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Why You Rarely Hear From George Lopez Anymore

If you grew up watching Nick at Nite, the familiar sounds of War's "Low Rider" indicated one thing: "George Lopez" was on. The popular sitcom starring Lopez himself as the titular character was a huge staple in people's lives and a show that paved the way for Hispanic leads. "George Lopez" created endless fame for stand-up comedian Lopez and a timeless show for people to watch and laugh at.

However, have you ever wondered what happened to George Lopez after the show ended? Some people still follow his work or his social media accounts, but "George Lopez" was seemingly the height of Lopez's fame. There have been some other ventures worth noting in Lopez's career, including a new sitcom, a late-night show, and a lot of health issues to navigate through. The years following the COVID pandemic might mark a comeback for the star, but until then, read on to see why you rarely hear from George Lopez anymore.

He got his start in stand up comedy

Initially, George Lopez wasn't on a career path toward acting. According to Britannica, Lopez grew up with his grandmother and step-grandfather. His father was never present in his life and his mother was only around until Lopez turned 10. He worked in the same factory his grandmother did while compiling comedy material. Eventually, after taking inspiration from his neglectful childhood and legendary Latino comic Freddie Prinze, he ventured into a career as a comic.

Lopez started out in the 1980s when he did his stand-up specials on television shows like "Comedy Club" and "The Arsenio Hall Show." In the 1990s, Lopez began to enter the screen-acting industry with his role in the film "Ski Patrol," a comedy with Roger Rose and T.K. Carter, and continued between the '90s and early 2000s with films like "Bread and Roses" and "Real Women Have Curves." Lopez also released three comedy albums called "Alien Nation," "Right Now Right Now," and "Team Leader." From there, he continued to create stand-up content and made a career out of comedy. 

As noted by Britannica, it wasn't until Sandra Bullock came to him and asked him to produce and star in a comedy that he really considered developing his own show. Bullock told Lopez she felt he could fill the need for a lack of Hispanic representation in television, and Lopez took the task to heart.

George Lopez was a big win for Hispanic actors

George Lopez entered the world of sitcoms to take his typical PG-13 humor and socio-political commentary content to a show format. He didn't want his show to be just any sitcom, he wanted it to be a pathway for Hispanic actors to get some recognition and representation without the sole focus of the plot necessarily being about Latinx culture. He didn't want any negative stereotypes associated with the family and instead simply strove to portray a real Hispanic family dealing with real struggles and comedic moments.

It's unclear whether or not Lopez knew this at the time, but when he began to air episodes of "George Lopez," he was paving a new avenue for Hispanic actors. What made it so unique was the normalization of the Latino identity. It showed relatable struggles but with Latino storylines and identity at the forefront of thought. As Hillary Lynch said in an article for A Hot Set, "With 'George Lopez,' audiences were finally offered a normalized portrayal of a Latino family that was no different from the way that most mainstream sitcoms present their family-centered plots." This forced creators to take a look at the lack of representation and how crucial it is to put Hispanic actors in leading roles that aren't stereotypical or solely based on their heritage.

He called out ABC for racism after the cancellation of George Lopez

In 2007, ABC abruptly canceled "George Lopez." The show continued to play in reruns, but that didn't give Lopez the opportunity to wrap up the show in a way that would satisfy himself and his audience. The Los Angeles Times reported that Steve McPherson, ABC's president of prime-time entertainment, called Lopez to tell him the reason for the show's cancellation was financial and that ABC couldn't afford to pick up the show for another season. Lopez said this was especially hard news to swallow because of how ABC had purposely moved the "George Lopez" time slot around repeatedly, resulting in "George Lopez" having four time slots in five years.

Lopez said he also felt that putting "George Lopez" against "American Idol" sealed its fate, as the popularity of "American Idol" was nearly unrivaled at the time. Additionally, the Los Angeles Times reported Lopez was hurt because "Notes From the Underbelly" and "Knights of Prosperity," two first-year comedies, were renewed while "George Lopez" was canceled. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lopez said he'd "take the good and the bad," noting that his popularity did some good with charities, but ultimately felt that the show was canceled in favor of more white leads on sitcoms. Lopez said, "You know when you get in this that shows do not last forever, but this was an important show, and to go unceremoniously like this hurts."

He had a lack of popular acting jobs outside George Lopez

For those who follow George Lopez, it's clear that most of his popularity comes from his self-titled sitcom. For years, people got to watch Lopez play himself and tell his real stories, but with a fictional family. It's hard, then, for people to separate the "George Lopez" version of Lopez from any fictional character he'd try to portray. In most cases, any popular acting job he had just felt like he was playing himself again. He played a lot of smaller parts in different productions and occasionally played himself.

