comes to the door, and he goes, Lopez?
And I stand up, and the dude stands up.
And the guard goes, no, Mrs. Lopez.
This is great.
And you know what, I put that in the show.
That whole scene, where I was in jail, and the guy came,
and thing, I put the whole thing in there, word for word.
Word for word.
No, Mrs. Lopez.
KEVIN VLK: What I was really shocked by
was that you were one of only, actually,
four Hispanics to ever really lead a sitcom.
It was Desi in "I Love Lucy," Freddie, who you mentioned,
in "Chico and the Man," Paul Rodriguez in "Pablo."
But these were TV shows really aired decades apart.
"Lucy" in the '50s, "Chico" in the '70s,
"Pablo" in the '80s, and then almost 20 years gap
until your show in 2002.
So why the long gaps, do you think?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, no disrespect to Paul Rodriguez,
Pablo only was on three weeks, and I was on 120.
So Desi Arnaz was Cuban, and it was
called "I Love Lucy." "Chico and the Man" was Freddie Prinze,
and Chico was his name.
KEVIN VLK: So you're the first.
GEORGE LOPEZ: The only Mexican, so far.
So that's impressive.
KEVIN VLK: Were there any TV shows
that you watched when you grew up
that influenced you to create your show,
or was it all just kind of pulled from your stand-up?
GEORGE LOPEZ: No, I think, like, you know, "Taxi," or "Barney
Miller," or, you know, "Rosanne," and stuff like that
was really influential.
Seinfeld, and, you know.
It's interesting, you never know what you put out
to the universe, like you never really think about-- you know,
people can make themselves sick by worrying,
and people can make themselves better
by being happy, and being cheerful, and being
positive, and being kind.
And just, you know, putting out positive energy.
I used to watch Drew Carey, and Bruce Helford and Drew Carey
created the show.
And I would say to the TV, I would be like--
because I knew Drew Carey-- I would say, man,
where's my Bruce Helford at?
Where's my Bruce Helford?
So when I did George Lopez, I did it with Bruce Helford.
Is that crazy?
KEVIN VLK: Wow.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
And then I told my wife the story about Bruce Helford,
the one time we were doing interviews,
and I was in the hallway, and he was
on the TV in the hallway talking about me.
And started crying, because I was like,
you know, there he is.
KEVIN VLK: Wow.
How are you able to-- because you appeal
to such a diverse audience.
Is that a conscious decision, or are you
just kind of, what's funny is funny?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, listen, I mean, if you look like this.
I mean, anybody could look like Mario Lopez and be successful.
You know, try looking like this.
You've gotta be funny to be successful and look like this.
So I just thought that-- you know,
at first people thought it was really
kind of Latino based humor, and then if you look at it now,
it's very social and economic levels of things that we did.
And you look at things that Latinos do, just in general,
like you have a dining room table with every chair's
All the pots and pans are in the oven.
You know what I mean?
You're like, where are the pots?
They're in the oven.
Everything's in the oven.
Oh my god, I mean, there's so many things that my--
KEVIN VLK: If you guys want to start lining up
for questions, too, we're going to start
answering your questions.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Also, my grandmother never put
anything in a Ziploc bag.
So you would eat ice cream, and it tasted like tamales,
because the tamales that were in there from Christmas,
the fragrance had gotten into the ice cream.
And then you're eating ice cream, and you're like,
this tastes like tamales.
And then the whole thing, I really
did make snow cones from scraping
the ice from the freezer, and putting 7UP.
You know, what's crazy now too, is kids are like engineers.
You know what we did?
As an engineer, we'd try to fill the ice tray
to make ice without spilling it before you got it
to the refrigerator.
That was our engineering.
Making Kool-Aid with cellophane on top, with toothpicks
so that you've got a little, like a toothpick ice cube,
that tasted like chorizo from the thing.
Like, I would bring a plate back with foil,
and then the guy would be going, my mom wants her foil back.
And it was over the plate.
Yeah, they fold it and put in there.
KEVIN VLK: Oh my god, that's so funny.
