America's Mexican: George Lopez

A clip from George Lopez's television special Why You Crying?

George Lopez calls himself "America's Mexican." While that might be a slight exaggeration, he is certainly the country's most widely accepted Hispanic actor and comedian these days (he's gained the largest U.S. audience of any Latino comedian/actor since Freddie Prinze). His television series, The George Lopez Show, ran for five years before it ended in 2007, and his current late night television talk show, Lopez Tonight has steadily gained momentum (recent guests include Tyler Perry, Terrence Howard and Snoop Dogg). So why would the comedian leave a cushy television set to go out on the road? Because at his heart, Lopez is a comedian. Sure, his resume also includes actor and talk show host tags, but Lopez is a comedian first and foremost.

His stand-up, like his television series, is based on his experiences being raised by a, shall we say, under-affectionate woman (it was his grandmother in real life and his mother on the show). Lopez has never claimed abuse, but if his stories are to be believed, his grandmother invented tough love, with an extra heavy dose of tough. Expect some new material (all those hours on the couch with his famous guests has given him plenty of fodder) and some classics (such as his signature "Why you crying?" as in "I'll give you something to cry about," one of his grandmother's favorite sayings to the young George).

You'll enjoy the performance more if you can understand a little bit of Spanglish - Lopez sprinkles Mexican-American slang in for emphasis. Even if you're English-only-speaking, don't worry: funny is funny no matter what the accent.

See George Lopez 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, visit $49.50 to $60.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez