Last night on TBS, late-night neighbors Conan O'Brien and George Lopez paid a visit to each other's talk shows, in chronological order. First, Lopez guested on Conan. Then O'Brien guested on Lopez Tonight.
Logistically, it's an easy cross-promotion to pull off, as they not only work for the same network but also work on the same Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. It's a walking commute. And as O'Brien told Lopez, that walk on the lot sometimes make him feel uncomfortable, as tours stop to point him out and expect him to offer an extra dose of entertainment. Earlier, on his show, O'Brien also teased Lopez for his behavior in the front row of NBA playoff games.
But more than that. If anything, the cross-promotion really served to remind everyone that Lopez has a beef with Erik Estrada. Can it be healed? Do we need it to be healed?
Roll the clips.
After taping today's episode of Lopez Tonight, George Lopez will leave his TBS studio in Burbank and head down to the El Rey Theatre to host a live stand-up comedy showcase called Viva la Risa.
Neal Brennan, Chris D'Elia, Dov Davidoff, Felipe Esparza, and Sebastian Maniscalco are all on the bill for what's called George Lopez's Viva la Risa Comedy Tour. Although it's not yet a tour. And the lineups will change. Why don't I let Lopez himself explain it? He spoke with me today on the phone.
"It's one thing I wanted to do for a long time, then when I was doing my own shows. And I was working with AEG. AEG is my sole promoter. They've been with me throughout, during my touring and selling out arenas, and then as I was selling out theaters...I thought, I need to branch out, divide it. Viva la Risa is just one. Hopefully I'll have a couple of different tours that will split up and tour across America, and globally."
"All of these guys are amazing, and they've all been on the show."
How did you pick the lineup?
"Listen, man. I'm from a different era. Doing the shows (Lopez Tonight), I don't get out to the clubs and see who's out there. Leanne (Leanne Elias, the show's talent booker) says 'Trust me.' And all of these guys are freaking hilarious. Let me use my name and my influence and make this tour happen. Viva la Risa is bringing back the laughter, but I like Viva la Risa, it sounds better."
And while it's called a tour, it's just one show tonight in Los Angeles. But I gather there will be a tour? "It's only in L.A. tonight, but it will expand. It will go to San Francisco, it will go to Boston, it will go Texas, it will go everywhere."
"You look at Neal, and Dov, and Chris just sold a pilot, Felipe and Sebastian. You won't see these dudes together. Back in the day, like 20 years ago, there'd be guys who would tour together. That doesn't happen anymore. That should happen. Comedians should help comedians. Not just when they're sick.
How do you and Leanne end up working together to bring comedians both on the show and on this tour? "Through the fact, that she was in the clubs, she was following comedy. She was looking at tapes, doing all those things. She would book somebody and I'd say, 'I don't know who that is.' If I were booking it'd be all dudes from the 1980s...Sebastian Maniscalco, he came on and did a thing about the Internet with his dad. It reminded me of Johnny Carson, when he'd be sitting there in the dark and you could hear him laughing. (Sebastian) said his dad called it the Internets, and he was trying to tell him to use the mouse but he had it on the floor as a pedal...it was killing me. They all kill me. They're all creative and they're all different."
"Nobody's putting on the comedians on a talk show who are on my show consistently, and then to spin that off and put on a tour, it's even better."
What about these other tours you'd mentioned? "The rotation will change. I'd like to keep these guys and put them on in another town. It'll be these guys one night, another night all girls. But always integrated. Always diverse. When I was coming up, people always wanted to put me on Latino night, but I didn't want to do those shows. I'm Latino every night. I was never a fan of black night or that type of segregated thing in comedy. When I was coming up, every night in the clubs was white night."
On last night's Lopez Tonight, George Lopez talked to Jeffrey Ross about the recent Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. Only this didn't air on TBS. It's only on the Internet.
Lopez reveals that he doesn't have the stomach to roast and be roasted, while Ross talks about sharing a joint with Snoop Dogg during a commercial break, how "The Situation" created a situation by bombing during his set, and how Ross reacted to Courtney Love during a previous roast.