And then, so you went from your sitcom
over to "Lopez Tonight," on TBS.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
KEVIN VLK: And so, what was the biggest difference for you,
going from-- obviously, other than the format--
but going from a sitcom with multiple cameras, to a--
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what the thing
is, you never want to work in a place where you're stifled.
Like every day, you go, and they tell you
you can't do something.
The talk show, it lasted two years, but every day was,
you don't, you can't do this, you can't do that.
Too many Latinos are watching.
Not enough women are watching.
Too many women are watching.
Too many Latinos are watching.
Too many black people are watching.
Not enough black people are watching.
And every day, it was that.
So even the last two years, was amazing,
because, you know, they say they want you,
and then they bring you in, and then they make you different.
And I didn't want to be different.
That's what I love about stand-up,
is that nobody can say what you can say or not say.
You know, they either laugh, or they don't laugh.
I'll take that risk.
KEVIN VLK: And what was the biggest lesson
you learned just from doing a sitcom and doing a talk show?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what, you learn
to be dedicated to your work, and to be
prepared all the time.
That this business is tough enough
for anybody of any color, but the lack of preparation,
or when you're not sufficiently educated or prepared,
can hurt you.
And then you think it's because of you or what you are,
but really it's just that you're just not prepared.
So it taught me to work while people were sleeping,
and to write while people were resting.
And I dedicated to my work to myself, and it worked out.
KEVIN VLK: Yeah.
And then you transitioned to-- well, not transitioned,
but you've done a lot movies, too.
With critical success, with "Real Women Have
Curves," "Bread and Roses," and now, "Spare Parts,"
which just came out in January.
And that's based on a true story of four
undocumented Mexican American teenagers
from Phoenix, who team up for an underwater robot competition,
national robotics competition.
Marisa Tomei is in it.
So I've seen a lot of comedians, you included,
do some of their best work in drama.
You are a very, very good dramatic actor in your movies.
Patton Oswalt did it in "Young Adult" and "Big Fan."
And Jim Carrey, "Eternal Sunshine."
Robin Williams in "Good Will Hunting" and "What Dreams
So what do you think it is about comedians just being
really good dramatic actors?
Because you're really good.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I think that there's kind of a built in,
when you take a couple of hits, and you
know what it's like to have pain,
and you tap into what is natural, in kind of our lives.
That things, of people that have left,
or things that you felt, that you kind of carry.
And it does help you become a more dramatic actor.
But, you know, in that movie, "Spare Parts,"
which is a very important move because of these kids doing
something, pretty much impossible, that
for Latino kids from Arizona could
create a robot for under $800.
Wire it, and do the coding all themselves.
And beat MIT.
And beat Stanford, and Harvard, and Cornell.
And they beat everybody.
And they only entered-- you know,
this is a very Latino thing-- they entered
not to lose to high schools, but never thinking about winning.
So they didn't say, we just don't
want to lose to high schools, they never thought,
we could win.
So we have to change that thinking, too,
that you can win.
And you can beat, if you think you're the best,
you could beat anybody who thinks
they're as good as you are, if not better.
KEVIN VLK: Wow.
All right, we'll take an audience question.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yes.
AUDIENCE: First of all, thanks for coming to Google, George.
GEORGE LOPEZ: No, hey, listen, thank you, Google.
I'm deeply touched.
You know, Ming, my friend, has been very kind to me.
He's my brother, right there.
I met Ming at MIT, with the Dalai Lama.
Ming is, how long have you known His Holiness?
MING: I don't know, many years.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Many years.
So I, a practicing Buddhist, I'm trying.
But you know what a trip it is, that my grandmother would
see them around San Fernando, and tease them.
And then they were always around me, so I said,
there has to be a reason why they're always around me,
so I met Ming through that.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for coming to the Pebble Beach tournament
as frequently as you do.
You and Bill Murray make the tournament,
so please continue coming to that.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I love golf.
You know, I never would imagine that I would be a golfer,
but you know, it taught me things that a human being
didn't teach me.
KEVIN VLK: Well, we've got mini putt- putt out here.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah, I'll go there.
