George Lopez Lampoons Trump and Millennials on ‘The Wall’
After nearly four decades on-stage eschewing punchy commentaries on Chicano culture and its growing impact on American society, it would be easy to think George Lopez would struggle to find fresh material. Leave it to the veteran comedian to fashion observations that feel not just fresh, but entirely relevant in a turbulent age. Lopez manages to spotlight his culture’s woes while pointedly lampooning the powers that be. His newest HBO special, “The Wall,” is full of the classic Lopez flavor, outlining his plan to save America as its next president.
The special opens with Lopez in his natural element: rubbing elbows with his fellow comedy elites — Cedric the Entertainer even introduces him backstage. The monster reaction Lopez incites shows what a cultural hero he has become to the Mexican-American masses. “I’m going to be speaking some Spanish,” he opens. “I’ll sprinkle in some English.”
As expected, Lopez wastes no time going in on President Trump and his supporters. “You call me a minority, that means I’m less than you,” he quips. “Let me tell you something: you call me a minority, you’ll lose a majority of your (teeth).” And later: “Donald Trump is so orange, the first time my Tio saw him, he tried to pick him.” He takes the most terrifying administration in American history to task in the conversational style for which he’s revered. He even outlines his own presidency: “I would make Taco Tuesday the law,” he declares to raucous applause.
“The Wall” gets its name from the barrier the Trump administration plans to erect on the U.S.-Mexico border. For some, the wall symbolizes an immense roadblock to social progress. Not Lopez, though: “Mexicans, we’ll get over it.” He manages to trail that clever one-liner with a further flurry before switching gears and wondering what great things those $30 billion could do elsewhere — that money could build new hospitals or schools, for instance. It’s clearly an issue that, despite poking fun, Lopez cares about deeply.
Chicano viewers were rolling from a bit making fun of today’s pickiness when it comes to food, correctly pointing out that “we would never get away with that.” More directly, though, he takes shots at millennials and their helicopter parents who, unlike Lopez’s family, freak out when they lose their kids at the grocery store. “You lose your kid and I have to look?” an aghast Lopez asks.
Lopez has his preachy moments that come off as repetitive, but they’re nowhere near the cringeworthy preachiness that permeated other 2017 standup specials like Bo Burnham’s “Make Happy.” Overall Lopez manages to once again reach into his bag of tricks, and although the special hit in a big way, one can’t help but wonder how much further Lopez can take his act. But that doubt just seems to drive Lopez forward, and just when that final roadblock looms in the distance, “He’ll get over it.”
“The Wall” premiered Aug. 5 on HBO.