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Lopez Today

George Lopez has tackled the late night realm on television, and is bringing a quick wit and humor that ranges far beyond his Latino roots.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
George Lopez, January/February 2010

Comedian George Lopez loves cigars— so much so that he has more than 1,500 in humidors scattered around Los Angeles: at home, at a couple of cigar clubs, in his dressing room, at his golf club.

“And they’re very easily broken into,” laughs his friend, actor Andy Garcia, adding, “George is very generous with his cigars.”

But it wasn’t always so. Lopez recalls a time in the late 1980s, when he was still a struggling comedian and a novice cigar consumer. While in Toronto for a gig, he spent $100 for three Cuban cigars, then brought them with him to Las Vegas to see a friend’s show at a comedy club. At the club, he lit up one of his Cubans, instantly capturing the attention of everyone he was with. When a friend asked if he had another Cuban he could spare, Lopez said he’d get one from his car. As he exited the club, he started thinking fast.

“No way I was giving that guy one of my Cubans,” Lopez says with wide eyes. So he went into a nearby gift shop and bought a Dutch Masters: “I trimmed the edges and took it out of the plastic and gave it to him,” Lopez says, chuckling at the memory. “He lit it and got a smile on his face and said, ‘Yeah, I’m getting a little buzzed. I’m getting a little light-headed.’ ”

Lopez himself could be excused for being a little light-headed due to the successful premiere of “Lopez Tonight” on TBS on Nov. 9, 2009—a launch that Turner expanded for one night to its affiliates, TNT and truTV, in addition to TBS, reaching an opening-night audience of more than 3 million. Since then, he’s regularly reaching 1 million viewers a night—and the number continues to grow.

Despite being on TBS (or, as Lopez puts it, “a cable network in the triple digits”), Lopez believes he can compete with the big four networks with his Monday-to-Thursday show. With late-night TV talk ruled by white guys, Lopez is ready to inject a Latino flavor into the mainstream.

“I’m bringing a new face to late night,” Lopez says, echoing his own frequent theme on the show. “It looks like a new America. I’m throwing an inclusive party.”

“Lopez Tonight” executive producer Jim Paratore says the only thing that surprises him about Lopez’s leap into talk-show hosting is “that George is even more amazing than I thought he’d be.”

“Being a pioneer is never easy, but it’s something George is comfortable with,” says singer Marc Anthony, a friend and golf companion of Lopez’s. “I’m looking forward to seeing how he changes late-night TV.”

Lopez has been able to reach into his sizable Rolodex and ask friends to stop by for the show—and in the first weeks alone, he had everyone from Anthony to Carlos Santana, Clint Eastwood to Laurence Fishburne, Eva Longoria Parker to Ted Danson, Sandra Bullock to Jessica Alba and Andy Garcia sitting on the overstuffed chairs on the “Lopez Tonight” set, shmoozing, joking and doing his shtick.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

Eric Walker — Charlston , WV, USA,  —  August 30, 2011 8:49am ET

He's a good funny comedain it would be a blast to have a cigar and play some golf with him

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