The world of comedy hasnt always been known for its excess of Latino comedians on TV. I Love Lucy featured Desi Arnaz but he was only a side note to Lucille Ball, who got the majority of laughs and top billing.
It wasnt until 2002 when George Lopezs show debuted that millions of American households caught a glimpse of Latino-flavored humor. Lopez was cast as manager of a manufacturing plant and head of a large family. If you didnt know that, you might have missed out on a big milestone for the Hispanic community in the U.S.
Lopez performed in Grand Rapids on Sunday for the closing day of Gilda’s LaughFest. The 10-day festival was one filled with constant laughter and youd be hard pressed to find someone who wasnt smiling from ear to ear.
This was the laugh festivals fifth running and Lopez ended with a routine dedicated to family life and changing times. The 70-minute routine veered away from swears or offensive words but that doesnt mean the topics were kid friendly.
“Are we still afraid of Ebola? Or just Bill Cosby,” he asked, continuing on with an imitation of the comedian, who had performed at the festival in the past. Cosbys recent rape allegations are no secret and Lopez did not veer away from the sensitive topic.
“Now the voice makes sense,” Lopez added.
There was plenty of applause for Lopezs Hispanic related jokes so its safe to say a good portion of the audience was Hispanic-Americans, who Lopez made sure to welcome.
“Gracias. To everyone else, I’m not ‘The Dog Whisperer,’” he said, referring to Cesar Millan, the dog trainer and star of his own TV show.
Lopez poked fun at what its like to grow up as a Latino, as well as current stereotypes about Mexican Americans, according to M Live.
“Latinos aren’t terrorists. But if they set out to be the next Timothy McVeigh, “We’d be the most effective terrorists. There is no one who’s going to stop a Latino from buying fertilizer. They’ll try to sell you more,” he said.
He also mentioned that Latinos wouldnt blow up a federal building, referring to the McVeigh incident in Oklahoma.
“That’s where the checks come from,” Lopez said. “If we’re going to blow up things, we’re going to blow up places we don’t go. Like Bed, Bath and Beyond.”
Not all of the jokes were meant for Hispanic Americans. Much of the humor was universal, such as the differences between parenting styles nowadays versus when he was a kid.
“We let the baby, baby-proof the house. We let them find the danger,” he said. “‘Don’t touch it again.’ That’s how you learn. If we talked back, they’d reach out and choke us,” he said. “If they did it right, you’d never talk back again.”