I Might Be Mexican, but I Don't Have to Like 'Lopez Tonight'

Comedian Trots Out Tired, Unfunny Ethnic Humor

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Laura Martinez
Laura Martinez
Last night, along with many other Latinos in America (and non-Latinos), I tuned in for the premiere of "Lopez Tonight," a new one-hour late-night show hosted by Mexican-American comedian George Lopez. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting much; I've never been a fan of Mr. Lopez's comedy but I was curious to witness the "cultural revolution" that promised to show the world the increasingly diverse face of America's late-night television.

Mr. Lopez kicked off the night with a monologue that included jokes about -- what else? -- his abuela and growing up in a family that thinks Asians are there to do our manicures and blacks are there to steal our stuff. Other jokes were just too obscure for me to understand (or just not funny), but overall it was clear the host was playing his Mexican (multicultural?) heritage as a funny token.

Sure, Mr. Lopez is darker than Leno, Letterman and Fallon. And, yes, I am aware he is of Mexican origin. But I don't see how that makes my TV more diverse: I might be missing something here, but I don't find jokes about Mexican food and the gases it produces really funny. And no, they are not funnier because they are told by a guy who is of Mexican origin (well, maybe if it was my 6-year-old nephew I'd laugh -- a little).

Overall, I found "Lopez Tonight" neither revolutionary, nor funny.

I stopped watching when Eva Longoria arrived on the set (sorry, it was time for "Seinfeld" reruns) but I did catch a glimpse of a contest in which Mr. Lopez challenged two members of the audience to show how prejudiced they were. I suppose the original idea may have been witty, but the execution was truly poor. A man and a woman were brought to the stage and asked to watch a video, after which they were required to answer a series of questions about people interviewed in the street: whether an Asian man had a small penis, a white man used the "n word" or a Latino pays for his cable or not. Ha, ha, ha.

As a member of the so-called minorities in this country, I know Mr. Lopez can get away with a lot of things when it comes to talking about race and color issues. (Hell I know I can!) But I would appreciate it if he could do it in a funnier way and spare us the jokes about anti-flatulence medication. 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.

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Read more from Laura daily at Mi Blog Es Tu Blog.

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