AUDIENCE: So, George, I'm not much on the links,
but I happen to be a professional mini golf player.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Nice.
AUDIENCE: So, I challenge you to a one hole challenge,
winner take all.
GEORGE LOPEZ: What are those?
AUDIENCE: An Android onsie.
GEORGE LOPEZ: A one piece?
AUDIENCE: That's right.
GEORGE LOPEZ: All right, after we're done.
AUDIENCE: It's on.
GEORGE LOPEZ: All right.
AUDIENCE: Thank you, sir.
KEVIN VLK: I'll walk you out.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I won't lose.
Now that there's a flap in the back, tambien.
KEVIN VLK: See Hector on your way out.
GEORGE LOPEZ: If it didn't have a flap,
I'm not sure I would play you, but that had a flap.
KEVIN VLK: Next question.
AUDIENCE: You talk a lot about, or you did earlier, about fear.
And I'm thinking about Latino households, especially those
without a lot of resources, just how much heartache there is.
Because it's tough.
It's tough for parents, it's tough for kids,
yet that humor is there.
And that, like, resilience.
And that, like, even if you're never
given positive reinforcement, you
know, like other families are, people make it.
And I'm wondering, I just feel that anxiety and depression
are so prevalent, and humor is such an antidote for that.
And just wondering how you think about your ability
I'm thinking about dads out there, who are like,
they're beating down their own demons,
and trying to raise kids and not transmit that pain.
What are your thoughts?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know, that is a great question,
because I didn't have a father.
I never met my father.
And my mother was not well, mentally.
And I took a lot of abuse as a kid.
And my grandparents were disconnected,
and never encouraging to me.
Never encouraging to me.
And I just didn't want to become what I had seen, or was seeing.
You know, and it's very difficult, even now,
but that is definitely right.
There is a responsibility that fathers have,
and family has, to at least encourage, or talk to, or not
talk at, or scream at children.
Because a wound, it stays with you.
And then, like something kind, stays with you too.
Because I was always the darkest of anybody of my friends.
And I always felt bad about it.
Like, you know, all Mexicans have
a lemon tree in the backyard.
So I used to rub lemons on my arms,
to try to lighten my skin.
But then one of the first complements that I ever
really remember getting was, I was at a department store,
and an African American woman said to me,
you have beautiful skin.
Beautiful color skin.
And I never forgot it.
And it meant a lot.
So even little encouraging things
mean a lot to kids, and to people.
And that's what I think we should pass on,
is that critical is too critical,
and somewhere in between.
Where you can't coddle everybody, but also,
you can't give them everything, either.
GEORGE LOPEZ: So, thank you.
Was that a good answer?
Because that was long.
AUDIENCE: Hi, thank you for joining us.
I had a question on Hollywood and globalization.
And you were mentioning, you know, these audiences.
What do you see in the next 20 years
for entertainment, globally?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, you know, what I would like to see,
which I think is we're suffering a little bit from,
is when movies are made, they're made for a particular audience.
And you look at movies that are predominantly all white,
or a movie that's predominantly all black.
And I think we have to start to incorporate, instead
of trends of actors, an actual diversity of actors in movies.
When they cast movies, that it looks more like real life.
You know, Woody Allen does movies,
and there's never anybody of any color in the movies.
And it's a little bit of a disservice,
that you see a guy that's such a great filmmaker,
and he chooses to do a movie like that in New York,
and it doesn't look like New York.
So incorporating diversity, and I
don't think there is even an organization that makes sure
that there is diversity in movies.
But the producers, and the people that write,
and the movie studios have to be more
responsible in getting more of a mix of what looks like.
You know, Asian, and what the world looks like.
Yeah, so, absolutely.
And then when I did my show, I tried to include everybody.
I think that's one of the reasons why
it's so successful, is that I tried to include everybody.
And not exclude anybody, but include.
Like, you know, with my humour, it may, at times,
look like it's divisive, but it's meant to be inclusive,
to where we say, you know, we're here too.
You know the Mexican director that won an Academy
Award for "Bird Man," and then everybody's
pissed off because he's Mexican, and he's from Mexico.
