Celebrities

George Lopez no ‘Saint’ but plays one on TV

 

George Lopez wants to feel like a 10-year-old. That’s the intent of the Mexican-American comedian’s new FX sitcom, Saint George.

On the Thursday night show, the 52-year-old plays a sitcom version of himself: a divorced man balancing work, parenting and criticism, the latter of which comes mostly from his American ex-wife Mackenzie (Jennifer Lyon from FX’s Justified) and old-school Mexican mother Alma ( Olga Merediz, Requiem for a Dream).

Lopez said his grandmother, who raised him, was always quick to point out his mistakes, despite his success. The FX platform allows him to be a “little bit edgier” highlighting (lowlighting?) those slip-ups.

“My grandmother is the only person who can make me feel like I was 10 years old,” Lopez said. “I want to bring that feeling back to Saint George. It’s a little more pointed to where I made my mistakes.”

The show’s first 10 episodes, which are named after classic rock songs such as The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again, include themes like dating, conventional medicine versus “Latino medicine” and drinking at a birthday party.

Lopez said Saint George is “genuine,” especially when it’s dealing with personal problems and meeting women. In the episode Rich Girl, George has trouble dealing with a successful woman. “He’s uncomfortable with meeting new girls,” Lopez said.

Lopez dealt with his own comedy of errors in February when he was arrested (and later released) on suspicion of public intoxication at a Canadian casino where he performed two stand-up shows. He joked in a statement that he tried to “sleep it off,” as a video surfaced of him lying on the casino floor.

“I’m not a perfect person,” he said. “I make people laugh. Aside from that, I spend a lot of time alone.”

The half-hour comedy also stars Dexter cop David Zayas as Lopez’s cousin, Junior, and Machete Kills tough guy Danny Trejo as his uncle, Tio. Lopez said viewers should be more comfortable with a familiar cast, compared to his self-titled ABC sitcom, and he hopes that translates into ratings. Saint George, like Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, is part of a 10/90 syndication model, which means viable ratings in the first 10 episodes leads to an additional 90-episode order. If all goes well, Lopez will shoot the show in 18-episode blocks until April 2016.

Apart from his return to the sitcom realm, Lopez also reprised his role as Rafael the toucan in Rio 2 and was here for the festive blue-carpet premiere held at the Fontainebleau. Though his character lives in Brazil, Lopez does not have any actual World Cup plans this summer. “I’ll watch it, [but] I’m more of a golfer than I am a soccer fan,” he admitted.

Lopez will also host the Playboy Jazz Festival in June for the second year in a row, plus continue his cross-country stand-up tour, which includes two June 29 shows at the Palm Beach Improv.

Lopez appreciates the diversity of his projects.

“I’ve always given people different colors,” he said.

Anthony Cave

“Saint George” airs on FX at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

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