Roll it. The clip. Not the blunt. To be blunt. Oh, shut up, me.
You may have formed an impression of George Lopez and his comedy based on his late-night TBS talker, Lopez Tonight, his ABC sitcom before that, or maybe you just know Lopez from his stand-up over the years. Then again, maybe you don't. I don't know you.
I do know that it was amusing to see NBC promoting Lopez in its TV advertising for last weekend's Champions Tour (Senior PGA) pro-am tournament, considering he was just in the news for welcoming Conan O'Brien into the TBS fold. It's true, though, that Lopez is one of several comedians who love to play golf, and not just for the televised pro-ams (where you'll often see Bill Murray, Ray Romano and Kevin James, among others). Yesterday, as rain cancelled the final round of action in Florida, Lopez talked to PGATour.com about his relationship with golf. I'm a golfer, so I enjoyed the whole interview. But for comedy fans, I'll excerpt a couple of points here for you now.
For one thing, Lopez said that golfing has introduced him to some of his better friends. Golfing always has had a reputation for business socializing, but it's just as good for performers as it is for suits.
More to the point is the kicker:
PGATOUR.COM: You started playing golf before you hit it big. Do you think if you had not started playing golf your career would have taken off? LOPEZ: If I had not played golf, I wouldn't have a career. I would not have the temperament that makes it perfect for this business. I was a hothead and I was dishonest. When I golfed I lied about score, I don't do that anymore. It was a valuable lesson. It's amazing.
PGATOUR.COM: You started playing golf before you hit it big. Do you think if you had not started playing golf your career would have taken off?
LOPEZ: If I had not played golf, I wouldn't have a career. I would not have the temperament that makes it perfect for this business. I was a hothead and I was dishonest. When I golfed I lied about score, I don't do that anymore. It was a valuable lesson. It's amazing.
I know it looks like I've given away everything right there in the headline, but Joe Mande and Totally J/K are at it again. Earlier, they had fun with video by coming up with "The Andy Rooney Game," in which they edited down Andy Rooney's 60 Minute monologues to only the first and last sentences. Really summed that old guy up. Now they've picked out a collection of monologue-closing jokes from George Lopez on his late-night TBS show, Lopez Tonight. Do you see a pattern here? Roll the clip and judge for yourselves.
Some comedians are more than eager to work their well-honed routines into interviews when they go on late-night TV. Chris Rock is a piece of work, though, because he hits the clubs for a solid couple of weeks before he hits the promotional circuit to write and develop new material for his appearances. Such has been the case these past few nights as Rock went on Late Show with David Letterman -- sticking it to Letterman repeatedly about his adultery problem, and also Tiger Woods -- then Real Time with Bill Maher, and last night Lopez Tonight.
The conversations always go back to the project Rock is promoting, in this case the movie Death at a Funeral. But I found it interesting that both Maher and George Lopez preferred to talk comedy shop with Rock first. And in last night's case, Lopez also had Rock judge three "audience members" try to impersonate Rock's bits in an ad-hoc game of "Chris Rock Band." When I heard one of the audience members say his name was Sadiki, my radar ears twitched. Today my friends at SF Stand-Up confirmed that the audience members actually were three San Francisco Bay Area comedians: Julian Vance, Keith Jensen & Sadiki Fuller.
Here's their efforts, complete with leather jackets. Lopez: "Have you ever thought of doing stand-up?" Jensen: "Yeah. All the time."
And here is Rock talking shop and then some with Lopez and Maher. In the Maher segment, there's more talk after this clip about Rock's stint on SNL -- he said he's more than OK with having been in the shadows of the other SNL players, not just because he was on a great cast, but also because his career turned out more than OK. He also said he feels closer to David Spade and Adam Sandler than most other comedians, because they went through it together, and Maher talked about how comedians often have a class of people they feel a kinship with because they came up at the same time. If/when I find that part, I'll add it here. Until then, roll it!