And even Sean Penn, who-- that's cool,
if they're friends, that's all right.
But to say, you know, who gave this guy his green card,
as a joke?
Maybe, you know, in a bar, but not at the Oscars,
because it's hard to tell if that's a joke or not.
You know, and even though they're friends, you know,
this and that, there's a place for it, and a place not for it.
But you know, Donald Trump.
So you see Donald Trump like Captain America.
He says, you know, Mexico is sending over criminals.
We're not all criminals.
Some are, most aren't.
But then he's like, you know, we've got to close the border,
this guy wins an Academy Award.
And he puts in a tweet, Mexico, pay me back the money
you owe me.
So I Tweeted him back, listen, if you ever
lend money to a Mexican, you know
you don't get it all right away.
You're going to get installments.
And I put #igetpaideverytwoweeks,
So, you know, there's humor in that.
But ignorance, I think, is the enemy of us,
not anybody of any particular color.
I think ignorance is the enemy, not people.
Stupid people, at least.
KEVIN VLK: Well, I read an article,
and it must be true, because I read it.
But Hispanics comprise the fastest growing demographic
in the US box office.
So they're actually contributing almost 20%
of the US box office revenue of all movies.
And they represent only about 17.5% of the population.
So it's huge.
And it's interesting that movies just aren't-- is that
the politics of Hollywood, and stuff?
Do you want to change it?
Can you change it?
GEORGE LOPEZ: I think can.
You know, I produced "Spare Parts."
You know it's harder to find movies like that.
But you keep doing movies, and then
keep-- you know, we did "Rio," probably made
a billion dollars, both movies.
And the director was from Brazil.
And he had great music.
I mean, great, great music.
And he actually wanted me to try to speak
with a Brazilian accent.
And I tried, like, I had a coach.
I'm like, oh my god, this isn't going to work.
And then, thank god that Fox told him,
listen, if we hire George Lopez, we want that bird to sound
like George Lopez.
But I've done a lot with the voice.
You know, the voice is very recognizable.
You know, a very recognizable voice,
that I didn't think, you know, anything of it.
And then sometimes I'll call a place, and I'll say,
hey, what time do you guys close?
And they're like, who is this?
But in those movies, you know, in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua,"
and what other ones?
KEVIN VLK: "Rio."
GEORGE LOPEZ: "Rio." "Smurfs."
I'm a Smurf!
Like a Chicano Smurf.
KEVIN VLK: Grouchy, doesn't fit you.
GEORGE LOPEZ: And I think they had him like that,
too, in one picture.
KEVIN VLK: Do you enjoy doing the voiceover work in a booth?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what, I do.
I enjoy contributing, so kids have something to watch.
You know, that kids have something to watch.
It's important, because I never thought of myself like either
a leader in any way, or more important than anybody else,
but I always respect the past.
You know, like I have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,
and I got it the day that the show had the hundredth episode,
And the guy said to me, I think we
want to put a star into the Walk of Fame.
And I said, I can do it.
I can't go in until Freddie Prinze goes in.
And then he said, I think he's in.
And I said, I don't think so.
So they checked, and he wasn't in.
And I paid the money so that Freddie Prinze
could have his star.
And I was there, and his son was there,
and his ex-wife was there, and his mom
was on the phone from Puerto Rico and crying.
So that, the mom was, wow, man.
Because, you know, everybody kind of forgot about him,
and the mom said to me, if Freddie was alive,
you guys would be friends.
And I was like, that's nice.
I'm not crying at Google.
Nobody cries at Google.
KEVIN VLK: Somebody give him a hug.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I'm gonna go somewhere, I'm gonna.
AUDIENCE: Why are you crying?
GEORGE LOPEZ: I know, why are you crying?
AUDIENCE: Why are you crying?
GEORGE LOPEZ: All right, now I'm over it.
KEVIN VLK: It's the lights.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Now I'm over it, I'm over it.
So the next one I did, that I had to do, to honor-- thing
was that Richard Pryor had a statue in Peoria
that was half done.
