George Lopez

‘The Wall World Tour’ breaking through political, ethnic and food-related barriers

George Lopez swings sledgehammer. -- Photo courtesy the MACC

As I waited for the “Tall, Dark and Chicano” comedian to call The Maui News, a bag of boiled peanuts beckoned from atop my desk.

Left over from Super Bowl Sunday, the peanuts would serve as my breakfast after the 7 a.m. interview transpired. With five minutes to the call, I watched a YouTube clip of George Lopez’s HBO “The Wall” special, and lo and behold, peanut eaters and allergies were front and center.

“Now, if somebody has a peanut allergy, the whole world has to change,” he said to the audience, wild-eyed and strutting like a rodeo cowboy– only with a goofy grin that the meanest of bulls couldn’t buck off.

“If one person has an allergy on an airplane, no one can have peanuts. You’re drinking and having a good time and asking for peanuts, and they say, ‘I’m sorry, there’s a person with a peanut allergy in coach seat 23-A.’ So I grab a mic and yell, ‘Hey, you in 23-A, why don’t you just jump on a Greyhound with all of the other nuts?’ “

I laughed, and reached for the peanuts. Just then, the phone rang, jolting my hunger to the back burner. His tour publicist patched the call through. Right away, the topic of peanuts was easily cracked.

Comic legend George Lopez is a sharp-dressed LA man. “I’ll probably perform barefooted when on island,” he said. “ I’ve always wanted to do that, and Maui will be the place.” -- Photo courtesy the MACC

“Listen, it’s funny, it’s fodder, it’s humor,” Lopez explained. “Considering the things I say about the president and all of the other things, nothing draws as much ire as the peanut allergy skit. ‘Supernanny’ Jo Frost (whose mission is to help desperate parents with their bad kids) told me that people were calling her TV show in an uproar.”

Sure, Lopez leaves no stone unturned when he jumps on people and topics — yet it’s obvious he does it all in fun. Plus, he grew up as a peanut-loving kid of Mexican heritage in the Los Angeles area.

“We’re not allergic to anything,” he says of himself and his Latino compadres on YouTube. “We do more sh-t with peanuts than a monkey can. We salt them. Put chile on them. Eat roasted peanuts, Now there are peanut-free schools. You can take a gun, but not peanuts. You don’t even need a gun. Just bring walnuts and crack them open. Put almonds down a guy’s shirt. Scatter cashews out in the parking lot.”

OMG! It’s been too long since Lopez appeared here. On Feb. 17, he’ll return to break comedic barriers with “The Wall World Tour” at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater in Kahului. His highly anticipated show will have the audience in stitches with a steady stream of raunchy adult subject matter, so it’s for those 18 and older.

“The Wall World Tour” is being produced by Maui resident Shep Gordon and Danny Zelisko Presents.

George Lopez with safety glasses for “The Wall” HBO special, in which he sledgehammers a theatrical “border wall.” -- Photo courtesy the MACC

“I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I performed on Maui,” said Lopez. “But I was on island over New Year’s Eve. Shep is somebody I met way back. I was with Paul Stanley from Kiss. We’re good friends, and he’s an artist, so we went to one of his gallery shows there. After the show, we went to Shep’s house for dinner. When you meet Shep, who is not like anyone else, you know he is special. Original. He’s a ‘Supermensch’ with a great documentary.”

“I’ve known George for decades,” Gordon responded via email. “He always makes me laugh. Figured Maui could use a good laugh always … especially in these times.”

Hanging around on Maui was not Lopez’s first introduction to Hawaii and the Neighbor Islands. In fact, he shared that he lived on Lanai awhile back.

“I lived on Lanai for almost 10 years,” he recalled. “Down by the golf course near the 18th fairway at Manele Bay. Then when Larry Ellison bought the island, I sold my house to him –and he gave me just 48 hours to get out.”

Lopez flipped the house like Speedy Gonzalez on steroids, taking billionaire Ellison’s offer. But he said he didn’t like to be rushed. He likes to kick back, relax and live the American dream, beloved by millions of people in the U.S and beyond.

“This country was made by immigrants and continues to be made by immigrants. and that’s what makes it so great,” he said on “The Wall.” “If Trump wants to crack down on immigrants, then he should stop marrying them.”

Did he plan for his “The Wall World Tour” to end up on Maui over President’s Day weekend?

“No, I did not know that,” he said, then dead silence, perhaps as he thought up new material for next Sunday’s gig.

Lopez’s “The Wall” is his fourth HBO special. His past HBO hits are “America’s Mexican” (2007), “Tall, Dark and Chicano” (2009) and “It’s Not Me, It’s You” (2012).

According to his bio, Lopez remains a hit with television viewers with his comedy series, “Lopez,” on TV Land. As star and producer, Lopez explores his struggles between his two worlds, with crises of his own making.

Besides his TV shows, movies and books, his touring takes up much of his time. At age 57, he’s still got it going on when it comes to theatrical stunts on stage. From flinging a microphone in sexy innuendos to flailing himself on the floor, his athletic prowess equals his humor.

“I used to do this routine and be ‘electrocuted,’ “ he said. “I would fall straight back. Painful, yet gratifying material. I’d struggle to walk around the house later and think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t get electrocuted every night.”

What kind of moves may we expect on Maui?

“You can expect electrocution, sledgehammering,” he said, perhaps referring to ripping up a wall on stage with one-two Oscar de la Hoya punches. “I’ll talk about Hawaiian issues. The same type of issues that we have back here on the Mainland. You know, kids and food, for instance. Getting them to eat when their food touches.”

Lopez remembered being at “Disneyland and this little kid was freaking out, crying, throwing his helmet on the ground. “Because his dinner roll touched the chicken. That’s what kids get away with. His mom got him a new plate, just because the dinner roll touched the chicken.”

In his household, “We wanted our food to touch because it looked like more. Ask yourselves. Could you have gotten away with it? Your mom walks by once, walks by twice. ‘I don’t like it when the corrrn torrrtilla touches the carrrnitas,’ “ he rolled his ‘rrrs” whining in his thickest Mexican accent.

Lopez also admits to being fond of Hawaiian favorites loco moco and Portuguese sausage.

“I love loco moco!” he admitted. “That’s a dish that would be hard to eat if the food doesn’t touch. You’d have to have four plates, one with rice, then egg, the next with hamburger patty and the fourth with gravy. Really, I see the best hotels mess up loco moco. Some of the most down-home greasy joints do the best peasant food. You gotta leave it to the peasants. Let eggs Benedict be for the wealthy.”

One time, he and his family were at a top Maui hotel, and a server approached him.

“It was when I was married. I’m divorced now,” he said. “My daughter and my niece and my wife were there and the waitress said, ‘are you enjoying your vacation, Mr. Lopez?’ I said, ‘I am not, because I spend my time chasing them on kayaks, catching their spilling smoothies. If it wasn’t for the Portuguese sausage, I would be on a plane home right now!’ “

Guaranteed, he won’t be eating any peanuts.

* Dining Editor Carla Tracy can be reached at carlatracy@mauinews.com.

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• For tickets: Seats are $49, $59, $79, with a limited number of $99 premium seats are available (plus applicable fees). Call 242-7469, go to the box office or visit www.mauiarts.org.

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