The Expected Fall of Lopez Tonight

Why we should not feel sad for the loss of this show or for its arrogant host.

By William Gallegos
Published on LatinoLA: August 13, 2011

The Expected Fall of <i>Lopez Tonight</i>

So all this week, I am reading Facebook posting after Facebook posting about how George Lopez' late night talk show, Lopez Tonight, is getting the axe after two short seasons on TBS.

As I, too, post something about its cancellation and as I see comments of all these postings as well, it amazes me on how many of those commenting to these postings (including mine) are Latinos who are not saddened by the ending of this show.

All of these Latinos commenting all agree that the show was just not worth watching anymore. I am also looking at a story on his cancelled show on AOL news and once again, the majority of those leaving comments to this story are saying the same thing......"he was too racist", "he was arrogant", "his jokes were no longer funny", "this was payback for what he did to Kirstie", "he'll be crawling back to his wife", and so on.

Even a Latina on the Huffington Post did an online story on how the Latino community should be glad Lopez Tonight was given the axe, also due in part to both his controversial and less-entertaining monologues (with many Latinos commentating on her story, also agreeing with her). Think about much longer could one laugh at him saying "Oh my gosh" each and every night? I think I speak for many when I say that we got tired of that line a long time ago.

There could have been many factors that led to the cancelling of his show. Maybe it was the move to midnight that was the cause? Of course, he seemed cool about the move when it happened but was he really? Who wants to really see their show get moved from 11pm to midnight?

Of course, with Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Craig Ferguson all doing well after midnight, maybe the time change had nothing to do with the fall in ratings. Yet again, these three guys did not have their shows moved from 11pm to midnight or later, which therefore had no affect on their audiences.

Could it have been the many angry viewers who perhaps boycotted him when he got busted screwing around with a hooker while still married to his wife.....the same wife responsible for saving his life when she donated her kidney to him? Perhaps the female viewers alone were also angered by his "pig" comments made towards "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Kirstie Alley. Lopez would eventually apologize to Alley but, in my opinion, he did it only because he had no other choice. Lopez then attempted to try for a ratings boost by inviting her onto his show, only to have his request rejected (good for her!).

In 2009, some weeks prior to the premiere of his late night show, I remember when George Lopez was on Larry King Live promoting it. According to Lopez, it was his goal to get a "universal audience" but yet in the first week of the show's premiere, I recall reading a review online about how there was a segment that first week where a correspondent from his show was out on the street asking an individual bystander about how Asian guys are known for having small penises.

For someone who wants a "universal audience", that comment from that segment would cost him his Asian viewers (just my belief). I guarantee that if Jay Leno, someone Lopez is known for having a big dislike towards, had a correspondent on his show asking an individual bystander about how Latinos are known for being greasy-looking (remember....this is just an example), all hell would have broke loose and Lopez would have been on a quest to get Leno off the airwaves. As for also trying to get a "universal audience", when 75% or more of your monologue jokes are catering to only to Latinos, or are offensive to non-Latinos, you are also costing yourself those non-Latino viewers as well (once again, just my belief), especially when these jokes are done over and over and over again.

Now back in the late 80's and early 90's, we had The Arsenio Hall Show, which I saw as a show no different than Lopez Tonight.....same young crowd, same young house band, and same array of guest stars from all backgrounds who catered to a young audience. The main difference? Once again, the jokes.

Arsenio's jokes were never controversial nor racist nor were they your stereo-typical black jokes. Though there was that one episode where Arsenio had pissed off some gay men in the audience, rarely did people take offense to what Arsenio said each night. With all the great talent that Lopez Tonight had, it could have likely been Lopez' jokes as the main factor in the loss of viewers.

In regards to talent, seeing Ron Artest and Derek Fisher on Lopez' final episode had me thinking about something. Is it me or when the majority of Lopez' guests from the sports world are Lakers (Odom, Kobe, and Magic were other past guests) and the viewing audience are Midwest, Southern, and Eastern sports fans who hate the Lakers, is it not possible that those viewers will eventually get somewhat sick of the show?

Trust me, my comments do not make me anti-Laker. I am a Lakers season ticket holder and I love the team but you gotta remember that Lopez' audience did not consist of just Angelenos. I'll give Arsenio credit....when he had his show, his list of guests from the sporting world was a who's who of sports, WWF wrestlers included.

Don't get me wrong. I applaud George Lopez for what he has accomplished, considering that his parents were never part of his life and considering that this man, like many Latinos, could have instead chose the path to gangs, crime, and drugs as a youth. Anyone who has read my past stories will know that I have always believed that for someone to say that only those who have both a mom and dad in their lives will succeed in life is someone full of s**t.

As I have said over and over again, the problem here, is that his show was just not winning viewers anymore, Latinos included. The show went from over 1.7 million viewers its first month on the air to just 400,000 viewers in its final days.

Going back to the Larry King interview, I also recall Lopez saying how he considered himself a "disciple of Johnny Carson". Letterman, Leno, and even both Conan and Arsenio are good examples of being disciples of Carson but Lopez? I don't think so. If you are going to call Lopez a disciple of Carson, you might as well include in that same group Pat Sajak, Chevy Chase, Keenan-Ivory Wayans, Alan Thicke, and Magic Johnson (individuals whose late night talk shows were short-lived and forgotten).

The problem about Lopez himself is that he feels he is the greatest Latino in what he does and that if he cannot get what he feels he is entitled to, he will express it in anger, as if he were a victim of race. Remember when his ABC show was cancelled? He got everyone into believing that his show was cancelled only because ABC wanted to put a new Caveman show in his place.

His show was cancelled because the ratings for his show were dropping, simple as that.

