George Lopez entertains troops overseas
Kam Williams | 8/18/2017, 6 a.m.
Do your visits change the mood of the soldiers you entertain?
GL: Of course, by taking them away from themselves for a couple of hours or so. During that time, they’re not thinking about how dangerous their situation is, people they miss back home or lost comrades. The show is an escape, much like going to the movies.
What did you take away from going on these tours?
GL: That’s a great question, because the country is so divided today, not only racially, but between the right and the left. I get a ton of messages from right-wing people who don’t like my ethnicity or my political views. But before this current administration, no one ever told me they didn’t think I was funny. What I take away from performing for the troops is that their service gives me the freedom to express myself in whatever way feels right for me.
The country is so divided and internet trolls have become so snarky and hateful, I wonder where the world is headed.
GL: I’ve been doing standup for 38 years, and I’ve never seen it like this. Freedom is supposed to mean being able to express yourself. But now, inside this freedom ball, you have people pointing fingers, which is actually anti-freedom and anti-American. I get hostile messages every day on Instagram, like “Go back to Mexico!” How am I going to go back to Mexico. I’m not from Mexico. But I never started hearing stuff like that until a couple of years ago. And I get it every day now.
That’s so sad.
GL: It’s amazing that someone needs to take time out of their life to wish me bad. And they don’t seem to be able to separate humor from reality or to look any deeper than the immediacy of whatever that message is.
Did you have a role model who, when you were young, made you believe that the sky was the limit?
GL: Yeah, my high school baseball coach, Steve Marden. When I quit the team my senior year, we went nose-to-nose. He called me a quitter and told me I’d never achieve anything in life, because I was a quitter. Then, when I was an aspiring standup comic, it dawned on me that he was right. And years later, I went back to the school to apologize to him for wasting his time. I said, “You were right, and I had to come and tell you I’m sorry, because I did eventually understand what you were trying to teach me.” He appreciated it, and would call me whenever he saw me on TV, and ask, “How’s my 3rd baseman!”