Friday, September 21, 2012

George Lopez's "It's Not Me, It's You"

Whether you like the new album from George Lopez, “It’s Not Me, It’s You” is pretty much dependent upon whether or not you already like his comedy. Lopez hasn’t strayed from his usual style, which is good for the sake of consistency, but may not win over any new fans who may otherwise have written him off as strictly a Latino-only comic. His work on television has a wide fan base that covers all ethnicities but I feel the followers of his a stand-up are a much narrower demographic.

My Spanish is very limited, so a lot of Lopez’s comedy is lost on me. Much of the humor here is found when Lopez slips from English to Spanish and back again and there are large chunks where I am pretty much lost, wanting to be in on the joke, and instead just sitting with a half-formed smile frozen on my face, hoping my chance to get in on the joke will come back around. Granted, Lopez can be a very visual performer and many times you can pick up on what he is saying by his body language and gestures, something that lends itself to the DVD format much better than the audio recording.

The language barrier is really my only beef with this project (or any of Lopez's previous releases) and I wonder how many people have listened to his stand up and, not being able to understand large portions, have given up on coming back. Much like Carlos Mencia, Lopez loves to wave the Hispanic banner, often times coming across as more of a Latino Confidence Pep Rally than a comedy album. I suspect that can really whittle down your fan base.

That being said, for the most part I enjoyed the album and laughed audibly quite often. I love that Lopez is old-school in his approach to raising kids. He raised his children and didn’t give in to the pressure to entertain them. They didn’t have cell phones as grade-schoolers (Guilt doesn’t work on Latino parents like it does on white parents. When met with the argument, “What if there’s an emergency and you’re not there?” Lopez simply responds, “Well, then you’re fucked.”) and instead of handing out medicine to treat a child who misbehaves, he instead offers up a nice thunk on the head. It works just as well and is a lot less expensive.

Lopez was brought up with tough love and he thinks the rest of us should follow suit instead of pampering our kids with swimmies, electrical outlet covers, and car seats that are more suitable to the space shuttle. Instead of raising children with a sense of entitlement, he prefers to teach them words like “supposed” and “almost.” It’s all incredibly against the PC-ness of today’s childproof society and as a result, is a welcome - and funny - alternate perspective.

The album closes with a great story about a trip Lopez took to the White House. It involves impressive placemats (and their inevitable kidnapping), getting President Obama to drop “the voice,” and really is a lot of fun. When he’s on, he’s really on, and Lopez remains on throughout the CD’s duration. Now if I could just understand it all, I’d be golden.

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