And then I asked all those guys to help me raise the money
to get the statute done.
And then we raised the money, and I
think the statue is going to be unveiled in May, completely
done, in his hometown.
And I think, so, I've done that to the people that, you know,
That was nice.
KEVIN VLK: Awesome.
AUDIENCE: Odelay, George, what's going on, man?
GEORGE LOPEZ: What's happening?
AUDIENCE: First, I want to say thanks
for coming through, to Google.
Seriously, it's been amazing.
Like, if there was like a heat map,
of like, where the [SPEAKING SPANISH]
at, it would be, like really red in this area right now.
And I think it's due to you, and your presence.
Seriously, I have been a fan, like, for the longest time,
since you were in radio.
And just a long time.
So I wanted to say, you know, I see you sort of as,
like-- you know, the movie, "Spare Parts,"
I thought that that was like a modern day "Stand and Deliver."
Like that story was resonating again,
for like, the audiences that were growing up now.
So, you know, like, how do I reach these kids?
You know what I mean?
I wanted to say, what do you think about TV now?
Like if you look, I mean, we have "Cristela," "Blackish,"
"Fresh Off the Boat."
You know, TV's become a little more colored.
And I like it, but I wanted to see what your take is on it.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Those are all ABC shows, too, by the way.
GEORGE LOPEZ: So ABC, I think ABC leads the way in diversity
You know, culture.
You know, when I was on TV, Damon Wayans had a show at ABC.
Wanda Sykes was at Fox.
Bernie Mac, god rest him, was over there at Fox, as well.
And there was much more diversity in TV
10 years ago than there is now.
And that's the saddest part, is that as we
progress as a culture, and get more intelligent,
that we leave that impression that people don't matter.
They do matter.
Everybody's like everybody else.
You know, you're human.
But if you watch TV, and kids see that,
they need to see people that look like them.
They need to people that sound like them.
And they need to see people that make them
feel good about who they are.
You know, I got a message from a Chicano kid at, I think,
UC Irvine, that the professor told him
that Chicano was a derogatory term for a Mexican.
And I said, no, that's not true.
And he says, well he thinks it is.
I said, I'll tell you what, I'm gonna name my next tour,
and I'm gonna put Chicano in the title for your professor.
And I started thinking, wow, what?
So somebody said tall, dark, and handsome.
And I said, wait a minute.
So my tour in the HBO special, the 15,000 seat one,
was called "Tall, Dark & Chicano."
So I did it, and I sent the teacher a DVD of the--
AUDIENCE: So I get another chance?
Is that it?
KEVIN VLK: Yeah, sure, you're up here.
Come on, ask another question.
AUDIENCE: I guess part of it, to let you know,
is that I feel like you've obviously
been like an innovator, and like a person that's
been able to cross a lot of boundaries.
A lot of borders within television and entertainment
How do you see your role developing now,
as you become wiser and more-- as a bigger
figure in Hollywood, how do you see your role of bringing up
the young [SPEAKING SPANISH]?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what?
It's interesting that you say that,
because we talked about it at lunch.
I'm going to produce a television show, "Stand-ups,"
and we're going to try to find the next stand-ups,
the next generation of stand-ups.
Male, and female, and gay, and straight, and creative.
However we gotta find them, I'm gonna do a show
and host it, and produce it, and find them.
And not necessarily Latino, I'm gonna do it for everybody.
Because that's important.
I mean, it would be a disservice for me to do all this,
and then leave nothing.
Leave no influence behind, other than people watching me.
And I don't want to watch me no more.
KEVIN VLK: Well, it's a great time
to do it, because comedy clubs, and comedians,
and stand-up is at a peak right now.
Just all these comedians.
GEORGE LOPEZ: And you know, the thing,
like, Carnival Cruise Lines, you know, they came to me,
I think three years ago, and they said, can we use your name
on all the cruise ships?
So all the cruise ships have my name
and my picture on the stage.
So that was a big thing for me, that kind of, like the brand
would cross over into something like Carnival.
George Lopez, you know, nice.