Lopez has three notable acting roles outside of "George Lopez." First, he was in the popular children's film "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D." This is how younger generations that might not have been allowed to watch "George Lopez" yet got their introduction to the actor. In this, he plays a few characters, including Mr. Electric and Tobor. Another children's film he lent his voice talents to was "Rio," where he played Rafael, an extremely romantic bird with 21 children. His other big role came in the film "Valentine's Day." Lopez played Alphonso, a delivery man on Valentine's Day. 

Outside of these films and his self-produced shows, Lopez hasn't had many other popular acting roles that are character-based rather than just Lopez playing himself.

He has some serious health issues

Though he always kept the smiles going on screen, Lopez dealt with a lot of intense health issues off-screen. He has a chronic kidney disease that's a genetic condition and requires regular doctor's visits. For a while, Lopez dealt with it. He grew up in a community that didn't really value health or have the resources to help out when people were sick. As he told Brain & Life, Lopez had to learn to advocate for himself when it came to healthcare. He has dealt with high blood pressure, fatigue, and lots of pain that he ignored because he figured it came from overworking himself.

However, in 2004 his doctors told him he needed to have an organ transplant due to the severity of his condition. However, he didn't want to interrupt the filming of "George Lopez" because he was never sure if they'd get renewed. A year after this diagnosis, he scheduled the surgery. His wife at the time, Ann Serrano Lopez, donated her kidney and the surgery went well. Lopez said he felt immediate relief, saying, "The kidney had been in for a day and a half, and I said, 'Man, I think I feel better right now than at any other time in my life.'" 

Lopez made a decision then and there to raise awareness of the importance of prioritizing health. That's why he launched the George Lopez Foundation – to get the word out about kidney disease and organ donation.

His divorce caused a familial rift

George Lopez and Ann Serrano Lopez were married in 1993 and gave birth to their daughter Mayan in 1996. The couple stayed together for a total of 17 years and went through a lot together –- especially after Ann Serrano Lopez donated her kidney to George Lopez when he was going through his chronic kidney failure. Five years after Ann Serrano Lopez donated her kidney, though, the two publicly announced their divorce in 2010. The reason cited was irreconcilable differences, and the divorce was finalized in 2011.

Their daughter was 14 at the time of the separation, and Mayan publicly discussed the rift it caused in their family during an interview with People. She explained that the divorce was tough on her, and tough on the family altogether. They had to really navigate how to exist with each other, which Mayan Lopez describes as "dysfunction like any family after a divorce." Though he has since mended the rift and figured out how to coexist with Ann Serrano Lopez, George Lopez did struggle for a time with his family. He has not remarried or had any other children.

Lopez Tonight was his failed talk show

After all of George Lopez's experience in stand-up comedy and sitcom production, it was only natural that he would combine his love of social commentary and comedy for a late-night talk show. In 2009, George Lopez began hosting his very own late-night talk show on TBS called "Lopez Tonight." It aired Monday through Thursday and ran for two seasons. During the second season, Conan O'Brien's show threatened to push back Lopez's time slot to the midnight hour. O'Brien wasn't necessarily comfortable with this (via The Atlantic), but Lopez advocated for it and felt it would be fine to push it back. He was fighting for an audience with ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, and that time slot was already very competitive.

However, the competition proved to be too much, as Lopez's viewership went down by nearly 40%, according to a report from USA Today. Like the cancellation of "George Lopez," finances were cited by TBS as a reason for canceling the late-night show, even though Lopez's budget was already much smaller than that of O'Brien, Fallon, and other popular comedians. 

According to a report from Salon, another reason "Lopez Tonight" didn't work was because it was initially created as a tester for TBS to see if they could hold their own in the late-night arena. Once they clinched O'Brien to their lineup, he was the real draw for late-night entertainment, whereas Lopez was becoming an unnecessary expense to the network. Of all the reasons "Lopez Tonight" failed, ultimately O'Brien's arrival on TBS was the biggest.

He tried a career renewal with Saint George

By 2013, George Lopez has gone through a lot. He'd already had a wildly successful sitcom, his own talk show, and several comedy albums released. Though he seemed to be hitting a lull in his career path, he ended up trying to revive his sitcom days by starring in another sitcom on FX called "Saint George." Per the show's description, "Saint George" follows Lopez, a newly divorced entrepreneur, as he deals with his ex-wife, his annoying mother, his freeloader uncle, and his son. The show also starred Jenn Lyon, Olga Merediz, Kaden Gibson, and Danny Trejo.

