Laughter will never go out of style, according to George Lopez.
The effusive comedian and actor has been in the business of making others laugh with his observational humor for decades, earning accolades from the Teen Choice Awards, the ALMA Awards, and several Grammy Award nominations. He’ll be making his first stop in Schenectady on Saturday at Rivers Casino & Resort.
A California native, Lopez became interested in comedy in high school after a friend invited him to go to a comedy show.
“I think Cheech and Chong were big influences. You know, Cheech grew up in the same area around where I was,” Lopez said in an interview with the Gazette.
By the 1980s, Lopez was performing stand-up routines on a regular basis. Before too long he started making television appearances on shows like “Comedy Club” and in the 1990s, he broke into film, all while producing comedy albums like “Alien Nation.” During the ensuing decades, Lopez starred in a sitcom (named after him), hosted a late night show, opened restaurants and produced comedy albums.
Looking back, Lopez said his multifaceted career took perseverance and a bit of risk.
“What’s fascinating is how [you] keep going because you’re not really good in the beginning and you keep going [and ] you’re still not good. It takes years,” Lopez said.
While he’s always pushing himself to come up with fresh material, he says there are topics that he doesn’t necessarily bring up on stage. That list doesn’t include death or personal challenges — in the past he’s talked about his difficult upbringing. However, Lopez said he can’t find the funny in politics lately.
“With politics now, I don’t think there’s anything new that can be said. I think it’s almost like beating a dead horse. I go away from that now because I did it in the beginning of this administration that it doesn’t really seem very funny to me anymore. There’s not a lot of things that have happened that I think are funny,” Lopez said.
He said he also refuses to rely on insult comedy or shock factor.
“I don’t think that stuff works. It works on some level but for longevity. . . you look at somebody like Don Rickles who made a career out of insulting everybody and he would apologize at the end [of his shows]. I don’t want to apologize at the end,” Lopez said.
Instead, he leans into observational humor.
“A lot of it is people going back to minding their own business. Calling the police on a girl selling water, calling the police on a dog not on a leash, somehow all of these people have gained notoriety for not minding their own business,” Lopez said, adding, “It gets ridiculous when you call the police on someone in Starbucks [or] you call the police on someone who’s barbequing in the park. That never used to happen. But now, because of entitlement, somebody has to point the finger at somebody [else] and say ‘You don’t belong here.’”
Whenever he’s writing new material or working on new projects, Lopez said he tries to listen to his intuition. It’s what got him where he is today and he advises people trying to follow in his footsteps to do the same.
“I found that what I was able to do [was unlimited] once I trusted myself,” Lopez said, adding “People [stay in] jobs for 30 years because they don’t trust themselves but you don’t get ahead by not risking something.”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Sat.
WHERE: Rivers Casino and Resort
MORE INFO: riverscasinoandresort.com