Tuesday, November 10, 2009

George Lopez: Did you watch?

So apparently no one in the vast Talk Show News reading public watched Wanda Sykes' new talk show, as there were no comments on that post. Based on the comments that do come in, there are lots of Conan and Dave fans in my audience. But did anyone click over to TBS before "Tonight" or "Late Show" kicked off to watch the debut of "Lopez Tonight"?

I'm no Lopez fan, but I forced myself to watch at least the first half hour (the things I do for this blog). He kicked off with a 10-minute monologue that was very light on topical references, except a couple remarks about Sammy Sosa's oddly bleached skin and the swine flu. It seemed like his usual stand-up fare, with lots of gags about his family and ethnic background, which makes me wonder how he'll be able to sustain it over the course of weeks and months. Maybe he'll gradually fold in more of the usual late night talk show topics.

After a brief appearance by a nightshirt-clad Ellen DeGeneres (she was trying to sleep next door, but the Lopez audience was just having too much fun!), the comedian brought a couple of audience members up on stage to play a race-based game show. Interestingly, Wanda Sykes did a similar thing on her program -- slides of Asian celebrities were shown and her celebrity panel had to guess which country they were from. Lopez's duo had to watch brief man-on-the-street clips of minorities being interviewed by a show staffer and guess how they would respond to certain stereotypical questions: had the black dude ever been in jail? Did the Asian guy have a small penis? Hee-larious!

There was something self-congratulatory about the whole affair, as if Lopez thought he was the Sonia Sotomayor of talk show hosts. Maybe once he relaxes a bit, the show will find its groove, but I definitely won't be watching unless he has a guest I'm just dying to see. Maybe I'll tune in for Lisa Lampanelli tomorrow. Scheduled to appear tonight: Jamie Foxx and Marc Anthony; Wednesday, Queen Latifah and Oscar De La Hoya, along with the divine Miss L; and on Thursday, Larry David and Kelly Osbourne.

What did the nation's TV critics have to say? The Boston Herald's Mark A. Perigard was harsh, criticizing Lopez's monologue ("a relentless volley of duds") and the ethnic-stereotype bit ("a cringeworthy segment that seemed never-ending"). AdAge.com's Laura Martinez wrote a piece titled "I Might Be Mexican, but I Don't Have to Like 'Lopez Tonight'": "I might be missing something here, but I don't find jokes about Mexican food and the gases it produces really funny... To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, still one of my favorite comedians, Mr. Lopez's comedy doesn't offend me as a 'minority'; it offends me as a funny person."

EW.com's Ken Tucker was friendlier, complimenting Lopez's "disarming, relaxed air that puts him ahead of, say, Jimmy Fallon’s jittery opening night." Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times called it "a standard, if entertaining hour... Lopez took [Arsenio] Hall's vision of a funky good time and blew it up to enormous proportions." The Onion AV Club's Todd VanDerWerff gave the show a B minus: Lopez was "[a]n alert and interested interviewer," but said his "jokes all went to fairly expected places."

7 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    You know, I still don't think 13 late nite talk shows on the air is enough. Please, we need more.

    - Octobrain

  2. Robert said...

    Trying to add up here,,,

    There's:

    1. David Letterman
    2. Conan O'brien
    3. Craig Ferguson
    4. Jimmy Fallon
    5. Jimmy Kimmel
    6. Carson Daly
    7. Jon Stewart
    8. Stephen Colbert
    9. George Lopez
    10. Bill Maher (some Fridays)
    11. Wanda Sykes (Saturdays)

    So, I count 11. Who am I Missing?

  3. Talk Show News said...

    "Chelsea Lately" and "The Tavis Smiley Show".

  4. Anonymous said...

    I DVR'd the show, but after reading this post, I no longer have a desire to watch it. :-/

    - dbrits

  5. Robert said...

    Thanks.

    Oh, and Charlie Rose! Fourteen!

  6. Anonymous said...

    And don't forget Jay Leno. Remember...

    "10 o'clock is the new 11:30." - Leno, summer 2009.

    But not for long...

    - Octobrain

  7. Alam said...

    I have to start by saying Im latin, and for some reason, I STILL cant bring myself to like Lopez. I dont know what it is that puts me off so much. Enough that I dont even give him a chance to win me over by watching his stand-up special on cable or anything else by him.

    Hes still got a pretty healthy following tho and I guess theres a niche for his style of comedy in the US. I find it does get old that ALL he seems to talk about is his heritage and latin roots.

    Good luck to him anyway as Im sure those who like him are thrilled to have him hosting a show now.

    Santiago