The show was set to air in 2014. There were 10 episodes produced for the first season, but under the syndication model used by the producers, if the first 10 episodes of "Saint George" hit certain ratings, it would open the door for a renewal of 90 more episodes (via Entertainment Weekly). However, "Saint George" didn't meet the ratings it needed to, so it was canceled in 2014 having only aired for one season. What was expected to be Lopez's comeback to the comedy scene was no longer.

He struggled as a father

Most families struggle to get their footing when dealing with a divorce, and the situation is often especially hard for the children. This was certainly the case for George Lopez, Ann Serrano Lopez, and Mayan Lopez, who all directly dealt with the aftermath of George and Ann Serrano's divorce in 2011. When the divorce was happening, Mayan and George had quite the falling out and didn't talk for several years. In an interview with People magazine, George and Mayan spoke about their relationship, and Mayan explained the COVID-19 lockdown is what reunited them. She said because of her father's health issues, the three of them started really keeping in touch with each other and occasionally spending time together.

Mayan said, "We really became a family again. It's so crazy to think that really two years ago, we weren't really speaking regularly, if at all." Now that they've put the past behind them and reignited their love and family relationships, Mayan said she and her father have been talking a lot about how they've struggled, and that these difficult conversations are continuing to strengthen their bond.

He's working on a new sitcom

Now that George Lopez and his daughter Mayan have patched up their differences, the two of them are working together to create a new comedic venture: "Lopez vs. Lopez." Created by Bruce Helford and Debby Wolfe and airing on NBC, the show follows George and Mayan as they deal with familial issues of "dysfunction, reconnection and all the pain and joy in between," according to a report from Deadline. Also starring in the show are Selenis Leyva, Brice Gonzalez, and Matt Shively, alongside recurring characters played by Laci Mosley and Kiran Deol. George Lopez is executive producing while Mayan Lopez is serving as a producer.

While trying to patch up their relationship, Mayan and George Lopez have felt like this show is an outlet for them to bring up tough conversations and better understand one another. The story in "Lopez vs. Lopez" itself is very similar to real-life events. In an interview with People, Mayan Lopez said, "With the show, I'm having similar conversations, hard conversations that I've had with him or struggled to have with him — and now we're doing it on TV for millions of people to see. But what's so wonderful is that both of us have been through a lot of pain, but the love has always brought us together."

He has other unknown health issues

Though George Lopez has been very public with his chronic kidney disease, there have been recent health scares that he hasn't been as forthcoming about. According to a report from CinemaBlend, in 2021 Lopez was doing a New Year's Eve stand-up comedy show. He started to ask for water and was looking unwell, but he tried to push through it. However, he eventually ended up leaving the stage, and the later show was canceled.

Still, to this day, no one could ascertain what happened, although Lopez did reveal on "The View" that he had an extremely high temperature when the paramedics arrived after the show (via People). The canceled performance was rescheduled, but Lopez and his reps both wouldn't say exactly what happened. Some think it might be related to his kidney issues, whereas others think it might be something else entirely. His fans blew up his social media with well-wishes, and Lopez was quickly engaging back with them. That, plus the fact that the rest of the dates he had lined up weren't canceled also indicated the health issue wasn't anything too serious for the time being.

He's focusing on podcasting and fatherhood

Though George Lopez has created an illustrious career for himself, right now he's being picky with what he does so that he can really focus on being happy and being a good father. Fatherhood is certainly his main priority, as he has said many times publicly. Though Mayan and George Lopez are working on "Lopez Vs. Lopez" together and spending quality time professionally, George would be happy with any scenario where he could spend time with Mayan. In an interview with People, Lopez said, "My dream collaboration with Mayan is to spend the rest of my life around her."

In addition to fatherhood, his new sitcom, and regular social media posting, Lopez started a podcast called "OMG HI with George Lopez," with the help of Bill Burr and Al Madrigal's All Things Comedy. The episodes range anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, and usually feature a guest that Lopez interviews. The podcast streams everywhere where you can stream podcasts, but is also available with video on All Things Comedy's YouTube channel. 

Between his podcasting work and all the newfound reconnecting with Mayan Lopez, George Lopez is certainly staying busy. Even if you haven't heard about him for a while, you most likely haven't heard the last of him with all his new ventures.