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Not-So-New Kid On The Block

Longtime TV sitcom comedian George Lopez talks to the adults on album version of HBO special.

“George Lopez: Tall, Dark & Chicano,” the CD album chronicle of his recent HBO special, released on the Comedy Central label, is a mixed bag -- veering between material that at times sounds more like a political rally to other material that draws on obvious influences from Bill Cosby and George Carlin.

Those might seem like complete opposites that could never be tied together in tone or material, but Lopez does do that. Take the nostalgic point of view about childhood or youth that Cosby has, with the jaundiced take on society and strong language of Carlin, and you will get pieces like “Kids.” In this one, Lopez compares spoiled kids of today with the his childhood.

“We played outside, we beat each other up,” he recalls. “We used to fall down, and get scab. We’d get a scab and pick at it for a week.” And in “Real Names,” Lopez tells of his disdain for soft children’s names like Trevor or Kyle (actually that might be semi-stolen from Carlin, come to think of it).

But where Lopez really hits his stride is in material about sex. Some of it being nostalgic, like “Tampons used to be huge! Now it’s a convenient little thing with an applicator,” he says. “You would ask, ‘Is that a futon?’” Or, in “Vibrators,” Lopez says, “Ladies, it’s alright to masturbate, [making a humming electric sound] … In the old days you had to use your fingers. It took four days,” he adds, humming the Benny Hill theme for emphasis. “Do whatever makes you happy. Life’s too short not to have an orgasm every day.”

Lopez’s intensity level is certainly faster, louder and more than Cosby, although the sophistication of the material overall is a few levels below Carlin. When it comes to the politics, which Lopez does a bit at the beginning and end of the album, touching on the immigration debate, he does to his credit take a clear side and point of view, unlike Carlos Mencia who has a soft “can’t we all get along” point of view. Lopez does take a few smart shots at Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin, for instance, and claims “Obama Is Latino” for a few funny reasons.

“Tall, Dark & Chicano,” Lopez’s first major stand-up special after his sitcom, and before his new nightly talk show, may not inspire repeated listens like those of his influences, but it’s a strong start and shows potential that might not have been evident from his previous TV work.




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