If you wondered how George Lopez felt about getting bumped an hour in November for Conan O'Brien to join TBS, his show Monday night for Lopez Tonight should put that to rest. Not only did Lopez incorporate O'Brien's debut Tonight Show running montage into his opening, but he also took shots at Jay Leno in an "interview" with O'Brien, Leno and others using O'Brien's well-known "lips" routine. There's also a Tyler Perry joke. And a jab at Catholics, plus Stewie from Family Guy. Roll the clips!
Big day for Conan O'Brien, his workers and his fans on Team Coco. By now we all know that TBS outfoxed FOX and snagged Conan to what's widely being reported as a five-year deal to air Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m. (with Conan owning the show), broadcast from Los Angeles and likely very close by the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank where George Lopez tapes Lopez Tonight (which will move to midnights).
And by all accounts, the deal happened because Lopez and TBS both were OK with Conan bumping Lopez to midnight -- the very thing Conan was not cool with Leno and NBC doing to him. The TBS party line, and the early word from Conan's team to New York Times late-night TV chronicler Bill Carter echoed that sentiment, saying that Lopez himself called Conan to sell him on the idea.
You can read their quotes on the page TBS set up this afternoon for Conan, along with this short video incorporating the "I'm With Coco" image from Mike Mitchell to read "Coco Is With TBS."
But, wait. Didn't I bury the lede that my headline suggests? Right right. Conan O'Brien also begins his live stage tour of the United States and Canada tonight in Eugene, Ore. Team Coco's "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour" ends in Atlanta (home of TBS) on June 14. If you like that coincidence, how about this even bigger one...
The TBS Just For Laughs Chicago festival begins the very next day, running June 15-19. Last year, they presented George Lopez shows to help promote his upcoming late-night show. On March 23, when they announced the initial slate of headliners, they included TV specials for Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric the Entertainer, and "a third TV special to be announced later." Sources were coy when I asked them if Conan would be joining the fun in Chicago. I'm clearing my calendar already. And yes, I know he's taking the tour to Chicago already on May 19-20, but if you were hoping for a third Chicago date in June, keep hope alive.
As for the news they were comfortable announcing today...
Oh, brother. First Lindsay Lohan thought my comedy friend Glennis McMurray was joking about her in a talking baby commercial (seriously?), and now this. To close out her month, Lohan went online to get all up in George Lopez's Twitter grill because he made a joke about her powdered shoes -- and cocaine use -- on last night's edition of Lopez Tonight.
Here's a quick video recap courtesy of Access Hollywood:
Now. After the jump, look at these Twitter posts, first from Lohan, then the replies from Lopez...
Was it Monday night amateur hour stand-up comedy night on the TV, and I just didn't see the memo? Or was 2010's weird take on Martin Luther King Jr.'s federal holiday supposed to redefine having the dream as letting any pretty woman become a stand-up comedian on TV? Either way, J.Lo looked good. Are we still calling her J.Lo?
Jennifer Lopez "hijacked" Lopez Tonight, as the show's own site called it, by strutting onstage first and delivering the monologue instead of the Lopez who hosts the show named George. Some of the comments on the Lopez Tonight site are funny in how they're like, oh, no, no, don't replace my George Lopez. When really we should be focused on how confident J.Lo looked delivering jokes (TelePrompter or no prompter). Roll the clip!
Earlier Monday night, eight of the remaining women who are willing to be embarrassed on national television by sleeping with the same guy who'll never marry them -- aka, ABC's The Bachelor -- suddenly seemed more embarrassed by the prospect of writing a short stand-up comedy. Aha! Plus, they got to meet Jon Lovitz and have him coach them at his Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. It was just like Comedy Boot Camp, except with a TV credit and without Kyle Cease! He should sue for copyright infringement. Am I right, ladies? ABC is now on Hulu, but neither of their sites are wisenheimered up enough to give us this clip themselves, so you'll have to sit through some of the drama mellows here:
Is this all two steps forward, one step backward for women in comedy, or just a hysterical coincidence that both of these happened on the TV last night? Probably both.
