TBS kicked off its press tour session for George Lopez‘s new late-night show with a promo featuring the comedian and President Barack Obama. Naturally, the first question to Lopez was about how he managed to snag the most powerful man in the world for a comedy bit.
Lopez explained that he had worked on the Obama campaign to help get out the Latino vote — “never thinking that in a presidential campaign, those 38 votes would be the difference,” he joked. His campaign work eventually led to a friendship with the president, and he says he talked to Obama a few weeks ago. “We had a very lovely conversation — a little bit about the kids, a lot about Iran. He’s a great guy, and I can consider the 44th president of the United States a close friend of mine. Thank you. And I grew up poor.”
The next question was about whether their relationship gives Lopez an inside track to book Obama on “Lopez Tonight,” which premieres in November on TBS.
“If he came to Los Angeles again with Michelle and his mother-in-law, I’d like them to stop by,” Lopez said. Then, warming to the bit, “Listen — Barack Obama is of Kenyan decent, but he also has some Latino in him. I think you see the Latino — he lives in a house that’s not his, that’s very Latino. His mother-in-law lives with him, helping raise his two kids. He’s one of us! He’s a man for all people. And yes — I would say that if they came to Los Angeles and didn’t come on the show, I would personally be offended.”
“Lopez Tonight” will be entering a somewhat crowded late-night arena in the fall, but Lopez hopes to break through with a high-energy atmosphere that’s reminiscent of the heyday of Arsenio Hall’s show in the early 1990s. “I was on ‘Arsenio’ sixteen times 20 years ago,” Lopez says. “I’ve talked to Arsenio about this show. … It’s time to take that thing and use that as a template and move it to the next level. …
“There’s enough heavy things going on every day that you should be able to sit down late at night, have a drink, relax and just go to a party.”
He’s also not worried about getting into a booking battle with other shows, because he wants to open up the guest pool to comedians and musical acts that aren’t part of the usual late-night circuit, in addition to the usual big celebrity names.
“I don’t think ‘The Tonight Show’s’ going after Menudo — I can’t predict the future, but as long as the artists know and the musical acts know that this is a place that you can feel comfortable … that you can talk about what you want to talk about, and it’s a welcoming place, that’s all you need to know.”
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