If George Lopez is as funny Monday night on the debut of Lopez Tonight as he was last summer at press tour, he should do fine. Lopez stumped for U.S. president Barack Obama during the election and had plenty of Obama shtick in his TCA set. "Listen, Barack Obama is Kenyan descent but also has some Latino in him," said Lopez. "He lives in a house that’s not his. That’s very Latino. His mother-in-law lives with him, helping him raise his two kids. He’s one of us."
Obama will make an appearance via videotape on tonight's premiere at 11/10c on TBS. (UPDATE: Good news--Lopez Tonight is simulcast in Canada on tln). Otherwise the show promises to be quite a party, with Lopez hoping to tap into some of the same vibe that used to make Arsenio Hall's syndicated talk show from the early '90s such a kick.
"Look, I was on Arsenio 16 times 20 years ago," says Lopez. "I’ve talked to Arsenio about this show." Lopez feels "there’s enough heavy things going on every day that you should be able to sit down late at night, have a drink, relax, and go to a party and just see it on TV. It’s exciting."
Lopez may have a ways to go to top the jaw-dropping audacity of The Wanda Sykes Show. The show was rated 14 DLS and no effin kidding. Sykes put a late night HBO spin on her Fox debut Saturday, peddling her old dildos, goofing on Obama, discussing inappropriate games with her big blond drag queen assistant Portia.
She went off on people blaming Obama for Bush's mess. "Bush just pees over everything, leaving it soaking wet," said Sykes. "People are looking at Obama as if he just zipped up his fly."
Now there's a line you're never going to hear on Letterman or Fallon.
Sykes and her announcer buddy Keith Robinson spend a long time looking at a tape of a woman at an Obama rally who might have mouthing that she wanted to eff the president. Imagine the secret service smack down if that had been Hilary Clinton up there lusted over by a man in the audience, suggested Sykes, saying, "I'm gonna tear that panty suit up."
There were some pointed, outrageous jabs at Bush, Ann Coulter and her giant eye lashes and other conservatives. It was shocking stuff compared to the usual late night mix. There were no softballs in Sykes' repertoire as my buddy Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star said to me today. (I'd contacted him to get his expert, late night take on a Leno story up tomorrow on MSNBC). As Barnhart said, here we were, two days later, talking about Sykes' show and when was the last time that happened over anything Fox showed at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night? "Bill Maher," added The Barn Man, "watch your back."