KEVIN VLK: That's interesting, because I also
read that you turned down a role in the 1995 movie,
"Desperado," with Antonio Banderas.
You didn't like how it promoted negative images of Latinos.
So do you do that a lot, where you're just like, no, I
can't be involved with this.
It's not my brand.
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know what, I do.
Because for me, particularly, I can't do it.
So when that movie-- it's funny, because you know,
you always get your integrity questioned, you know.
Like, I remember, I read for the movie.
Salma Hayek's in it.
Antonio Banderas is in it.
Robert Rodriguez is directing it.
So they called me, and they said, hey,
they're offering you a part in "Desperado."
And I said, yeah, what part?
And they said, a drug runner.
And then I literally said, how much drugs
and how much running?
But I turned it down.
And then Robert and I became friends,
and he understood completely.
But, you know, for me, I mean, everybody
has to do what's right for them.
I couldn't do it.
AUDIENCE: Hi, George, it's really nice to have you here.
Thank you so much.
And you thanked us, but you need to know
it's a really big deal for us to have El Mas Chingon at Google.
It's huge, so thank you for coming.
And you have a room--
GEORGE LOPEZ: I like the El Mas Chingon title.
I like that.
AUDIENCE: That is super official.
Many of us like the cars loves [? chingonas ?].
GEORGE LOPEZ: Si.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for leadership.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yes.
GEORGE LOPEZ: And my question though,
is you mentioned earlier you used
Twitter to respond to Donald Trump, which is awesome.
You're really using technology to voice your opinions
and represent your community.
You have a room full of a lot of Latinos
at Google, and our friends, so it's really cool
to hear that you're using technology
as a platform for your voice.
And I'd love to hear what you think about social media,
your use of maybe even YouTube.
How is that a part of your life, and maybe even your strategy
as you think about your work?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know, it is an important thing, you know.
There's a kind of a free association in Twitter
that's a little bit mean, you know.
Like bullying, and things with kids and things
that are very hurtful.
So I'd actually like to see a little social media take
a little bit more responsibility for filtering and sending
things that aren't appropriate to a place
that you can suspend an account, or do something.
Because that seems to be something
that, because of the value that we put on things instead
of people, that people are made to feel inferior
because they don't I have what someone else has.
But really, it's not about what they have,
it's about what's inside.
So there is kind of a mob thing going on with social media.
But as far as-- you know, I'm not going to say the F-word--
They said, don't say the F-word.
But I'm gonna get on Google+, and I'm gonna build that.
I'm gonna build that.
Then I'm gonna get the glasses, and I'm gonna live in my house,
but go all over the world.
AUDIENCE: And now what about YouTube as a platform
from for content?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Absolutely.
You know, if a filmmaker, or somebody who
is a creative, or blog writers.
You don't have to necessarily get a book deal
to become a successful writer or blogger.
So YouTube, yes.
You know, now with computers, you
can generate things, animation, you could do all those things.
So YouTube is viable for that, for somebody
to leave work, you know, little movies,
and little things behind.
You can't say that, oh, there's not
an opportunity, when there's an opportunity
at your fingertips every day.
So yes, incredibly.
And you can kind of watch of a person's-- you know, like,
when someone used to say, who do you like?
And then you'd have to either go watch somebody,
or audit a class, or something.
But now, if somebody wanted to be an actor,
or learn how to play guitar, or to learn how to do this,
it's all at your fingertips.
So there's no excuse to say, well,
I don't know how to do that.
Or I can't get there and do that.
You can go all over the world.
There's no excuses.
I always try to find an excuse, but--
AUDIENCE: The last thing I'll say is, I wanted to thank you.
Last time I saw you live was you were speaking
at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus event about what
it means to be part of a community that
is advancing itself through education, through hard work.
So I want to thank you for your involvement in that space.
And I love that you made a joke about the Secretary of Labor
I think you said something like, she
isn't trying to promote finding workers at Home Depot,
but really good hard work, and thank you
to them for their efforts.
So thank you, I really appreciate you being here.
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know a great joke that I told?
