It was 2002 when comedian George Lopez premiered his ALMA Award nominated sitcom, “The George Lopez Show” on ABC. Last night, he debuted his latest project, “Saint George” on FX co-starring Danny Trejo, David Zayas, and Diana-Maria Riva. The half hour comedy, airing Thursday nights at 900pm, follows a successful businessman (Lopez), who is adapting to life as a divorcee while living with his overbearing mother Alma (Olga Merediz), nosy uncle Tio (Danny Trejo), and juvenile cousin Junior (David Zayas).
We spoke to Lopez this week to learn more about his newest character and what we can expect to see this season.
What inspired the title of the show?
“Saint George is a pretty interesting title. I think you don’t become a saint until the end of your life, and how you live your life depends on whether you become a saint or not. I’m not sure that in my particular life I will become a saint any time soon, but it is a great title, I love the title. But also, I think opposites are great for comedy. So, in my particular education, I didn’t have the greatest teachers. As a matter of fact, in the book I wrote about a teacher that I knew was a comedian in high school, and then he actually told me that for him to teach me comedy would be wasting his time. So I actually in my life have used negative things to inspire me to become positive.
So, the show, the guy giving back, we wanted to show that as a way to have a sense of a place where you could go to have specific humor about specific topics, and being a teacher and giving back, which I do quite a bit. That really doesn’t get covered as much. But we thought that that would be a great venue for comedy.”
What are the chances we will see familiar faces from “The George Lopez Show” make guest appearances?
“I think past the 10 [episodes], if the show continues into the back 90 [episodes], I would love to revisit some of the characters. You know, the father-in-law character, Emiliano Diez, was a tremendous well of comedy. And then the mother character, Belita Moreno, was fantastic. So I think mothers meeting each other and becoming friends for an arc would be great, and yes, they’re all great actors. I’ve been blessed in the arena of TV to be surrounded by really, really good people.”
Concepcion (Diana-Maria Riva) is on George like white on rice. Why won’t he give her a shot?
“The thing about Saint George is that it’s the first show I’ve succeeded in becoming very honest about my life. Concepcion is a beautiful woman. She’s in charge of her body, she’s very sexual, and very curvy. She’s a beautiful Latina woman, and in the show, much like in life, it would intimidate me to be with a woman who’s that secure in herself and that positive about what she wants. So I thought that in creating that character, it would be a great place to show. Sometimes the man is more assertive, and in this particular relationship, I am not. I don’t really know what I want. I don’t know where my life is going. I just got divorced, my mom has moved in with me, I’ve got an uncle and a cousin that try to tell me how to live my life. I’ve created a success for myself, and still sometimes in success you don’t expect it, and it’s not necessarily the most comfortable place to be. I think that area is good for comedy.”
In an upcoming episode, someone close to George will be getting a prostate exam. Is it safe to say that you will use comedy to tackle important topics?
“Tio (Trejo) is the one getting checked and he’s never been checked. In our culture—and in life, not necessarily culture, but I think that guys don’t particularly take the best care of themselves. I know sometimes that I don’t take the best care of myself. I think that everyday we should try to take care of ourselves and not be our own worst enemy— sometimes I’ve been. But in creating the Tio character, he’s almost like an alter ego of George. So there’s a good George and a bad George, and sometimes bad George wins.”
Even though George’s ex-wife is moving on with her life, it seems like he is holding out some hope. He confides in her, counts on her at different times. Shouldn’t he cut the friendship aspect a bit to help him move on?
“Yes, he probably should, but she’s in a healthier place. She just started to date, and she’s a little bit jealous as well of him, you see it a little bit. But you see her moving on, and you see me not really knowing where to go, as far as dating.
I think one of the lines that sticks out to me is that those guys, Danny Trejo says, come on, let’s go to the club, El Sueño, there’s like all these young girls there. And then you see a lot of older dudes with younger women, and I said, “We’re old enough to be their fathers,” and he goes, “I know.” And I said, “It’s disgusting,” and he said, “Well, we have to give them something to regret.” So it’s a little bit—you know, I saw a guy who was older with a younger girl on an airplane to San Francisco, and it did strike me as not looking the healthiest.”