UPDATED! Holy crapballs! Hulu has posted a short clip of the "Bachelor" beauties bombing something fierce in their pathetic attempt to get their bachelor's attention. Instead of, well, writing any jokes. Why did anyone have to see this??? Watch at your own risk:
People have made a big to-do in recent days about how and why the Grammy rules could not allow Lady Gaga to get a nomination for Best New Artist because she already had received recognition by the academy in a different field before this year. But the Grammys were more than willing, it seems, to bend the rules for George Lopez. His new stand-up comedy CD, Tall, Dark & Chicano, hasn't even come out yet. It'll be released Dec. 15, 2009, on Comedy Central Records. That's what it says on the press release Comedy Central sent out, as well as, well, everywhere. You cannot get it on Amazon.com yet.
Of course, the recording is based off of a live performance for HBO from earlier in the year. But still. That doesn't mean Lopez's "comedy album" came out between Oct. 1, 2008 and Aug. 31, 2009 -- the official "Eligibilty Year" for the 52nd annual Grammys. Hmmm. Maybe they watched the HBO special and thought, that'll make a great album: Let's nominate it ahead of time?! The future is now, people.
UPDATED: Seeing that the Grammys also called upon Lopez to introduce the nominees for Song of the Year -- and make a Tiger Woods joke in the process -- perhaps there's even more to this than meets the eye? Here's a clip from last night's telecast on CBS:
UPDATED UPDATED: Sources tell me that Comedy Central, in fact, released a vinyl edition of George Lopez's special shortly after it debuted on HBO in August. Which would qualify. Barely. Vinyl???
With that, here are the official 52nd annual Grammy Awards nominations for Best Comedy Album:
Best Comedy Album
(For comedy recordings, spoken or musical)
In other Grammy nomination news that involves comedians, The Lonely Island's "I'm On a Boat" originally seen and heard on Saturday Night Live as an SNL Digital Short with T-Pain, is up for best rap/sung collaboration. Steve Martin's "The Crow" is up for best Bluegrass album. Jonathan Winters is up for best spoken word album for "Jonathan Winters: A Very Special Time." And Jamie Foxx's "Blame It (On the Alcohol)" with T-Pain is up for best R&B duo or group with vocals, as well as best R&B song, and Foxx is up for best R&B album. You can see the full list of Grammy nominations here.
George Lopez said he was going to bring the party to late-night TV and revolutionize the game. Can you do that in just one night? Probably not. But Lopez Tonight debuted on TBS on Monday night, anyhow, and you want to know if you missed out, and if so, what did you miss? Was it "very funny"?
Lopez has been using "Low Rider" as his musical theme for all of his promos, and there it was opening his show on Monday night. "The revolution begins right now!" Lopez declared to the audience. In English and en Espanol! "This is what America looks like," he told them. "It's young, and it's old. It is black. It is white. It is Asian. It is Latino." This has been his push, his mantra, his goal, to hit all of the demographics. But why is the audience continuing to stand during his monologue? Do they not have chairs in this studio? Meanwhile, Lopez gets in a topical joke on Sammy Sosa and one not-so topical (unless you're going literal) about Sinbad. There's also an edit or two. You see that sometimes in panel interviews, but in monologues? How long did he talk for last night? Or was it to cut out language -- he was joking about saying the word "bitch" right before one jump. Lopez got about 10 minutes on the air, which could be seen as too long, but for an established stand-up, better to lead with what you're known/loved best for, right? Draw the viewers in. Roll the clip!
Ellen DeGeneres made a stunt appearance in her robe and pajamas to deliver his mail, saying she had his old office, and also offered up a couple of nice things about Lopez: "This is a very important show to add to our television. Everybody needs to be represented on television, so I'm very happy for him." Then, to play a game about stereotyping appearances, he brought two audience members up onstage to weigh in on people interviewed on the streets of Hollywood. Will the answers surprise you? What about the lady asking the questions? Let's roll that clip...after the jump...