I was at the White House with Obama, and everybody.
And Sonia Sotomayor, you know, the first woman Latina Supreme
Court, you know.
So she's there, right?
So the President's over here, and she's over there.
And I say to the President, I say,
you've got a Latina Supreme Court justice.
And then I said, in front of the President,
I said, good luck getting her to zip her robe all the way up.
Because you know, Latinas like to throw a little, you know.
And the President goes, hey, hey, hey.
And I look over, she's wearing a low cut-- I said, look.
And she was like, oh, my god.
But I said, come on.
It's what it was.
Like, even he was like, hey, hey, hey.
And I said, look, and she had a low cut, you know.
I mean, she's a very nice lady, and incredibly intelligent,
and you know.
I was involved in those campaigns, 2008 and '12.
KEVIN VLK: Well, you talked about-- or, back in 2010
you said you may want to run as mayor for LA
in about eight years.
So it's, yeah, so 2015, three years away.
Is that still something you want to look at?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
KEVIN VLK: Hey, look at that.
GEORGE LOPEZ: I do.
I want to be mayor of Los Angeles,
but I want to be mayor-- because there's already
big businesses there already, so we just
need to take care of the schools and the streets,
and just have a little bit more pride.
The mayor, you know, no offense to him,
but he's a little bit vacant.
And we're usually used to having a mayor that's a little bit
So I would run on the campaign that I would be there
when you needed me.
And then we did I a hashtag, best mayor with the best hair.
So that was the hashtag.
KEVIN VLK: We'll get the buttons.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
[SPEAKING SPANISH] mayor.
KEVIN VLK: So you can talk a little bit about your George
GEORGE LOPEZ: Yeah.
You know, I was born with kidney disease,
and I didn't realize it until it was way advanced.
You know, kidney disease is a kind of a slow thing,
and it shows as fatigue.
You know, a lot of people are fatigued, and they say,
you know, I'm so tired.
And you think it's because you're working hard.
So when I got well, almost 10 years ago,
that I decided that-- and I remember
telling my doctor this.
I said, I just want to go in, I just want to get this done.
I don't want to become a poster boy for kidney disease.
I just want to get well, and I just want to go back to work,
And then when I was laying in the hospital
after I'd had it done, maybe a day.
I had it done on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Thursday morning when I got up, was clearer than I'd ever been,
and I was healthy for the first time.
At that moment, I decided that I could not
turn my back on people who are sick, especially kids.
So I have a foundation that raises money
to send kids to camp who are on dialysis,
or are awaiting transplants, or have had transplants,
so that they get to be like kids.
You know, and go out and fish, and play basketball,
and be around kids that are just like them.
So I do that a couple times a year.
And then also, just to raise awareness for kidney disease,
but also for just health, overall.
Because the thing that I was a victim of,
was that as a culture, we don't necessarily go to the doctor.
As my grandmother would say so perfectly, hey, Grammy,
you should go to the doctor.
No, porque they're going to find something wrong.
I actually heard somebody go to the doctor,
find out that he was sick, and get mad at his wife, and said,
you made me go to the doctor and now I'm sick.
I wasn't sick yesterday, and now I gotta keep going back.
That's why I didn't want to go.
Because if you go once, they're gonna make you keep going back,
and that's how they get you.
You keep going back.
So we do need to-- I mean, clearly, here everybody
You can even eat the flowers here.
So that thing, of eating the right things.
And already, Latinos, we eat a lot of fruit,
we just put chili on it.
So we have to put half chili.
Low sodium [SPEAKING SPANISH].
KEVIN VLK: Well, thank you for everything
you do with your foundation.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Oh, it's an honor, thank you.
KEVIN VLK: It's wonderful.
GEORGE LOPEZ: It's an honor.
I can't believe it.
AUDIENCE: George, I'd be so excited
for you to run for mayor in LA.
You have no idea.
I think you have an army of people that will--
GEORGE LOPEZ: I think I would win, right?
GEORGE LOPEZ: You know, Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor,
he didn't know nothing, either.
I don't like that now.
You get down.
You know, I've messed with Arnold.
