Theater & art

Solo artist George Lopez joins a team for Comedy Get Down tour

George Lopez says he enjoys the company of his fellow comedians but that he prefers solitude.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images
George Lopez says he enjoys the company of his fellow comedians but that he prefers solitude.

Friday night, George Lopez will step on the TD Garden stage in front of thousands of people as part of the Comedy Get Down tour with D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, and Charlie Murphy. It’s not unusual for Lopez to perform in front of crowds — he’s done just about everything a comedian can do in a career, from stand-up to sitcoms to hosting his own late-night talk show. But that doesn’t mean he’s comfortable doing it.

Lopez prefers solitude. It’s been that way since he was a teenager, sitting in his room by himself and learning to play guitar, similar to what he does now when he isn’t performing. He chose to do stand-up for the same reason his favorite sport is golf — it’s something he can do alone. “It’s not like I became a dancer to become surrounded by 75 other dancers,” he says. “I picked a sport where, if anybody even puts their foot on the stage, you kick it off. It’s like a solitary existence.”

He does, however, enjoy the company of his fellow stand-ups. The Comedy Get Down started out as a show in Peoria, Ill., in November 2014. Lopez had seen the city was trying to erect a statue of Richard Pryor, a Peoria native, but the project had stalled for lack of money. Lopez called Cedric, Hughley, Murphy, Griffin, and Mike Epps, and put on “A Night for Richard” to raise the balance needed to pay for the statue. It was unveiled in May 2015.

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They had so much fun they decided to make it a tour. “After the first night, we said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do this again,’ ” says Lopez. For the past year and a half, The Comedy Get Down has been playing arenas around the country.

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Lopez and company are also working on a TV version of the tour, which Lopez calls “a scripted reality show.” He is hoping it will raise the tour’s profile. “It’ll be a re-creation of what happens backstage,” he says.

Lopez says he can’t think of five comedians on one tour whose points of view are so different. “Charlie is really methodical,” he says. “He was a military guy, so he has military things in there. He has teenage children, that’s in there. Eddie would be like the crazy uncle who never sits down and can’t sit still and who’s hilarious. The most out there of all of us. And D.L. is pretty much a straight technician, just joke, joke, joke. And then he’s got his style and mannerisms. And then Cedric sings and dances and skits. It’s great to watch. Cedric closes because he’s the full entertainer. And then we all go back up there together at the end.”

Lopez turned 55 in April, and he likes the idea of becoming an elder statesman in stand-up. He plans to keep at it, but that might change a few years down the road.

“If I was a boxer I’d still fight if I still think I could win,” he says. “When I get to the point where, maybe at 60 we’ll look at it. I always look at things in five-year intervals. I’m enjoying it right now. I’m enjoying being out there with those guys.”

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He never much liked the waiting around involved with shooting movies, and prefers the quicker pace of television. But stand-up is where he can most be himself and say whatever he wants to say. Which is where he finds a kind of kinship with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. “A lot of things I admire about Donald Trump, but the one thing is, he says, ‘I’m not politically correct,’ and then says this crazy stuff that comedians would say. I think he’s one of us.”

Don’t mistake that for an endorsement. “He don’t have my vote,” Lopez says, “but he’s one of us.”

The Comedy Get Down

With George Lopez, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, and Charlie Murphy. At the TD Garden, Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets: $45.25-$85.25, 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

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Nick A. Zaino III can be reached at nick@nickzaino.com.