And check out what showed up in my mailbox over the weekend. My very own mini watercooler with Lopez on it!
Will that sway my opinion on his show, Lopez Tonight? Not exactly. But I do like this new clip Lopez put up on his show's site today, in which he talks about how when he was young, Chris Rock's manager Dave Becky took Lopez aside and offered some sage advice. And the result is why Lopez is no longer the kid who does a Latino version of Rodney Dangerfield (although you get to see that in the clip!) but the man he is today. Which is a man with his own late-night TV show. The TBS site offers new clips twice a week in preparation for the debut.
It's fairly well accepted that to be a great comedian, you need to get onstage as much as possible. Perform every night, multiple times if you can, to as many kinds of audiences. Learn what works, what's funny, how to adapt to situations. I bring all of this up today because last night's edition of Nightline on ABC opened with a feature on talented people and why they're talented. They talk about singers, musicians and athletes. It's something worth watching for comedians and bloggers alike. Which reminds me. Time to get us all back in the loop with the latest headlines and subplots in the comedy world:
George Lopez was the talk of the TCA (Television Critics Association) press junket in California earlier this week, there to promote his entry into the late-night talk-show field, Lopez Tonight, which will air Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m. starting Nov. 9, 2009, on TBS. Previously, Lopez had talked up his TBS talk show in a March conference call with myself and others. Here's a clip from his pilot presentation:
There's another clip that TBS screened for critics in which President Barack Obama gave Lopez his presidential seal of approval. Lopez also told the TCA that his show wouldn't have a desk, nor cue cards, nor even a regular monolgue, per se. He also promised to throw out other rules of late-night -- the musical guest doesn't have to go last; audience members may be invited up to the panel; he wants to make sure it's a party more than anything else.
Hours after TBS announced it'd give George Lopez the "Very Funny" network's 11 p.m. hour on Monday-Thursday nights come November 2009, Lopez himself took to the phones for his first conference call as a would-be talk show host. What have we learned already? For one thing, Lopez certainly isn't intimidated, nervous or daunted by the challenge of helming his own late-night chat show.
Lopez said over multiple appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, executive producer Jim Paratore had asked if he'd ever consider doing his own show once his ABC sitcom ended. That's done now. "I'm out of the sitcom business," Lopez said today. "I love the fact that I never thought I'd get a sitcom, nor did I think I'd make it in syndication...It's all been unexpected...I've exceeded my own expectations."
As for late night's Lopez? "I'm not sure you can reinvent the late night talk show, but you can paint with different colors, and obviously we're going to paint with more brown and taupe and mauve." Mauve? "I believe there's an audience out there that's not being serviced," Lopez said. And much like President Barack Obama's campaign -- which Lopez supported, and which he noted, the president even offered some help in his TBS pilot presentation -- the stand-up comedian says the people who supported Obama could also turn out in droves to see a different kind of late-night program. "Seeing that inspires you to know all of those people have TVs," he said.
Ready for another entrant into the late-night talk show wars? TBS announced today that George Lopez would launch his own 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday comedy chat show in November on the "Very Funny" cable network.
Lopez will air against the late local newscasts, Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report, and Chelsea Handler's half-hour on E!, as well as a half-hour ahead of David Letterman and Conan O'Brien (of course, he'll also air after Jay Leno's new NBC timeslot this fall).
Details from the press release: Lopez will executive produce his new talker with Jim Paratore (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show) in a deal with 2.2 Productions, paraMedia Inc., Telepictures Productions and Warner Horizon Television. It's as of yet untitled. The show allegedly wil allow guests to interact with the live studio audience and offer the crowd a chance to ask questions during the show. Lopez previously starred in his own sitcom for six seasons on ABC. In August, he'll film his second stand-up comedy special for HBO, Tall, Dark and Chicano.