You know, because I don't mess around.
Like, if I go after somebody, I go after them.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, I went after him in an HBO special.
He was for English only.
And I said, he don't even speak English.
So, you know, I said FTP to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And then I go to a boxing match, and who
sits down right next to me?
And I'm like-- I look at him, and I go,
this is going to be uncomfortable.
And then I said, you know I make fun of you in my stuff?
Yes, I know that you talk about the FTP, I know what that is.
He was governor.
And then they showed me on TV, and they cheered.
And they showed him and they booed.
And then I leaned into his camera, I went like this.
AUDIENCE: I love it, in case you were interested.
So I grew up in Miami, which is predominantly Latino.
And I've lived in places like Boston.
GEORGE LOPEZ: What do you mean, predominantly?
If you go to-- I went to the Bonnev-- what do they call it?
AUDIENCE: Fountainebleau, yeah.
GEORGE LOPEZ: And you go to the front desk,
and they said [SPEAKING SPANISH],
and they don't even say, hi, welcome to the Fountainebleau.
AUDIENCE: No, you're lost if you speak English there.
So I've lived in places like Boston, San Fransisco, even LA,
where I'm noticing over the last,
like 10, 15 years, that it's just getting whitewashed.
And so, you know, thinking about your future campaign,
how would you think about-- like what's
the thing that we can do as Latinos in places of power
to keep Latinos in some of these urban centers?
That's question one.
Question two is, like, what do you
think we can do, even just as citizens here,
to make that easier for Latinos to stay?
GEORGE LOPEZ: Well, I think everybody has to vote.
Everybody that's capable of voting, whatever color you are,
needs to vote.
Especially Latinos, because we have
to be the voice for the people that don't have a vote.
So we have to be their voice.
So to not vote not only hurts them, it hurts us.
Because the Republicans, they always vote.
So they're relying on the fact that we're not gonna vote,
and that's how they're gonna win,
because they have higher voter turnout.
But we also need to remember that it is important,
and people lost their lives in order to vote.
So that it's important, because now,
because of the diversity and the way the country's changing,
you can change politics.
You could change the way things work by just going to vote,
and being there.
But also, in the first part is that you need to-- you know,
we talked about mentoring people, and looking out
for people, and asking questions of them.
And leading them to places where they can get information.
And just being almost-- not a mentor, so much,
as being supportive of somebody.
Yeah, it goes a long way, too, because when
I was in elementary school, the first time
I ever heard somebody say that you could be a success
and you could be whatever you wanted to be.
It was in the auditorium at San Fernando Elementary School,
and it was a baseball player, and he
was kind of motivate-- nobody was really paying attention
And I'd never heard anybody say it, and said
I've never forgotten that.
I was probably seven.
And I used that as kind of, my motto,
as I went through school, and realized
that nobody in my family had graduated from high school.
I was the first one.
And then, my daughter Maya, I think,
is going to be the-- you know, I named her Maya,
because clearly-- is going to be the first one to go to college.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
GEORGE LOPEZ: She's going to one that doesn't cost a lot.
But that makes me proud, is that she, you know,
wanted to do that.
KEVIN VLK: And so just one final question.
If you-- it's kind of cheesy-- but, like,
if you could tell your younger self anything--
GEORGE LOPEZ: Oh, yeah.
KEVIN VLK: --what would that be in terms of the advice?
GEORGE LOPEZ: I would probably say, don't be afraid.
You're gonna be great.
And always believe in yourself, and trust your own instincts.
Because we all have great instincts that we come with.
And if you rely on those to guide you,
because it is that good things-- and if you make a mistake,
it'll be your mistake.
And if you achieve success, you can
be incredibly proud of yourself for taking a risk
and trusting your intuition.
So would say to trust yourself.
KEVIN VLK: Wonderful.
Thank you, George, for being here.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Seriously, thank you.
Thank you, everybody.
KEVIN VLK: Thank you, everyone.
GEORGE LOPEZ: You guys are great.
KEVIN VLK: See you next time.
GEORGE LOPEZ: Thank you so much.