Anyone who mentioned the cancellation of his TV show years ago on Facebook or even on AOL News will tell you that the story lines and the jokes were not funny anymore. And do you remember the response he gave when commenting on his show's cancellation? He said that "ABC just got a whole lot whiter" (or something like that).

Just like the "Asian penises" joke, this too was a racist remark. I can tell you that if the producer of the show "Friends" had said in anger, "NBC just got a whole lot browner", while commenting on "Friends" being replaced at the last minute by a show about a Latino family (this too is simply an example), the media would have look at him or her as a racist for weeks, maybe even months.

Let's remember that racism is racism, no matter which race is committing it.

Like any TV show, Lopez' show on ABC had to come to an end. History will show that anytime a TV show comes to an end, whether surprisingly or not, those behind the show have always dealt with it maturely. Now as for his latest show being cancelled, I will give Lopez credit for not crying racism or foul when finding out his show was given the axe, unless of course I missed some recent controversial interview of him commenting on his show's cancellation.

Perhaps Lopez' agent suggested he keep quiet? I still do ask myself if he was being bitter on the air when he jokingly said on his second to the last show that TBS was cancelling him for being brown (before saying Sony was hiring him for being blue, as in "Smurf blue"). Who knows!

And while on the subject of his ABC show, one of the things that has always irritated me about Lopez is how he has always wanted everyone into believing that his ABC show was the first show ever to consist of an all-Latino cast. Lopez needs to come to his senses and admit that this has always been false!

To those who can think back to the early 1980's, ABC gave another comedian, Paul Rodriguez, his own show, "A.k.a. Pablo". The show, which came out in 1984 and whose theme song was done by the popular Chicano band Tierra, was about a young aspiring comedian who had to deal with the ups and downs of living in a house with a large family.

Though the show only lasted one season, not only was it funnier than Lopez' show (in my opinion), but it featured an all-Latino cast, a feat first accomplished some two decades prior to Lopez' show. The show's cast included Hector Elizondo, Joe Santos (best known for his role as the detective in the Damon Wayans movie "Mo Money"), legendary Mexican actress Katy Jurado, and a young newcomer by the name of Mario Lopez. There were several other Latino actors and actresses who were regulars in the show but unfortunately I don't recall their names.

Now if it wasn't the jokes that led to the fall of Lopez Tonight, could it have been George Lopez, the person away the camera, that led to the fall of his late night show? Now of course, we all know about the hooker he did behind the back of his life-saving wife but what about those other moments one may not know about?

I once met an individual some one to two years ago at a friend's house who was from the same high school graduating class as Lopez. According to this person, their San Fernando high school class was set to have their reunion. Lopez was unable to make the reunion but did make a donation to the school. For being one of the richest entertainers on the planet today, I was told by this person that the donation made by Lopez was a mere three to four thousand dollars. "I've donated close to that much to my high school and I barely make ends meet!" Pure cheapskate!!!

One of the things I have always heard George Lopez say is how he treats the fans well because of what he went through as a kid when attempting to meet Erik Estrada back when Estrada was filming his show "Chips" in Lopez' San Fernando neighborhood (you know the whole story, so I won't even go there).

Now when I first brought up the cancellation of Lopez Tonight on Facebook, a Facebook friend told me how happy he was to hear that his show was getting canned. He then explained to me why he was happy. This Facebook friend (a Latino) told me that back in 2000, before the big bucks starting rolling in for Lopez and before he became a global star, he saw George Lopez at a show one time and following the show, this Facebook friend witnessed a disabled kid in a wheelchair taking a photo of Lopez, only for Lopez to smack the camera out of the kid's hands before telling his security, "get this f**kin retard out of my face".

The kid in the wheelchair immediately started crying.

This Facebook friend has hated him ever since (you would too, if you had witnessed this). Of course, this was back in the days when Lopez was not famous enough to be hounded by the paparrazzi, which explains why this incident never made headlines on Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight. Go ahead Lopez fans...."tell me that this facebook friend of mine is full of s**t". Who would be foolish enough to make up a story like this! Remember, this Facebook friend did not tell me this story until after I asked him why he was happy to see Lopez Tonight cancelled.

I even had another Facebook friend (a latina) comment on how she was once a fan of Lopez until she went to a taping of his show. I don't know the whole story, but according to her, he was very arrogant at the taping. She lost interest in Lopez following the taping and was not one bit saddened by the cancelling of his show.

Am I here to wish the worse on George Lopez? Of course not. Do I have hatred towards the guy? No, though I probably would have, had I seen him disrespect a disabled kid in a wheelchair.

I saw this man in concert years ago and enjoyed the show. But year after year, he does the same jokes in concert, gets more political when talking about illegal immigrant rights during what is suppose to be a night of laughter, and suddenly one has had enough.

Now, you give him his own late night TV show, where he lets millions of viewers listen in on a new set of jokes that happen to be a bit more offensive to people of certain races, people of certain weight, and people that have made him bitter during his life, and suddenly the TV fans have also had enough. Just imagine going to the Nokia Theatre five consecutive nights, sitting through five consecutive shows of George Lopez. By the 2nd or 3rd show, you'd be saying to yourself that "enough is enough" just like you would say when watching him on the tube. Don't deny the fact that I'm right on this.

So what does the future hold for Lopez? The same arrogance? The same Latino jokes told to a soon-to-be bored "universal audience"? Only time will tell. Just like he did two years ago when he followed into the same steps as his good friend Arsenio Hall by having his own late night talk show, perhaps he will once again follow into Hall's steps by becoming forgotten.

My advice to George what you say because your audience will take offense. For as easy as it is to gain fans, it is just as easy to lose them.


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