George Lopez Discusses How Social Media Has Changed Comedy
We chat with the comedian before his standup show at the Moore Theatre.
As is the case with many sitcom stars, George Lopez excelled as a standup well before finding a home on television. But the comfort of starring on The George Lopez Show and the new FXX sitcom Saint George, hasn't made Lopez's love for standup wane. It's still an itch that needs scratching. He brings his newest collection of material to the Moore Theatre for a night of comedy on Friday, April 4.
Before he swings into town, we chatted with Lopez about the modern comedy landscape, his use of social media outlets, and his upcoming projects.
As a seasoned veteran of the comedy scene, how have changes in technology and social media changed your approach to comedy?
Well, I think ultimately you have to be humorous. If you have the ability to write concisely, that’s better. I think storytellers would suffer in the social media arena because you don’t want to have three tweets to tell your story. But, it has created a fast lane of comedians who could be funny for a short amount of time on social media, but maybe not a long amount of time on an actual live stage. But maybe that’s kind of like a dated venue, you know, touring comedians.
You seem to use your social media presence more to share your public life and promote your projects rather than tell jokes. Why have you decided to take that approach?
I don’t know if I’m more of a story comedian, I just find it difficult sometimes to always about jokes, you know? I’ve already proven that I am what I am. I don’t have to everyday tweet you my joke of the day or basically tell you who I am.
Do you feel like comedy is becoming more splintered into certain niche camps in the same way that television has become more about niches?
I don’t think splintered is the right word because I think it’s intentional. Every comedian has his own following. I don’t think anybody that has a following on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook is niche anymore. It might have been back when Dane Cook first started to use it, and that’s how he kind of rose so fast. He was way ahead of the curve, but now that everybody has them.
So are those tech changes the biggest way the comedy business has changed since you first started as a standup?
Yeah. The thing is if you were a day-to-day standup, you used to promote yourself kind of word of mouth. It was very niche. Like if you went to Chicago, they wouldn’t particularly know what was going on in Kansas City when you were there. Or if you were in San Francisco, Chicago wouldn’t know. But now, if you’re in San Francisco, everybody in the world has access to that information if they follow you. I have followers from all over the world, and that’s a little bit more of a shocker. I remember I sent a guy a DVD in South Africa. He wanted one and was like, “Hey, where can I find your DVD?” I said, “Give me your address, I’ll send it to you.”
Do you feel like kind of your own comedic style has shifted over the years as a result of working on the sitcoms and Lopez Tonight, or do you still feel like you’re doing what you’ve always done?
Well I figure it shifts a little bit. But I was watching a biography about Rush, and they always sound like Rush even though the songs change. If you see Chris Rock perform, even though his material changes, it always has the confines of his personality. So yeah, you shift but it always has the parameters of your personality.
Your standup is billed as “for mature audiences only,” but you’re also able to reach younger audiences with projects like the upcoming Rio 2. Does it feel good being able to span that disparate entertainment gap?
Yeah. There is a kind of uh good and bad to it, you know? I was never really a family friendly comedian, but as I got older I became a little bit more adult because that’s kind of where my taste went. It’s an honor to do an animated kids movie like Rio, but some things should remain pure that particular style. You see movies where there’s a musician who’s on his guitar and he’s like, “They won’t let me be me! They want me to be somebody else!” And I don’t have that. I don’t ever have to change. I can always be me.
Apr 4 at 8, Moore Theatre, $33–$53