George Lopez may be known for his comedy, but the actor gets serious in the upcoming inspirational drama “Spare Parts.”
The comedian stopped by HuffPost Live on Wednesday to promote his new film and spoke with host Marc Lamont about Latinos in late night, immigration and more.
On the topic of his 2009 late night show “Lopez Tonight,” which TBS abruptly cancelled after a two-year run, the comedian noted Latinos and Blacks had a more difficult time staying on the air. Lopez specifically mentioned stars like Queen Latifah and Arsenio Hall who he says weren’t given the opportunity to improve on air like their white counterparts.
“I just don’t think that we’re able to fail like white people fail,” Lopez told Lamont. “Our failures are heavier. When you’ll just leave a guy to get good and just leave him on to get good and we just get judged and criticized every day.”
And when it comes to making films and television that reflect diversity like "Spare Parts," Lopez says it's just as difficult.
“No matter what level or what degree you’re on in show business it’s still really hard to get movies made. So this movie will help the next movie get done,” Lopez said early on in the segment. “Gina Rodriguez winning a Golden Globe helps the next show that somebody wants to pitch and the fact that in all of that moment of her being overwhelmed she found a couple of seconds to say ‘this is a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes’... [Latinos] don’t want to divide ourselves in the United States or in entertainment, we just want to be included.”
“Spare Parts,” premiering on Friday, tells the true story of four undocumented Hispanic high school students from Phoenix, Arizona who entered a national collegiate robotics contest and managed to beat engineering giants like M.I.T with just $800 and no experience. Lopez’s character is a hybrid of the two real-life teachers who helped and supported the students in their endeavor.
While the comedian said there is an overall lack of opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood, in an answer to a viewer question, Lopez also said the movie would help get rid of any stereotypes that Hispanics aren’t intelligent.
“In our culture and in culture sometimes they make you feel a little be weird for being smart... but we are intelligent people and our dreams matter regardless of if you speak with an accent and people think that that makes you not intelligent,” Lopez answered. “Around the world and in Europe, if you speak multiple languages they look at that as a benefit, but in the United States if you speak Spanish, they look at you like you’re not speaking English. We’re woefully behind in a lot of things and one is perception.”
On the topic of immigration, Lopez urged people to vote in order for policies to change and said that, after being part of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, it was “a little disappointing” that more hadn’t been done for immigrants.
“Immigration has to be reformed and laws have to change but those kids are smart, they deserve a chance,” the comedian said, referencing DREAMers like those portrayed in the film. “This country was built on immigration. And yea I think this movie will raise an incredible dialogue and conversation because one of the kids got deported and then came back and became a citizen and joined the military. We want to live in this country and we want to live happy in this country. Dreams matter and our stories matter and that’s what makes ‘Spare Parts’ really kind of good.”
Take a look at George Lopez’s full interview below.